County in talks with money men
TALKS are under way between the Newport County AFC board and a consortium of businessmen led by Acorn managing director Matt Southall, the Argus can reveal.
We first reported last month that a consortium was keen on becoming involved with the club, talks having begun before chairman Chris Blight resigned from his post following abusive phone calls to his home.
The Exiles, who published their accounts at their AGM on Monday evening, have now re-opened dialogue with the group, following a meeting between Southall and director Howard Greenhaf last week.
It is understood positive talks saw Southall reaffirm his desire to come back to the club (he’s a former director) and Greenhaf has requested that plans are formalised and put into writing.
The Argus has learned Southall wants to work with a group of businessmen who will also plough money into the club, with former director Rob Santwris as organiser.
The Exiles appointed three new directors on Monday, ratifying the appointment of lottery millionaire Les Scadding with Tony Pring and Dave Roberts also elected to the board.
The club is also planning to appoint a permanent chairman sometime this week.
“We are in a position where we can say that Howard (Greenhaf) met with Matt Southall last week and those talks were positive,” acting chairman David Hando said.
“We have asked that Matt and his associates formalise their proposal by putting something in writing for us.
“Our basic questions are what they want and how much they are willing to contribute, but all discussions so far have been positive.
“I can only reaffirm that we are interested in any talks about investment into the club.”
The Exiles announced on Monday that turnover has risen 75% and their overall level of debt has fallen compared to 2010.
County also saw a resolution passed at the AGM to adopt measures in the Companies Act 2006 that will allow the club to issue new shares to individuals/directors who are owed money. This will significantly reduce the net liabilities of £733,552, allowing them to continue as a going concern.
The Exiles have cleared their historic debt owed after their period playing in Gloucester-shire following their reformation.
Hando explained: “One of the biggest legacies Chris Blight left us with was the fact that his era saw the club completely eradicate the historic debt that mounted during our period of exile, which was significant.
“We are now in a position where the debt the club has is largely owed to individuals not putting a timeframe on being paid.
“By paying some of this off by issuing new shares, that figure will be significantly reduced.”
Hando also confirmed that with crowds at Rodney Parade so far exceeding expectation, it remains possible that the club will give extra funds to manager Justin Edinburgh BEFORE the close of the transfer window on August 31.
“That was made clear, if crowd numbers were high we would do our best to support the manager, that situation hasn’t changed,” Hando confirmed.
- The Exiles have issued the following statement detailing ticket arrangements for Tuesday’s clash with Hereford United.
“Over the past 24 hours, there have been many comments and questions addressed to the club regarding the ticket allocation given to Hereford United for our fixture on Tuesday, August 28 2012.
“It will always be our intention to welcome as many visiting supporters to Rodney Parade as possible.
“Unfortunately after consultation with Gwent Police, The Chief Stadium Safety Officer and in accordance to the formally agreed Rodney Parade management plan, it is only possible to offer an allocation of 589 tickets at present.
“If and when Hereford United sell out of their allocation, we will look at the possibility of accommodating additional away fans in the Southgate Boxes.
“When deliberating such a decision, the safety of supporters is paramount.
“This includes entry and exit points to and from the stadium, access into the stand via the stairs, the provision of WC facilities and the positioning of segregation fencing in the concourse area.
“Due to recent changes, the option of utilising the Hazell Terrace & Stand for Away supporters is no longer allowable under the new safety certificate.
“Please note that contrary to press reports this match will not be all ticket although we would encourage all fans to buy their tickets well in advance.
“West Mercia and Gwent Police are working closely together to ensure all supporters’ safety during this match.”