‘Prospective new majority shareholders’ aim to acquire 40% of shares in Rochdale AFC
Date published: 07 July 2021
Willbutts Lane Stand
A new shareholder is believed to have agreed to purchase a significant shareholding in Rochdale AFC.
In a statement released by the club on 30 June, the directors informed fans that shareholders were being approached by ‘a group or individuals who are currently attempting to buy shares from shareholders with a takeover in mind’.
Today (Wednesday 7 July), the football club and supporters trust have released statements following meetings with the new shareholder who has agreed to purchase more than 40% of shares in the club, or more than 200,000 shares.
The club chairman Simon Gauge and director Tony Pockney met with the ‘prospective new investors’ on Tuesday afternoon (6 July).
The Dale Trust has also reported that their representatives met with ‘one of the investors’ on Tuesday.
Neither statement names the investor, or investors, but the Dale Trust statement confirms that the investor has already agreed to purchase over 40% of the shares in Rochdale AFC.
According to the Dale Trust, the investor told them that he has provided proof of funding to the EFL and is currently awaiting EFL approval.
Club chairman, Simon Gauge said: “We had a constructive initial meeting on Tuesday afternoon and discussed a wide range of topics. Nothing discussed raised any alarm bells but we will continue talking and carrying out due diligence.
“The prospective new majority shareholders have indicated that they would like the existing board to continue with two additional directors of their choice with no previous connection to the club. I am happy to continue as long as I believe it is in the best interests of the club.
“They are very keen for us to continue to operate the club on a sustainability model but will put in investment to clear the club’s debt and increase the playing budget for the coming season.”
Director Tony Pockney added: “I’m pleased that we have held a positive meeting. The potential investors disclosed their background, business interests, discussed plans and ambitions for Rochdale AFC including investment in the squad, academy and infrastructure.
“I was delighted that they expected to ensure continuity in the influence that major shareholders and fan representatives would continue to have on the day to day running of the club.”
The Dale Trust statement gave more details from their meeting; the investor has given the Trust a written assurance that the ground will never be used to guarantee any loans, he has given assurances that there will be no return for any recently departed directors and that he said money will be invested into the first team wage budget.
The investor told the Trust that his intention is to take a back seat and allow the current board including new chairman to continue to run the club.
The football club said that it 'is working closely with the EFL and the new investors with regards to the EFL’s Owners and Directors test, and will make a further announcement once this is concluded. If discussions prove successful, investors have committed to present to shareholders and fans prior to any final arrangements being concluded.'
It is less than a month since three new directors joined the board at the football club and a new chairman was installed, following the departure of directors David Bottomley and Graham Rawlinson who were voted out by shareholders at an EGM on Tuesday 1 June.
This latest development at the football club comes hot on the heels of the departure of manager Brian Barry-Murphy last week, just days after first-team players returned for pre-season training.
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