Friday, June 17, 2011

17 June 2011: Secrets

Was planning on blogging when I get the time to describe my exciting new Kokomo adventure of playing on an 11-a-side football ("soccer") team with people half my age. But that can wait, partly because I don't have time right now and partly due to some breaking Pasoti Argyle news.

So, if you click here and go about halfway down the page you'll see a short report from IJN and his buddies from the Argyle Fans Trust who heard (thanks to useful links in Plymouth City Council) about a meeting taking place between the 'Preferred Bidder' for Plymouth Argyle and the Council concerning plans for Home Park. This meeting had previously been mentioned as happening sometime today by the Council, but the time, location etc were a secret. Unless you have useful links with Plymouth City Council. (Clarification: the guys are now saying the meeting was by chance - my previous sentence was based on info from yesterday and a discussion on the 'Open Diary' held by Plymouth City Council, so I don't yet retract it).

So off they went to the Penthouse Restaurant at the Holiday Inn, and there was Truro City Chairman and several-times-failed-Argyle-bidder Kevin Heaney, along with a couple of architects. Overheard were such phrases as "They've got to say yes, or they'll be in danger of being blamed for Plymouth Argyle going out of business" before IJN and co introduced themselves and saw, on the table, sets of architectural plans for Home Park and the surrounding area. Heaney, to be fair, didn't tell them to shove off but instead did (reluctantly it sounds) answer a few questions, including the key one: are you involved with the Preferred Bidder? Yes, came the answer.

The problems are these:
1. Heaney has no money, at least certainly not enough to deal with the crippling debt Argyle remain in despite the CVA... the 'footballing debt' has to be paid in full (along with tax and NI on that amount) and that debt not only sits around 17 million but continues to rise as long as a settlement isn't reached.
2. On a related note, as long as the settlement isn't reached, the footballing debt will grow and grow, and it appears that the payments for exclusivity have been both late and in small installments, meaning that actually Argyle have lost money through the exclusivity process because it's taking so long. Speculation over the last few days is that the next (small) installment won't be paid, thus the exclusivity will end and Argyle will have to go begging back to James Brent/Paul Buttivant with the story that the debt is now substantially more than before the exclusivity period.
3. Here's the thing really: Kevin Heaney cannot own Argyle. And that's because he owns Truro City. The 'Fit and Proper Persons Test' for league owners isn't exactly challenging (remember Pompey had some guy passed who didn't even exist) but the one thing you can't do (and the one thing they check for) is own two football clubs.
4. The administrator (who is increasingly looking like he's screwed up big time with this exclusivity thing) has also stated specifically that Heaney will not be involved with Argyle post-admin. Although of course the administrator has been known to be economonical with the truth in the past.
5. Oh yeah, Kevin Heaney has no money. So someone else is probably involved in the background, and the noises are it's someone Japanese and someone who's name begins with 'R'. And ends with 'oy Gardner'. Despite they fact they ran Argyle into the ground over the last two years and were said by the administrator to not be involved at all.

So on we go. Entertaining, interesting but overall not positive. All that Heaney (and whoever else is involved) have done is driven the club into more debt by these silly games, and it's looking murky right now as to whether Argyle will start the season - and even if they do, whether they can continue as the footballing debts mount. Something needs to be done.

Incidentally, one of Wayne Rooney's wage packets would not only completely solve Argyle's problems but allow for some serious positive expansion. But hey, there's no disparity between clubs in English football, is there?

Update: Plymouth Argyle issue a statement confirming Heaney's involvement, but being a little unclear (in fact, directly contradicting itself) on whether he's an 'advisor' or whether he has an 'interest' in the property side of the proposed deal. Details also given on the two-part deal - firstly for Heaney (or whoever) to buy the ground and lease it to the club, which will be 100% owned by Peter Ridsdale. So when the administrator said Heaney could not and would not be involved, it was a big pile of porkie pies.

Not that that's a surprise. I'm losing faith rapidly in any conclusion to this smelly, suspicious deal. And nobody has said where the money is coming from to pay the wages of the players, now some six months in arrears and which must be paid in full ("footballing debts").

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