Today marks the deadline for interested parties to lodge their bids for Blackpool Football Club.
The Seasiders have officially been on the market since late March, when independent financial services company Hilco Global were instructed to assist with the sale of the club to settle the debt Owen Oyston still owes to Valeri Belokon.
Once the deadline passes, the joint receivers will review all bids and determine the most appropriate way to conclude the sale.
It is difficult to predict a timeframe for the successful bidder to be installed as the club’s owner.
The receivers stated last week: “The loyal and passionate fanbase of the club is one of its most important assets and the joint receivers would like them to know that they are committed to securing a new owner which will herald the start of a new and exciting chapter in this club’s great history.”
Two parties heavily linked are boyhood Blackpool fans Andy Pilley, owner of Fleetwood Town, and Hong-Kong based businessman Simon Sadler.
Pilley would have to relinquish control of the Highbury club by selling or transferring his interests. Passing on ownership would cause a headache for the EFL, while any sale of Fleetwood would have to be completed quickly.
Sadler is also thought to be a strong favourite. He is the founder of asset management firm Segantii Capital, a hedge fund whose assets are said to exceed a billion dollars.
The businessman, who was born in Bispham and regularly watched Blackpool in the 1980s, attended the recent fixture against Peterborough United.
Huw Jenkins, who stepped down as Swansea City chairman in February, is also reported to be fronting a group, while the club's leading fan groups met yesterday with a Far East consortium who are expected to lodge a bid.
The receiver revealed in March there had been 59 expressions of interest. That number will have been whittled down as potential bidders waded through the club’s financial data.
Christine Seddon, chair of Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, believes exciting times are ahead. She said: “The new owners of Blackpool FC will hopefully have done some homework about the club, its fans and the local community.
“A well-run, community-focused football club is essential for the future of the town as well as the club itself, an important point which has been acknowledged by our local business and political leaders.
“Harnessing the good will, skills and ideas of the fanbase is something that will help to bring success, both on and off the pitch.
“Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to find out who the new owners will be – after years of turmoil, these are exciting times!”