Friday, June 19, 2009

19 June 2009: Waiting

Matt Le Tissier

One fan on the Saints Forum stated this morning that "mountain ranges have formed in less time than this takeover has taken."

Today is 'deadline' day, 21 days have elapsed since the Pinnacle group were awarded a 'period of exclusivity' during which time they would complete the deal. The vibe always was that it would go right down to the wire, no question about that, but here we are at the wire, and what's happening?

Well, so far not much. Lots of activity on the Daily Echo and the SaintsWeb Forum (although that one requires registration) and the rumours are as follows:
  • Kevin Keegan to be new manager.
  • Kevin Keegan not to be new manager.
  • Kevin Keegan might, once more, be the new manager.
  • Iain Dowie to be new manager.
  • Press Conference at 2.30.
  • Press Conference NOT at 2.30.
  • Press Statement at 2.30.
  • Le Tiss to be announced as Chairman, deal going through, more details on Monday.
  • No deal yet, extension granted until Monday/Tuesday.
  • Deal completed to best ability of Pinnacle and Administrators, but the Football League are holding up the deal.

This last rumour is the one racing around inside St Mary's, apparently. We shall see what, if anything, happens at 2.30pm but it sounds as if Pinnacle are close. More to follow as the day progresses...

Update 8.49: Reporter outside St Mary's for Sky Sports News reports that the Football League are holding the deal up because Pinnacle wish to appeal the 10 point deduction, and so it's easier for the FL if the new owners don't get the chance. To me, that seems incredibly spiteful. All paperwork etc is apparently done, it's just the Football League holding up the deal.

Update 10.43: Some are continuing to expect statement/deal completion imminently, including some TV folks at the stadium who have been spoken to by locals. However, it also sounds very much as if the Football League are attempting to blackmail Pinnacle by witholding the 'Golden Share' (allowing the club to play in the league) unless they drop their plan to appeal the points deduction. Notably, FL chairmain Brian Mawhinney said at the time the deduction was announced that Saints had the right to appeal. I wonder how much "it's our ball, we choose who plays" they can legally get away with. Another rumour states a 7pm announcement is likely.

Update 11.19: Saints forum website crashes due to weight of use/expectation/Matt Le Tissier (delete as applicable).

Update 1.29: Back from lunch, and Tony Lynam (head guy from Pinnacle) just left a message on the Saints web forum saying he's frustrated with the League and their refusal to clarify what the "link" is between the (in administration) SLH and the football club SFC, which is not in administration, but is (used to be?) wholly-owned by SLH. Beyond that, there are two legal issues which he hopes will be sorted today - but mainly the League issue is the problem. In fact, according to Lynam, "it is critical that this is resolved, and in a timely manner." Sky Sports News saying it looks gloomy as of right now, deadline for 'exclusivity' is midnight, but Football League may not meet until Monday to discuss the issue. In which case, maybe, no Le Tiss, no Pinnacle, and possibly no Saints.

Update 1.51: One poster on the Saints forum, who is somewhat intimate with the processes involved if not with the Pinnacle bid in particular, suggests that the idea of restructuring the club as part of the takeover process (ie, no longer wholly-owned by a PLC) may make the entire deal unacceptable to the Football League (although no clear reason given as to why). Which makes me wonder, how did the initial reverse takeover happen in the first place when Rupert came along in 97? Despite Lynam's statement, it's starting to feel quite low. Five hours until exlusivity ends, but the Football League will definitely not meet to discuss until Monday, according to the Daily Echo, who also scotch rumours of a 7pm announcement. I suspect this could be the last we hear today.

Update 2.07: Probably nothing more today, unless the Administrator announces an extension of the exclusivity period, which may or may not happen. Aside from that, rumour is of Kevin Keegan coming in not as manager but as some kind of ambassador (bizarrely, a role previously held by Matt Le Tissier). Everything else, quite correctly, is being non-disclosed. Meantime Bournemouth have been taken over, Setanta have lost their Premiership matches and we're heading to El Paso on Sunday. Tacos, anyone?

Update 2.11: Sheesh, that wasn't it for the day. Sky Sports News now reporting that Pinnacle have pulled out because, specifically, the Football League wanted in writing that there would be no appeal against the points deduction. The Administrator now willing to talk to other parties. If true, this blows it all out of the water. Nadal pulling out of Wimbledon, Formula One falling apart, but still... this is perhaps the biggest news today.

Update 3.56: Looks as if exclusivity will end, but Pinnacle are still a player. No bidder will buy without assurance over league status, says the Administrator, and that will be discussed on Monday.

1 comment:

McDougal said...

Yep, deadlock and Mawhinney is sticking to his guns that its no-deal with any consortium who plan to appeal the 10 point deduction.

I'm also wondering how Rupert was allowed to put all of this together in the first place, it seems to be that maybe as a premiership side they were allowed to fly under the radar a bit. For a long time saints were second on the profit list of the 90 or so football league sides.

Back in the 90s this chain of events was unthinkable, relegation was a yearly reality to be dealt with but somehow our little team of journeymen plus one improbable looking superman dodged the trapdoor time after time.

I remember the day we went down from the Premiership; there was always a chance that we'd bounce back but if it didn't happen inside the first two years then the future looked grim. Moving from The Dell to St Mary's piled a big debt onto the balance sheet but also made Southampton quite a nice place to come to for the opposition; not good.

How many teams with new stadia get relegated within a couple of years of taking ownership? I guess its quite a big number.

I think whichever consortium takes over needs to take their medicine, accept the deduction, slash the wage bill and build a team thats fit for league 1 from whats left of the academy and free agents.

They need to accept the position they're in or they'll fall further; that is if there's anything left.

humphhh :-(