News Would-be Sky Blues owner: I was duped by ‘Sisu’ prankster

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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