Owen Oyston has responded to a fans’ bid to take over Blackpool FC – asking for proof they have a plan.
Blackpool Supporters Trust tabled a proposal, worth £23m, on July 7 to take control of the club and last week criticised the owner for his lack of a response.
Oyston promised last Thursday that he would reply and last night a lengthy letter was sent to the supporters’ group, in which he posed a 10 questions.
After again insisting he “saved the club from the bulldozers” when he bought it in 1987, Oyston also hit out at claims he got a good deal when purchasing the club for just £1.
He said: “After an emotional decision and with the support of my family, I accepted the “poisoned chalice” and not only saved the club from bankruptcy but also from demolition as the only other interested party at that time wanted to pull the ground down and build housing and/or a supermarket, so if I had not stepped in there would be no Blackpool Football Club today to be passionate about.”
While praising BST’s bid and their “creativity, innovation, your passion” Oyston posed his 10 questions:
1. Please provide written proof that club president Mr Valeri Belokon has written off his loan as stated by yourselves in The Gazette or has agreed to the proposals of BST. Also confirm that Mr Valeri Belokon has formally agreed to the sale of Blackpool Football Club Limited.
2. Please provide a copy of the research or investigations regarding the tax consequences of your proposal, which could involve VAT, stamp duty, SDLT, income tax, national insurance, inheritance tax and capital gains tax.
As you will know these could be very large sums of money and adversely affect all the participants in these transactions, namely BST, Blackpool Football Club Limited, Segesta Limited and myself.
Please provide proof of funds that would enable BST’s ability to discharge potentially large tax obligations. Please provide a draft guarantee to indemnity myself and the companies from any such liabilities now and in the future.
3. Please provide evidence of all professional appointments detailing the costs agreed for both abortive work or a successful takeover.
Again, could you please confirm how BST will fund these substantial costs and provide proof of funds?
4. As the club is virtually debt free and cash rich, despite your bleak assessment, we wish to see a copy of the BST constitution and in particular the elements which prevent the disposal of assets or the borrowing of money, copies of personal undertakings from any of the committee members and undertakings also not to seek to vary the constitution on any basis to allow the disposal of assets or the borrowing against assets. With the low budget you are proposing, the club could not sustain any heavy debt commitments which would, we believe, put the club at serious risk of administration or insolvency.
5. Please provide a copy of your five-year business plan for the club which will include forecast profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and cash flow statements to show that the new entity will continue to be a going concern in the future. Please provide all forecasts along with the qualifications of those responsible for the preparation of this plan.
6. Please provide a copy of the commercial figures your business plan relies upon together with a report on the commercial income produced by a qualified professional. In particular we are anxious to see evidence of your figures as according to your budget you are likely to run out of money after year two. Please provide proof of the necessary funding to sustain the running of the club.
7. Please provide a schedule of your proposed board, executive, football staff and administrative staff structure. You did allude to employing the “best” professionals to assist with the running of the club. Please provide job specification, terms of employment and remuneration for these best professionals that you anticipate fulfilling the above crucial roles, together with copies of the agreements you intend to enter into with them.
8. Please include within the above requests all information regarding redundancies, TUPE and plans including costing and phasing surrounding stadium maintenance. Please provide details of the names and qualifications of those you have tasked with preparing the above.
9. Please provide legal confirmation that the Companies Act actually permits Segesta Limited and Blackpool Football Club Limited to carry out the transactions set out in your proposal.
10. Please confirm that you have had approval in principal from the FA/FL to the proposed takeover and have had approved the requisite future financial information to the FL. Please forward copies of all documentation relating to this point. Oyston gave BST a deadline of 14 days to answer.
BST chairman Steve Rowland thanked the owner for his response. He said: “We are pleased to see Mr Oyston has taken the time to respond and we will consider his points in due course.
“Now that we are in communication, we’d like to conduct all future communications in private and intend to do so from now on.”