News Would-be Sky Blues owner: I was duped by ‘Sisu’ prankster
WOULD-BE Coventry City owner Dale Evans has admitted he was duped by a prankster claiming to be a representative of Sisu.
The Nuneaton poker player has been at the centre of takeover speculation surrounding the Sky Blues for several weeks, and recently linked up with a consortium headed by former Coventry City FC vice chairman Gary Hoffman.
Self-proclaimed multi-millionaire Evans has caused a stir among Sky Blues fans with his social media activity since he announced his intention to buy Coventry City.
A screenshot of a direct message he sent on Facebook to a supporter appeared to indicate a deal had been done with the club’s London hedge fund owners Sisu. But Mr Evans has now admitted he was tricked after a hoax phone call.
After the initial Facebook message, Mr Evans added an update, which read: “I received a call late last night from someone claiming to be a Sisu representative and saying a deal was acceptable. Unfortunately this has led to rumours on social media. Gary Hoffman has confirmed the call to be a hoax, any announcement or deal would come through Gary at the appropriate time, and not via me.”
The heightened speculation led Mr Hoffman to seek to clarify the situation via the Telegraph. He said: “I am reluctant to say anything as all this speculation and posturing is unhelpful.
“I am not even going to confirm whether or not a further bid has been made. These things need to be done in private and professionally. What I can say is that the consortium remains clear in its objectives to buy Coventry City and give our club a long term, stable home in the city of Coventry. I hope we will be successful but can’t make any promises. If and when there is something to be said about progress (or a lack of it) I will say something.”
The Facebook exchange at the heart of the most recent speculation centres around a screen shot of messages sent apparently between a supporter and Mr Evans. Asked about how a meeting went, the reply read: “Deal done. Spread the word.”
Previously, Sisu and Coventry City FC have dismissed all claims from Mr Evans relating to any potential takeover.
Last week, Sisu issued its statement via the official club website which read: “Sisu Capital can confirm that it has had neither written nor verbal communication from Mr Evans; hence, he has not made an offer to purchase Coventry City FC. We would expect any potential purchaser to follow a professional and confidential process..”
Mr Hoffman’s consortium has already had three previous bids for the club turned down by Sisu.
The last previous known offer was reported to be just over £2million cash up front and would allow Sisu to keep the Ryton training ground to sell for housing, which could be worth up to £6m.