LESS than two months after saying he had reached a deal with Wadworth that would allow him to carry on at the Outside Chance in Manton flamboyant owner Howard Spooner has told villagers he is quitting.

He has not given a date for his departure but the brewery has promised it will keep any closure to a minimum.

On Friday he wrote a letter to villagers saying he will have to close soon. In the letter be blamed financial constraints imposed by the owners Wadworth on tenants and licensee which he claimed made it impossible to run the pub as a buoyant business.

This week he declined to comment further.

But Wadworth's operations director Lloyd Stephens said: "Over the last month we have been in discussions with Howard Spooner, the current licensee of the Outside Chance pub in Manton and have tried to arrive at a solution that will both support Mr Spooner in continuing to operate the pub and benefit local suppliers and customers, but this has proved unsuccessful.

"Therefore we have not been able to agree a mutual way forward and the future of the Outside Chance as currently operated by Mr Spooner is unknown.

"As soon as we are able, we will update the community. One thing we can confirm is that the pub will very much remain a pub under Wadworth’s ownership and any closure, should this happen, will be kept to a minimum."

Mr Spooner took over the Outside Chance eleven years ago in partnership with racehorse owner Guy Sangster, son of racing legend Robert Sangster, with winnings from his horse Only Dreams that won against the odds and used this as inspiration to re-name the pub.

Mr Sangster said this week: "I sold my shares to Howard Spooner soon after we sold the Manton Estate some five years ago and I have never owned any racehorses with Mr Spooner."

Former champion Jockey AP McCoy, who also owned shares in the pub and celebrated his retirement in Manton, also ended his business relationship with Mr Spooner some years ago.

In June Mr Spooner, 49, said the pub made a loss each month at the old beer prices despite business holding up well, but a new deal with the brewery had made the pub viable.

At the time he had threatened to pull out of Manton and concentrate on a his new ownership of The George Hotel on the Isle of Wight.

At the end of last year Mr Spooner closed the Who’d Have Thought It in Lockeridge, near Marlborough.

This week Wadworth said: "We are pleased to announce The Who’d have Thought it will be reopening in September with new licensees."

Mr Hooper also has some problems on the other side of The Solent if recent reviews of the restaurant at The George on Tripadvisor are anything to go by.

One said: "Safe to say we won’t be visiting again, the staff were half asleep or either hungover, poorly turned out all round. £10 for a single Mermaid gin and tonic and couldn’t even manage pleasantries!! Topped off with staff swearing in front of guests. Very professional."

Another added: "Whilst the staff were all very friendly the service was haphazard bordering on shambolic. And never before have I seen a maitre d offer a large party the pudding menu before they’d had their mains, as happened to the table next door to us."

A third said: "The staff appear to be leaderless, untrained and don't know what to do."