SWINDON TOWN: Black opens up after sale of Town

Andrew Black

Andrew Black

First published in Sport

ANDREW Black, the former majority shareholder of the club, took to Twitter last night after the sale of the club had been completed.

Black, whose millions have bankrolled Town for five years and who dug into his own personal reserves to fund the Paolo Di Canio era, has been the subject of criticism from some circles following his decision to withdraw his funding.

He responded on the social networking site yesterday by writing: “OK - well thank you all for your kind words - well some of you anyway.

“When I decided to stand alone and support the club it was a disaster scenario - relegated to League 2, facing sure administration and with a heavy FL points deduction there would have been a major chance of falling out of the leagues at the end of the season.

“The club also had no manager. I was never there for the long term - I just wanted to restore some respectability.

“I never signed up to the '3 year plan' - it was only presented to me once, and then only briefly.

“As it happens in 2011 I agreed to sell the club at the end of that season. Paolo knew about this. Unfortunately the deal fell through.

“The deal fell through because the FL concluded that they couldn't afford to run the club. One of their main backers died suddenly in the final weeks. It was all a bit tragic.

“I put Jeremy in as chairman at the start of the 2011 season - for various reasons I wasn't comfortable but I didn't have anyone else.

“I've known Jeremy for half my life - he was a huge West Ham fan, and in particular almost obsessive about Di Canio. This concerned me.

“There was a lot of debt in the holding company, much owed to Sir Martyn Arbib, but he was always happy to write it off, as I was with mine. The remainder was owed to Andrew Fitton who was Jeremy's business partner. He wasn't prepared to write it off. It was very messy. Andrew and Jeremy did not want me to sell and we ended up falling out. I won't go into the detail here.

“I decided in 2011 that I would have to replace Jeremy, but it took a long time to find someone. Chairing a football club is not easy.

“Sir William did an amazing job for which he will never get full credit. I am hugely in his debt. I never got to know Paolo very well - I only met him a handful of times.”

Meanwhile, Nick Watkins says Swindon Town are getting “grass roots football people” in Jed McCrory and the rest of the new board at the club.

McCrory’s Seebeck 87 Limited finally received the official go-ahead to take over at the County Ground yesterday, and the Banbury United owner has brought in Gary Hooper, Steve Murrall and Callum Rice as directors.

Watkins, who for now will be retained by the incoming owners, believes the group will exhibit genuine passion for the game which can only help the club.

He said: “What you’ve got under this new regime is a collection of people clearly all galvanised around Jed, who are genuine football people. They are grass roots football people, they like the sport, they understand the sport, they’re passionate about the sport and I think as a consequence they are going to be passionate about Swindon Town Football Club.

“They will be involved and I think there will be a complete antithesis to what we had previously where, with the exception of Jeremy Wray, we didn’t often see any of the other main board of directors present at the County Ground and I don’t think they were terribly interested.

“Certainly Andrew Black said he was never really interested in the club, nor indeed was he interested in football. He was more of a horse racing man.

“They’re very different individuals to the outgoing board but they come with a passion and they come with a desire to see the club be successful both on the field and commercially off the field with the opportunities of redevelopment and all that it brings.

“I think there’s going to be an injection of renewed energy in that regard. They already have brought in members of the team into executive positions to impose their style on the club.”

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:46am Fri 22 Feb 13

Marmite Soldier says...

Thank you Andrew Black, for being there when our club needed you, and for your generosity which has gone unrecognised in certain quarters.

Good luck for the future.
Thank you Andrew Black, for being there when our club needed you, and for your generosity which has gone unrecognised in certain quarters. Good luck for the future. Marmite Soldier
  • Score: 0

9:05am Fri 22 Feb 13

GL5 Arkells Stand says...

First & foremost, I think that it is important that every one of us appreciates that without Andrew Black, we might not have a team to support - we could be in Portsmouth's position here, or maybe even worse than that, so whatever our thoughts are now, we should bear that in mind.

However.........I find what he says pretty strange to say the least. If I was holding the purse strings, I would firstly want a plan in place regarding how the club was going to be run and how it was going to become self-sustaining over a finite period of time. I think that it is realistic to say that I would have to be fully behind that plan before I started funding it with my own money.
Furthermore, if I was going to appoint a chairman who I wanted to be totally objective about how the club was going to proceed from hereon in, I think that I might have my doubts about appointing a fan of another club who had an obsession with one of their former players.

