Trust: Takeover not in the club’s best interests
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DALE Supporters Trust do not believe a takeover of Rochdale AFC by investors Andy Curran and Darrell Rose is in the best interests of the club.
Trust representatives and members of the Dale board met with the businessmen attempting to buy a majority shareholding in the club recently and while those talks closed with cautious optimism, question marks have since been raised over proof of funds.
Last week the English Football League issued a statement confirming they had received no evidence the investors had sufficient funding in place, had received no proof of funds and said they would continue to monitor the situation.
The Trust welcomed the EFL’S safeguarding measures and have now stated their disapproval of a takeover by Curran and Rose.
In their latest update to members, the Trust said: “We first became aware of the takeover interest two weeks ago, when it emerged that a Football Financier called Alex Jarvis had been contacting shareholders representing Andy Curran and Darrell Rose with a view to purchasing large shareholdings within the football club for the purpose of gaining a majority shareholding. We believe that some shareholders were informed by Jarvis that they had already acquired a majority shareholding in the Club, which was not true. We believe Jarvis had been handed shareholders’ details that were confidential to the football club and not in the public domain, and this was being used to contact shareholders to purchase their shares.
“Obviously, the names of Alex Jarvis, Andy Curran and Darrel Rose were new to us, as they have no previous links to our football club.
“Andy Curran comes with very little digital footprint so far. For a man with sufficient wealth to purchase a football club, we could find very little information regarding his history other than one involvement with a construction company back in 2009. This raised several concerns to us in itself. The only other information that we had involved a link with Swindon Town FC last season, where his son was a member of the firstteam squad.
“Darrell Rose was been an easier person to track down. We know that he has a family-run car showroom in Worksop and is involved with a couple of housing companies. He, himself, didn’t flag up any immediate concerns.
“Alex Jarvis is listed many times on the internet in relation to his previous deals, and one particular person that we have spoken to as part of our due diligence (who has had previous dealings with him) simply said to us: “Do not negotiate with Jarvis.” He has been involved in takeovers and attempted takeovers at Barnsley, Hull City, Peterborough and Woking. He is not expected to be part of any future involvement in the club, and his role is simply to try to acquire sufficient shareholding for Curran and Rose.”
Having set up a meeting with Curran, Trust chairman Colin Cavanagh and member Richard Wild expressed a number of concerns about the prospective ownership model, the way in which the shares and information about them had been obtained, and the lack of information available regarding prospective new owners.
The Trust’s statement continued: “Curran explained to us that he had always been interested in football at a lower level. We were pleased that he didn’t just come out with promises of Championship football and beyond, as we have heard in previous weeks. He talked about sustainability for the club and not over spending and he seemed to be on a very similar page to us.
“He explained that he had no desire to personally be involved with the club on a day-to-day basis and he was very happy to proceed with things at the club as they currently are. He saw himself turning up on matchdays and treating it more as a social event, with those already in situ continuing with the running of the club.
“When questioned as to why so little information was available about him, he said that this was simply down to him being a very private person. He had made his money through a roofing business and housing, and since then he had preferred to be the money man behind ventures.
“We explained how we felt it would be a real concern if we had an owner that fans knew next to little about, as we had seen over the past couple of years with a previous chairman. Curran accepted what we had said, and agreed to be interviewed by a supporter who is a journalist and to take part in a podcast in an attempt to reassure supporters.”
In updating Trust members following the meeting, it was stated that Curran and Rose had purchased 42% of the shares at that moment in time. It later emerged, after talks with the EFL, that this was not the case – the shares could not be acquired until the transfer of shares had been signed off by the club. Should the club sign them off without the necessary EFL checks being undertaken first, the club itself could face sanctions. The EFL also stated that Curran had not provided proof of funds.
The Trust’s statement continued: “As things stand, we believe that Curran and Rose have made agreements to purchase the shares, but the share transfer forms have not been presented to the Club and, as such, the shares are not in the possession of either Curran or Rose or the organisation they propose to use to purchase the shares. We had made enquiries as to whether any money has actually changed hands but, at this moment, we cannot confirm this either way.
“Having consulted with the EFL, we do not believe any person has either (a) contacted the EFL or (b) made the relevant proposal for acquisition of control.
“There has been a great deal of work that has taken place over the past fortnight, arguably more so than at any other time in our history and this will continue until this is resolved. This is one of the most pivotal times in the history of the Club.
“We have reached out to the Football Supporters Association, Rochdale MP Sir Tony Lloyd and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham for support with this.
“We need all supporters to stand together as a club at this moment in time. This isn’t a disagreement over the merits of a manager or a debate as to whether or not the club is doing things right – this is the very future of the club on the line.
“We’ve seen down at Bury just what can happen.
“That doesn’t happen here, we won’t let it.”