Tag: Stockport County

The Vaughan Effect & Stockport County

It’s starting to become known as The Vaughan Effect, and it’s a very modern phenomenon. Whenever any mention is made of the slightest possibility the involvement of either of the Stephen Vaughans getting involved in a football club, there is a reflex reaction from the supporters of the club concerned and from various social media outlets, and this time the club with which this most dread of names has been associated with is Stockport County. The last few weeks have been an odd time for supporters of a club that tumbled out of the Football League at the end of last season. We reported last week on the club’s recent tribulations, but the involvement with the club of twenty-seven year-old Tony Evans, who describes himself as a “friend” of Vaughan, there may well have raised eyebrows amongst the supporters – or former supporters – of Barrow, Chester City and Widnes Rugby Football League Club, all three of which club suffered insolvency events under Vaughan’s ownership. Regular readers of this site will be fully aware of the history of Stephen Vaughan Senior’s involvement in football since the mid-1990s. For those that aren’t, there is an exhaustive history here. Vaughan is currently serving at Her Majesty’s Pleasure over an assault on a police officer, and is also disqualified from acting as a company director over his involvement in carousel fraud during...

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The Further Adventures Of Stockport County

Stockport County director Lord Peter Snape declared in March 2009, one month before the club entered administration, that he wanted “Stockport County Trust to vote to relinquish ownership of the club,” because if it “had been run properly we wouldn’t be in this mess.” Snape now knows it wasn’t as easy as it looked; and the consequences of ‘his’ consortium’s “mess” are currently unclear. Last close season, Snape was part of the optimistically-entitled ‘2015 consortium’ that bought County out of fourteen-months in administration which redefined the boundaries of the description ‘fraught.’ Twelve fraught months of ‘2015’ saw County spectacularly relegated for the second consecutive season and the buck ready to be passed to another consortium faced with the same old, unsolved problems. This, as yet un-named, consortium, has avoided the tag ‘mystery’ as its leader, disturbingly-young Liverpool businessman Tony Evans, has already joined the club’s board after making a reportedly “significant investment”. The significance of the investment has given 27-year-old Evans the chair for, slightly bizarrely, “the next six weeks” while his consortium colleagues undertake due diligence and decide whether to take the “option of a controlling interest in the longer-term.” And for the first time in ages, County are bidding ‘significant’ money for players. But this takeover is no fait accompli. With an almost depressing inevitability, Evans’ business background is somewhat chequered. One recent venture, the modestly-entitled insurance...

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Stockport County – No-one Is Innocent

As football club nicknames go, “The Hatters” isn’t the luckiest. First Luton headed for a remake of their 1988 FA Cup semi-final meeting with Wimbledon this season, in the Blue Square Premier. And, for much of the last year, Stockport County have been heading the same way. “Where to start?” is both a literal and metaphorical question, although to be fair to fans of the Hatt… sorry… ’County’, the blame game at Stockport is probably harder to play than Scrabble these days, now that Scrabble allows proper nouns. No-one is innocent. Perhaps the most evocative starting point would be ex-chairman Brendan Elwood’s madcap 2000 scheme to merge with Manchester City and form “Man-Stock County” – a stupid hybrid name reminiscent of unimaginative 1970s football comics and, as such, entirely appropriate to the idea. Briefly, of course, Stockport/Manchester City was the Manchester derby, with County briefly the ‘bigger’ team. But that added no credibility to the scheme, which would be no dafter if suggested now. And there’s been equal credibility attached to the financial management of the club ever since. The dealings between Elwood and self-styled ‘sports philanthropist’ Brian Kennedy governed what followed. Elwood chaired County’s late-90s golden era. Kennedy was a double-glazing salesman…sorry…entrepreneur, who cleaned enough windows to be 178th= on 2009’s Sunday Times Rich List. Elwood sold County to Kennedy’s ‘Cheshire Sports’ company in 2003, believing he was...

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Keith Alexander: 1956-2010

At the time of writing, England are about to kick off against Egypt in their first friendly match of 2010. This is football as a peculiar mix of Hollywood and pantomime, a story that often seems to have very little to do with what goes on during the matches themselves. It’s a world that frequently feels alien. Away from this, however, there is a whole other world of football going on, a world in which people give up their youth, their other aspirations, relationships and families because they believe in the game. Often away from the spotlight and the wilder excesses of the game, the people that inhabit this world are often easily dismissed as “journeymen”, but they are crucial to our narrative of football. We lost one of them last night. Neither Keith Alexander’s playing career nor his managerial career scaled, as some might put it, the heights. As a player, he spent fourteen years in non-league football before going on to enjoy something of an Indian summer in the Football League with Grimsby Town and Mansfield Town, whilst winning a handful of caps at international level for St Lucia. It was not, however, his playing career that marks out his significance in the game, rather the managerial career that followed it, a managerial career that lasted from 1993 until right up until his death at the tragically...

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Short Stories From The Sharp End

A loss of the ability to see past the end of their noses is one of the more repugnant character traits of the modern football supporter. While the media were treating Chelsea’s absurd claims that “UEFA has got the European Cup final that it wanted” (as a commentator on here this morning pointed out, shame on the BBC in particular for peddling this particular lie on “Breakfast” this morning), clubs were in the process of dying. It brings me no great pleasure in saying this, but the more apocalyptic visions of some observers could well come to pass this summer and no-one seems to care. Here, then, is a brief summary of some of the worst-hit clubs in English football at the moment. Darlington: We wrote a little about Darlington earlier on in the season, when they became the first Football League club in England this season to go into administration. Since then, the club’s manager David Penney left for Oldham Athletic and his assistant Martin Gray has been made redundant, along with nine of the club’s backroom staff, leaving just five full-time staff at the club. A charity match played last weekend to raise funds to keep the club alive attracted a crowd of just 3,500 and raised just £25,000, and a deadline for bids to buy the club passed on Tuesday evening with no new buyer having...

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