Chesterfield FC takeover: Everything Ashley Carson told club staff during 13-minute speech at Proact on Monday morning
Chesterfield FC company secretary, Ashley Carson, gave a 13-minute speech to 17 members of staff on Monday morning at the Proact to inform them that a takeover deal for the Spireites by Chesterfield FC Community Trust is close.
It was announced this morning that Dave Allen, the majority shareholder, has “entered into a period of exclusivity” with the Trust and both parties hope a deal will be completed by mid-February.
During his speech, which the DT were invited along to, Mr Carson confirmed that they are at an advanced stage of selling the club to the Chesterfield FC Community Trust and that he and Mr Allen will no longer have anything to do with the club if the takeover is completed.
Here’s everything he said:
“I’ve called you here this morning to let everyone know that we are at advanced stages of selling the football club.
“It is going to be the Community Trust who is buying it.
“So they will take 84 per cent of the shares which in effect is what Dave Allen has, myself has, and (the Trust) will become the majority shareholder of the football club.
“It has been going on for quite a while, the talks, and we are now a stage where they submitted an offer, which has been accepted financially.
“The only thing they have got to do now is due diligence on the club so they will go through all the accounts and look at everything to make sure everything we have declared is accuarate which I have no problem with at all. There is no issues there.
“We have entered into a six-week exclusivity with them so during that time we can’t talk to anybody else and nobody else can start saying ‘we want to buy the club’ and that kind of thing.
“So they have got six weeks now to complete the deal.
“I think from a point of the view from the owner (Dave Allen) it was always preferred to sell to somebody that has got the football club at heart and that they will continue to run it with the town and the fans and everybody else.
“Always the downside is when you get someone else wanting to buy the club, are they really interested in it? Do you they really care? We’ve had one or two people, one from the North East, people from America, have shown interest in it but do they really know what it is all about? The likelihood is they don’t.
“We’ve had other people who have wanted to buy it who have not got a great name in football and again we have kept all those at arm’s-length.
“We have had the local (fans) consortium as well which has been well publicised. They have been trying to get the money together to buy the club but no one has ever actually come forward and said ‘this is what we are offering and this is what we want to do’, and the Community Trust is the first people to do that.
“They have committed, they have got the lawyers involved at their own expense.
“They (other interested parties) wanted our lawyers to fund it all and yet the Community Trust has said ‘right, we’ll get that done, we’ll draw the heads of terms up, we’ll supply them to you’.
“What it will mean going forward is that at the end of the six weeks hopefully eveything willl change hands and then Mike Warner (chairman) and John Croot (director) will resign off the board.
“The Community Trust would then appoint their directors onto the board of the football club and they will have a chairman and they will take over the running of the club.
“So they will have the 84 per cent, the other 16 per cent are owned by fans, about 1,600 fans that own shares.
“At that point, that will be it, I’ll go, Dave Allen will go, John Croot will go off the board, Mike Warner will go, and that’s it; new owners.
“The only thing I want to say at this time is that the ownership does not change until everything has been exchanged.
“Until the money changes hands, nothing changes.
“The decision making stays exactly as it is until new owners come in.
“The likelihood is that I will stay as company secretary until we have the AGM, probably end of February time, we have got until the end of March to do it legally, but I shall resign once that is done.
“So I think it is the right time.
“We have been trying to sell it.
“It has not been a great time for the club football-wise.
“Fans, quite rightly, are sick to death of it.
“They have seen some pretty bad football out there.
“Could we have done things differently? Maybe.
“But we will never be accepted.
“In this particular time it is pretty low time for the club so I think it is the right thing for new owners to come in.
“I have not been privy to what their plans are and it is not really anything to do with us.
“They will have their own thoughts, their own plans going forward.
“It will become a community club so I suspect they will work a lot closer with the commuity and with true Chesterfield fans, get people more involved, maybe something myself and Dave Allen have been lacking to do a little bit.
“So hopefully get rid of all that animosity.
“We also want to avoid things like protests and that sort of thing.
“We have got to a stage now where the money is not coming in, the fans are staying away, for the football and for a protest as well.
“Dave Allen will continue to put the money in until such time the takeover happens.
“The wages at the moment are about £150,000 a month, and that is usually what the shortfall is, so every month Dave Allen puts £150,000 in and will continue to do so.
“It has got to a stage where it is throwing good money after bad which is why it has kind of all come to a head.
“In the end, although we would have wanted to sell the club to the fans, or to somebody based in Chesterfield, we were getting to the stage where whoever actually came in with the deal, came in with money, put it over the line, we would have sold to them.
“But thankfully it is someone that is based in Chesterfield so there will be Chesterfield people involved so that is kind of where we are.
“We have got to do everything we can on the football side to ensure we stay in this league.
“The manager is staying, there is no changes there at all.
“I think there will be some players coming in, some players coming out, next week, and we have got to do everything we can off the field and carry on as we are.
“I will be sad to leave in one way, in other ways I can’t wait to get up the A61 and get out of Chesterfield.
“It has not been an easy time.
“The most important thing is we just carry on.
“Nobody has taken over yet, there are still four to six weeks of due diligence.
“They (the Trust) have got to make sure they are happy with everything.
“I can’t see anything where there is going to be any problems.
“It is just the running of the football club, it is is expensive, and they got to be sure that they can meet everything.
“They have got a meeting with the chief execiutive of the National League next week, Michael Tattersall.
“The National League and The FA have to be happy as well that the people coming in are fit and proper people to take over the club.
“I think at the end of the day what you have got is people coming in who care about the club.
“I think there is a lot of merits to the Community Trust.
“I think they will be able to do an awful lot of things with the charity side as well so let’s hope it is a good move.”