My doubts would become larger if my chairman then appointed that very same ex-player as the manager of the club.

This manager, the chairman and assorted others then come up with a 3 year plan. Now if I were Andrew Black, if I didn't "buy in" to this plan, then I'd say so pretty quickly, since it was my money funding the plan. Even if he was incredibly shy and didn't want to speak out about his opposition to the plan, wouldn't he have just said a resounding "NO!!" when he was asked to start shelling out money in transfer fees and wages for the players being bought to bring this plan to fruition?

Might he not have had a rather strong word when we signed Leon Clarke for a club record fee and then effectively sacked him after a month?

Are we really supposed to believe that through all this, Paolo & Wray kept on strolling into Black's office, asking for more money and being given it without a murmur, even though Black "Hadn't bought into the 3 year plan"?

I have to say that I find it pretty difficult to believe.
First & foremost, I think that it is important that every one of us appreciates that without Andrew Black, we might not have a team to support - we could be in Portsmouth's position here, or maybe even worse than that, so whatever our thoughts are now, we should bear that in mind. However.........I find what he says pretty strange to say the least. If I was holding the purse strings, I would firstly want a plan in place regarding how the club was going to be run and how it was going to become self-sustaining over a finite period of time. I think that it is realistic to say that I would have to be fully behind that plan before I started funding it with my own money. Furthermore, if I was going to appoint a chairman who I wanted to be totally objective about how the club was going to proceed from hereon in, I think that I might have my doubts about appointing a fan of another club who had an obsession with one of their former players. My doubts would become larger if my chairman then appointed that very same ex-player as the manager of the club. This manager, the chairman and assorted others then come up with a 3 year plan. Now if I were Andrew Black, if I didn't "buy in" to this plan, then I'd say so pretty quickly, since it was my money funding the plan. Even if he was incredibly shy and didn't want to speak out about his opposition to the plan, wouldn't he have just said a resounding "NO!!" when he was asked to start shelling out money in transfer fees and wages for the players being bought to bring this plan to fruition? Might he not have had a rather strong word when we signed Leon Clarke for a club record fee and then effectively sacked him after a month? Are we really supposed to believe that through all this, Paolo & Wray kept on strolling into Black's office, asking for more money and being given it without a murmur, even though Black "Hadn't bought into the 3 year plan"? I have to say that I find it pretty difficult to believe. GL5 Arkells Stand
  • Score: 0

9:07am Fri 22 Feb 13

adystfc says...

Thank you Andrew Black for everything you've done to ensure the Club's survival. It's obvious that you did not want or expect much publicity or thanks but from a shareholder with 10 shares - thanks again!
Thank you Andrew Black for everything you've done to ensure the Club's survival. It's obvious that you did not want or expect much publicity or thanks but from a shareholder with 10 shares - thanks again! adystfc
  • Score: 0

9:08am Fri 22 Feb 13

VinnyPericard says...

So interesting to hear. Certainly clears up a lot of questions and also creates a lot of new ones!
So interesting to hear. Certainly clears up a lot of questions and also creates a lot of new ones! VinnyPericard
  • Score: 0

9:17am Fri 22 Feb 13

fatman says...

You could have resolved any issues about yourself personally by just stating earlier Publically you wanted out ,your money your decision , had you been open with those facts I am sure you would be long remembered by the Town faithful .Reading between the lines of your post you never needed Patey you just brought him in to do the evil back stabbing you wanted on Jeremy and PdC having already got rid of the real saviour of our club Mr Andrew Fitton . Goodbye
Mr Black good riddence Patey
You could have resolved any issues about yourself personally by just stating earlier Publically you wanted out ,your money your decision , had you been open with those facts I am sure you would be long remembered by the Town faithful .Reading between the lines of your post you never needed Patey you just brought him in to do the evil back stabbing you wanted on Jeremy and PdC having already got rid of the real saviour of our club Mr Andrew Fitton . Goodbye Mr Black good riddence Patey fatman
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree