Glimmer of hope for King's Lynn FC
Paddy Davitt King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins is in advanced talks to sell the debt-ridden Unibond Premier Division club.Bobbins remains cautiously optimistic Norfolk's flagship non league outfit can avoid a High Court winding up order later this week.
King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins is in advanced talks to sell the debt-ridden Unibond Premier Division club.
Bobbins remains cautiously optimistic Norfolk's flagship non league outfit can avoid a High Court winding up order later this week.
The club's three man board held a hectic round of weekend discussions with both potential investors and council officials as they fight to settle a �67,000 tax bill. Bobbins revealed he personally met a local consortium and a wealthy businessman interested in bailing out the Linnets.
“I can't say too much more at this stage,” he said. “All I can say is one is very active and would be the ultimate solution to our problem. He has gone away and taken the figures to mull over but we've had a long, long chat and if he feels he can make it work he'll go for it. I also met with a consortium of local people and both parties have really just come forward due to the huge interest and publicity we've had over the last few days.
“I would say it's 50:50 right now regarding the person I met on his own. This guy hasn't a football background but a stadium background and he feels he could make sufficient money from the stadium to cover his outlay - in terms of food, catering, bars and so on. That is something which we are not very good at, frankly. He can devote himself to do it full time whereas we all try to do it alongside our other interests. It would be his football club.”
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Bobbins outlined the local consortium want him to stay on the board.
“One of the options would involve me putting it some moderate expenditure,” he said. “But the other would take us completely out of the situation we are in. It's really in the lap of the gods. If either thinks they can do something they'll come back to me.
“What I'm not trying to do is put people under pressure or try and push the club under false pretences. That also applied to the former finance and marketing directors, by the way, who went into this with their eyes wide open. People come in and think they can sort it but when they are actually on the inside it looks a lot different.”
Bobbins and majority shareholder Michael Chinn have now also had firm council assurances over the vital upgrade to The Walks stadium. Lynn's chairman, however, reiterated the council will not provide financial assistance.
“We had a four or five hour meeting with the council,” he said. “They can't give us cash. We knew that and we've said that all along even though I know there has been a lot of speculation to the contrary. They have said that, provided we survive at the level we are, they will, if possible, make sure all the alterations to the ground are done by the March league deadline where we got undone by last season. If we wanted to get promotion the work to acquire a Conference ground grading certificate would have to be completed by this coming March.”
A bullish Chinn claimed yesterday he is now prepared to re-invest in the club following the council's latest pledge - should Bobbins fail to attract new investors.
“The council have agreed the remaining money to redo the ground and the work can be completed by the end of April,” he said. “If we did get promoted then we could go up. We have someone else who wants to stick in �67,000 to the club, so that's going to pay the tax bill.
“The money I was going to put in will go into the club to take it forward. We have spoken to the tax office and they will get back to us on Monday and the cash can be ready for Tuesday. It's going to go to the wire and there is not a done deal, but there is a 90% chance.”
The Linnets must also convince the courts they have plans in place to address the club's outstanding debts aside from the tax bill in order to rescind the winding up petition ahead of Wednesday's deadline.
“It's not a case that you have to provide guarantees on the non tax debts and bills,” said Bobbins. “But we have to prove we have a plan in place to pay them. That is not really my issue. My issue is I don't want someone to come in and pay the tax bill and then a month down the line we're in a muddle again - that is my issue.”
Linnets' player/boss Carl Heggs is scheduled to meet his players tomorrow to brief Lynn's squad on the latest off field developments. Should the club's hierarchy launch a successful rescue plan Lynn can still expect a points deduction under Unibond League rules for Saturday's Guiseley postponement. A special committee meeting of Unibond officials would sit to decide Lynn's potential punishment.
Meanwhile, free scoring Peterborough loan signing Kwesi Appiah is the first playing casualty from the Linnets' recent financial turmoil. Appiah has been recalled by his Championship parent club and is expected to link up with a Conference North outfit later this week.