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Friday, September 22, 2006

Power & Devlin - "Developments" at Swindon

This is Swindon Town FC/Swindon Advertiser - September 22, 2006
No crisis,’ but Town lose Power

BILL Power has severed all connections with Swindon Town with ill-health rather than a ‘rift’ cited as the sole reason for his departure.
The club insist the sudden loss of financial clout does not suddenly constitute a ‘crisis’ although they admit there is now a projected overspend of around £700,000.
The former QPR chairman is still recovering from the injuries sustained in last month’s plane crash and following a meeting with Power’s wife and business partner Phil Emmel, the club have said an amicable parting is the outcome.
Power has invested more than a million pounds in the club since arriving on the County Ground scene back in May.
Director Bob Holt says the news is disappointing but not entirely surprising and that it should not be seen as the catalyst for a fresh County Ground crisis.
Holt and acting chief executive Martin Stames admit Power’s departure does leave a hole but they deny that it is a gap that cannot be filled.
However, they are unable to yet say whether Power will be seeking his investment back.
A projected six-figure overspend is predicted for this year but Holt is adamant that it is ‘manageable’.
Holt insists Town have been through much tougher scrapes than this and that the dark days of four years ago are not looming on the horizon once again.
He said: “We are all very disappointed as we did think we had a final solution (to the financial woes).
“There was media speculation about some rift within the board. It is not the case.
“We had a very friendly meeting with Bill’s wife and Phil (Emmel).
“The disappointing news was that because of the seriousness of Bill’s illness and the fact that he won’t be returning to work for at least 18 months, he is unable to fulfil the role at the County Ground that he originally intended, therefore would not be taking up a position as a director or an executive role.
“But you have to respect the seriousness of the plane crash.
“A person’s health is of paramount importance and must be respected.
“If he doesn’t feel he’s up to doing the job because of the injuries, there’s no question he has to look after his own health.
“His wife said she’d never known Bill have such little interest in sport and football since the accident.
“I think there is disappointment on their side as well as ours.”
Holt says there is an overspend and authorisation issue which they expect to discuss with chief executive Mark Devlin upon his return to the County Ground.
He said: “We are over budget in playing and non-playing areas but that can be addressed because we’ve still got eight months of the season and we’ve time to put it right.
“Overspends on costs may be justified by expected increase in revenues.”
So with Power gone and no hope of his return, will he be seeking to take out what he so recently put in?
Holt said it was a question the club did not yet have an answer to.
He said: “He put a million pounds in for 33 per cent of the football club (the shares purchased from major shareholder Sir Seton Wills).
“As I understand it this was share capital which was purchased.
“There are some smaller amounts that Bill put in on top of that, which may treated as a loan.
“As far as I’m aware, and we’ll take advice on this, this was a share capital purchase and as such, he can sell his shares to whoever he likes, subject to their shareholders agreement.
“So, yes, it is a bit of a worry and a concern but nowhere near the magnitude of the problems we’ve faced in the past.”
Swindon Town
Swindon Advertiser

This is Swindon Town
Fans digest loss of club investor

BILL Power’s County Ground departure has been described as a “devastating blow” for Swindon Town, with Robins fans fearing it could also spell the end for boss Dennis Wise.
Yesterday’s announcement revealing Power won’t be taking his place as a director due to health reasons after his plane crash, has sparked widespread concern, especially with Wise being strongly linked with the vacant Leeds United hot seat.
Paul Davis, spokesman for the Supporters Trust, hailed Town’s revival since the arrival of Power and Wise this summer but insists questions have to be asked as to the club’s future direction.
While not revealing specifics, Davis said members would be consulted over the next few days before deciding whether or not to call a public meeting.
He said: “It is extremely disappointing. Bill Power’s arrival over the summer was one of the bright points for Swindon fans.
“We believe it was one of the main reasons behind the revival of optimism at the club and of course it is devastating for Swindon fans.
“At the moment we are trying to establish and gain clarification of the exact issues surrounding the situation.
“We will be consulting our members and fans as a whole in the next few days before we decide what to do next.”
To complete a day to forget for Town fans, Wise, who has led the Robins to second in the League Two table, has been made bookies favourite to replace Kevin Blackwell at Elland Road.
Davis said: “Dennis’ arrival is part of the same reason behind the club’s revival.
“Anything that might contribute to the team failing and the management team considering their future would be something that would produce a very negative reaction among fans.
“The fans are still 100 per cent behind the team and Dennis Wise and we are hoping for three points at Notts County tomorrow.
“We wish Bill Power, Stan and Mike Sullivan our best and hope to see them at Swindon Town soon.”
Meanwhile Nigel Bennett, chairman of Swindon Town Supporters Club, has urged Wise to stay at the club, while insisting this is not the time to panic.
He said: “We still have a club to support on the field. Over the years the club has come through some very difficult situations, sometimes by the skin of their teeth.
“This situation, one hopes, is not threatening to the team’s long-term future and we hope Dennis will carry on his work.
“Virtually every fan is behind Dennis Wise 100 per cent and any rumours about him going to Leeds is just that at the moment, speculation.
“The fans all wish Bill Power well in his recovery and we are sad he has had to leave for health reasons.”

This is Swindon Town
No huge surprise, but still questions
Jon Ritson...asks what is next for Swindon Town?
CALL it a gut feeling but the ‘announcement’ we’d all been waiting for was not a huge surprise.

Bill Power’s departure from the club has been labelled ‘very disappointing’ by the board with ill-health the reason stated.
They remain adamant there was no ‘rift’ and that the parting of the ways was an amicable one.
Clearly, Bill’s health is far, far from perfect and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him a full recovery.
He will be a loss, no mistake – and not just his money.
He did strike me as the sort of bloke who would buy the fans a beer down the pub and there’s no question that his arrival triggered fresh optimism, belief and enthusiasm among supporters who have endured more than their fair share of misery over the last decade.
Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory and the club will argue that whatever they say in this situation, it is likely to be ‘rubbished’ by certain sections.
Yesterday’s press briefing gave off the distinct air that both sides were anxious for a civilised ‘goodbye’ but it leaves questions to be answered.
Apparently there is a projected £700,000 shortfall, one the club insist is ‘manageable’ at this stage.
I’m sure that’s the case but what happens if Bill wants his million back?
Then there is the final CVA installment due in May/June next year.
I remember Bill telling me that there was no need to worry about the £900,000 final payment.
Creditors may grant the club a bit of leeway if they’re a bit short when it comes time to pay but it’s a little less comforting to know that a problem we thought was ‘sorted’ isn’t quite so.
Maybe the club has been in worse financial situations than this.
Maybe we aren’t about to plummet back towards financial disaster.
But there is no question of suddenly feeling flat when we should really be feeling quite chuffed with ourselves.
And while there may be no ‘rift’ something has broken down somewhere - hopefully Mark Devlin’s imminent return to work will restore some semblance of normality to proceedings.
Still, it’s not like it has any bearing on matters on the pitch does it?
Err, well. Ken Bates’ timing in sacking Kevin Blackwell really stinks.
It’s not surprising that the bookies have installed Wisey as the favourite for the Leeds job bearing in mind his close links with Bates.
But losing Bill and Dennis in quick succession would be a double whammy that no-one saw coming just four months ago.
Just what is it about Swindon Town Football Club?
Why can’t we just enjoy the experience without enduring periodic ‘episodes’?
Bill’s gone, we want Dennis to stay and if anyone out there’s got a few bob, then Bob and the boys would be happy to hear from you. What’s that? Milan Mandaric has left Pompey?

This is Swindon Town - September 22, 2006
Devlin will address ‘overspend’ issues

MARK Devlin insists he will address any ‘overspend’ issues when they are presented to him in the boardroom and not through the media, writes JON RITSON.
Director Bob Holt has made it clear the club’s chief executive will be asked to clarify certain expenditures when he returns to work.
The club say there is currently a projected budget overspend of around £700,000.
Devlin himself (pictured) is eyeing a return to work sooner rather than later but he is adamant that he is not going to conduct such matters through the media.
He feels the correct procedure is to talk face to face with his directors rather than responding to comments made in the press.
Devlin told the Swindon Advertiser: “I have no further comment to make on the overspend to which Bob (Holt) refers.
“I don’t think talking about it through the media is the appropriate or professional way to deal with it.
“As I said, I will give my response when I am given details and will respond to them accordingly.”
Sales and marketing manager Mike Sullivan, who was also injured in August’s plane crash, has indicated that he is likely to be back at the club the week after next, all being well.
He made his first trip back to the County Ground at Saturday’s game with Peterborough United.
As for the Power ‘camp’, Phil Emmel did not wish to make any comment last night following the day’s developments at the County Ground.
Swindon Towm

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