Fan owners set for key vote to decide future ownership of Wrexham Football Club
The fans who own Wrexham Football Club will get to decide if an offer to take ownership from fan-owned to private ownership will be accepted.
As we broke the news on the evening of the 23rd September, film megastar Ryan Reynolds and actor and director Rob McElhenney were revealed as interested parties with fans subsequently voting to proceed with negotiations.
Today it has been announced that the Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST), owners of the club and leaseholders of the stadium, have called a Special General Meeting to effectively decide on the future ownership of the club. Fans took over the club back in 2011 from ‘businessmen’ Geoff Moss then from Farndon and Ian Roberts from Ruthin based ‘Roberts Homes’, who had left the club debt laden – including unpaid VAT bills.
Last month 97.5% of voting fans supported a move to allow the WST to continue discussions over selling the club, with the Board assuring them they were making every endeavour to act in the best interests of the Football Club and the Wrexham Supporters Trust.”
Today the WST have released an expected statement and documents as part of a call for a second Special General Meeting, that will effectively see a vote on if the WST will sell the club to Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
The WST say “We now stand at a cross roads. But it is a significant crossroads with two very different potential paths for the club going forward.”
The two routes are one, retaining fan ownership with fans reassured despite the pandemic “we will almost certainly survive and be able to continue as we have done” or, the “…other path under the ownership of two very well known overseas celebrities who will explain their vision for the club and their motivation for wanting to buy the club before voting opens. We would have owners who are ambitious and have the ability to fund the club far in excess of what we can accomplish at this time under community ownership.”
The WST add, “Mr McElhenney and Mr Reynolds have indicated that they want us the supporters to be an integral part of the journey they wish to take. They have indicated that they will respect, and in some areas guarantee our heritage, playing in red, playing in Wrexham, continuing the memory of Gresford and listening to our views. The potential new owners are men with reputations and we can say with some certainty are not interested in the club for some short term profit.”
The R.R. McReynolds Company, LLC would buy the Wrexham AFC Limited company – so not the WST itself which holds the ground lease via WST Assets Ltd – for one peppercorn, and a £2m investment.
A new lease appears proposed for the ground, “Wrexham Assets Limited and WAFC will enter into a sub-lease of the Racecourse Ground for a period of 25 years at an annual rental of £115,000 per year.”
A range of protective ‘heritage’ covenants have been agreed in the proposal, requiring WST consent if they change. They are listed as:
- A change to the home playing colours of all Wrexham AFC football teams;
- Changing the playing location of the Wrexham AFC men’s first team to a location
more than 2 miles from the Racecourse Ground;
- Moving the location of the Club’s men’s first team ground or training ground to
outside of Wales;
- Any changes to the Wrexham AFC badge, save with respect to amends to update
the graphics/quality of the image of the badge. Such consent not to be
unreasonably withheld, delayed or conditioned;
- A change of the name of the football club to a name other than Wrexham
Association Football Club or Wrexham Football Club;
- Subject to any amends to the rules of any relevant football authority and or any
transfers required with respect to the promotion or relegation of any Wrexham AFC football teams, any proposed transfer of: (1) WAFC’s relevant league share; or (2) other licence requirements for WAFC to compete within the English football pyramid system, to another entity;
- Any decision not to hold an annual event to commemorate the Gresford disaster; and
- in the event that the Buyer sells a controlling interest in Wrexham AFC to a third party, the Buyer shall ensure that the terms of the sale documentation with the new owner include the covenants detailed in paragraphs 4.1 to 4.7
An ‘Honorary Board’ will be created for use as a fans forum style engagement vehicle.
A presentation evening will be held on Sunday 8th “…in order for Members to hear from RR McReynolds as well as any members who wish to speak either for or against a transfer of ownership of Wrexham AFC Ltd” with the two buyers taking a hours worth of presentation and Q&A.
The WST Board say they are ‘neutral’ on the takeover.
Voting will open from the morning of Monday 8th and ends on the 15th of November.
Monday 16th of November will see the results announced.
Wrexham.com understands if approved the takeover would be expected to complete by new year.
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