Friday 1st December 2006
Further to the radio interviews given by Mike Wilkes yesterday morning and the subsequent press release issued by TrustSTFC, the Wills family and Club`s Board wish to make the following statement:
The continued reference to a Fans Consortium appears to be misleading given that Mr Wilkes is stating he has funding available from an unnamed backer, who we understand is American and not a fan of the club. Have the Trust been informed as to the identity of the proposed backer and if so, have they satisfied themselves as to their credentials? If they have not been provided with the identity of the backer or not checked their credentials the Club would have to ask the Trust why they are endorsing a potential bid with so little information.
Mr Wilkes has chosen to make his proposals, such as they are, through the media and no letter or offer document has been sent or provided to Sir Seton Wills. No evidence has been provided to the Wills family or to the Board to suggest there are sufficient funds available to buy the club and service its working capital requirements. The only document that Mr Wilkes has so far provided is a copy of a standard bank reference that does not identify the account holder and gives no indication of the funds being made available to the football club. It falls considerably short of the professional standards we would expect to be associated with a serious potential investor. With the permission of Mr Wilkes we would be prepared to release a copy of the letter to the media to underline our confidence in this opinion.
Furthermore no evidence has been provided to the Board, which suggests Mr Wilkes has, to quote the Trust Press Release, “the wherewithal and the business acumen to stabilise the business and take it forward.”
Contrary to the Trust`s claims that the Club is blocking negotiations and moving the goalposts the Wills family have consistently maintained they will discuss a prospective bid with any serious investor once they have presented their credentials and provided absolute proof of funds in a professional manner. Such proof of funds has to incorporate evidence of amounts that such a bidder is prepared to commit to the Club. We would expect that to be included in a formal offer document which would be presented to us, subject to due diligence.
Mr Wilkes continues to issue pre-conditions to negotiations regarding who and who cannot act on behalf of the Wills family in the construction of any deal. It is not for Mr Wilkes or any other group to dictate with whom they will engage in any discussions with the Club. Any deal agreed between the parties would be confirmed in contracts prepared by highly competent lawyers and designed to protect the interests of all concerned. This would be standard practice and obviate concerns Mr Wilkes has about the validity of any agreement.
It should be emphasised that the Wills family are not actively looking to sell the Club. However, they are willing to entertain a credible bid, which will secure its future and take it to the next level. In the meantime they have complete confidence in the current management team who are working closely with Paul Sturrock and his backroom staff to deliver success to The County Ground.
Statement From Swindon Town F.C