Anyone got £9m to buy our club? Chesterfield board open to outside investment

The Chesterfield FC board of directors are open to offers of outside investment but potential saviours may need to stump up at least £9million.

Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 8:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:13 pm

The Derbyshire Times believes it would take something in the region of £9m and £10m to buy out majority shareholder Dave Allen.

To garner 83 per cent of the shares would cost £5m, plus a further £4m to buy out the existing loans – and any new owner would also need to meet the mortgage demand, which stands at £2m.

Potential investors would first need to put their offers and business plans to Andy Ryder who runs the corporate finance department at the club’s auditors, Shorts.

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They would, in turn, make a proposal to the board.

Directors met on Tuesday to try and agree on a way forward after Allen’s shock resignation as chairman and director at Monday’s stormy AGM.

The club’s owner opened the meeting, announced his resignation and exited the building, but not before alluding to a board meeting at which he suggested directors waive the interest on their loans.

It would appear that Allen didn’t get the response he wanted and that was a big factor in his decision to walk away.

It was also apparent that none of his fellow directors had any inkling that he was announcing his resignation, the AGM quickly descending into chaos and confusion.

Vice chairman Dave Jones was asked if the club would fold and responded: “I don’t know, I don’t think so.”

It was Jones who chaired Tuesday’s meeting, thought to have been an emotional affair as the remaining directors desperately tried to come up with a solution to safeguard the 150-year-old club’s future.

Without Allen’s continued investment, cash flow will quickly become an issue at the Proact.

The multi-millionaire is known to have put in another £200,000 last month to cover the wages.

At Monday’s AGM he revealed: “The reason I’m resigning is because at the board meeting held this afternoon, I suggested that all the directors should not seek repayment of loans and waive any interest until such time as the club is in a position to pay it.

“The interest alone amounts to just over £150,000 per annum, so it would be a considerable saving. By the way, over the last couple of years, I’ve put in an extra £1.9m, for which I personally have not taken any interest at all.

“It is a sad day for me, but I can’t carry on like this. I wish you all the best.”

The Derbyshire Times has made a request to interview Allen but the official line from the club is that he is not conducting interviews.

There has already been talk of potential fan-led consortiums and supporters purchasing shares, but nothing concrete that would reassure a fanbase that grows more concerned by the day.

Former Sheffield Wednesday chairman Allen took charge of Chesterfield in 2012, succeeding long-serving Barrie Hubbard.

At the Proact on Monday he said it was never his intention to lead the club as well as owning it.

“At the outset, I never intended to become the chairman. I was just an investor who wanted to see the club progress and get into the Championship. It was then my plan to sell on the investment.

“I took over as chairman because the previous incumbent sat at the end of the boardroom table and said after one meeting that unless I put a further £600,000 into the club, they could not carry on.

“This was after I’d already previously put in over £2m, over and above the initial deal, which was £4m for 80 per cent of the shares and arranged a £2m mortgage over a ten-year period. I did all that.”