Kate Breese, administrator of Farnborough Football & Social Club Limited states as follows:
“I can confirm that a sale of Farnborough FC completed just before midnight last night (12 August 2013) in which a sale of the club was concluded to Boro FC. Ltd, the majority shareholding of which is held by Spencer Day and Robert Prince.
I have not been able to provide regular updates in recent weeks or been able to dismiss rumours so as to ensure a successful conclusion to the sales process. Many difficult and detailed negotiations have gone on over this period and although it has not been helpful to the fans to not have regular updates, it has been in the best interests of the club to keep the sales process private due to the number of parties involved. I do hope that all involved with the club understand this position.
Now that a sale has completed, I would like to use this opportunity to inform and update the fans and all those involved with the club of the process of the administration.
As most people will be aware, the club entered administration on 26 April 2013 following a successful application made to court by the director of Farnborough Football & Social Club Limited. This application was made after HMRC issued a winding-up petition against the company for outstanding tax liabilities and was done so as to protect the company from being wound up.
Following my appointment, the company was widely marketed for sale. An advert was taken out in The Financial Times newspaper and through local media it was made known that the club was in administration and up for sale.
A number of parties expressed an interest in acquiring the club but by far the most appealing bid was an offer linked to a development of the current ground and surrounding park land. A substantial amount of work and cost went into this bid by all involved. The bid wanted to restructure the means of generating income from the site so that the development could create income all year round both on match days and non-match days. This included artificial pitches, housing, gymnasium, coffee shop, charitable housing, park landscaping and convenience store. For various reasons, including the amount of funds evidenced and the long term sustainability of the project, I openly supported this bid as the preferred bid for the club. The bidder knew that requisite planning consents could not be obtained prior to a completion of a sale but their aim was to obtain sufficient comfort from Rushmoor Borough Council so as to complete on a sale of the club with the knowledge that their proposed development would have some form of Council backing in the long run. Unfortunately, the Council could not support the bid or come to any agreement with the bidder. As such, the bid had to withdraw so as to allow other bidders to come forward. I would have liked to have concluded this sale but the lack of progress with the Council meant that other options had to be explored.
Upon the withdrawal of the development bid, there were few parties expressing an interest with the financial backing to take the club on. There was one very well backed bid which was put forward to The Football Conference as my preferred bidder. This bidder had expressed an interest throughout the administration and would normally have been the preferred bid had it not been for the exceptional opportunity offered by the development bid.
Football Conference Rules require any transfer of membership from one entity to another, regardless of the company being in administration, to have the support of the shareholders of the current member company and The Football Conference wished to impose this requirement as a condition of a bond they required in order to transfer the membership. The shareholders were putting together their own competing bid at the time and as creditors, were not able to come to an agreement with the other bid and therefore were unable to give their support to that bid. As such, The Football Conference would not confirm that a transfer of membership could take place. Given that this other bid was conditional upon a transfer of membership taking place, I required a firm position from The Football Conference. The lack of support from The Football Conference left me with no alternative other than to complete an immediate sale with the existing shareholders who would then approve the transfer. With the new season fast approaching and the club not being in a position to start the season in administration, it was amicably decided by all those involved that in the best interests of the club and its creditors, it would be best to complete a sale to the shareholders immediately. The existing shareholders had a sponsorship deal lined up for the club and with the other bid not having Football Conference consent yet due to the requirement for shareholder approval, I was not going to risk the club’s future by continuing discussions with The Football Conference that had been ongoing for over a week. It is frustrating that as a court appointed administrator that I have had my powers fettered in this way. Shareholder approval is not a statutory requirement to any sale out of administration. It is simply the fact that without it, I could not secure Football Conference approval to a transfer of membership which was also a condition of a bond required to be lodged by The Football Conference. The deal was simply too risky for the proposed bidder and therefore they agreed to step aside for a sale to conclude to Boro FC. Ltd.
In the circumstances however, I am delighted to announce a sale of the club. The administration has been a very difficult process. I am disappointed that certain opportunities for the club have not been grasped by certain parties involved with the process but I am equally pleased that the club is exiting administration in a better position than it was when it entered administration. The new sponsorship deal will provide new opportunities for the club. Club’s at this level do need to explore other forms of revenue potential and whilst innovative, this deal has a serious side and can help the club secure its immediate future. The buyer has great ideas and aims for the club. I wish the club, its players, its staff and the fans the best of luck in the future. The club has a new season to look forward to which I hope is a successful one.”
James Moore, lawyer to the administrator states:
“I think all those associated with the club will just be pleased that a sale has now finally completed. People may have mixed views over the new Paddy Power sponsorship deal but it does generate much needed cash for the club and is part of the process to bring the club out of administration. Club’s at this level fight an ongoing battle to generate new forms of income. Match day income is far from enough to fund a club at this level and without the financial backing of substantial TV monies into Conference football, club’s need to generate their own innovative forms of revenue. This certainly does that and whatever your view on the deal, it is imaginative and will help the club build itself back up.”