Like everyone else, I’ve been watching and waiting for news today on the takeover front. And it looks like they’ve finally all decided to head off for Christmas without everything quite signed and sealed (just where is their sense of priority?). According to the club site, the acquisition is at an “advanced stage”, with Richard Murray commenting that “we expect to make a more substantive statement very soon”. So, the pre-Xmas notional deadline seemingly hasn’t been met, but there’s no reason to read anything into it. There’s no indication of problems, the weather may have interfered with planned meetings, and aside from keeping to the previously indicated date it really doesn’t matter whether it’s done today or next week (unless of course Dennis has something booked for new year – and no, I don’t have any idea if he is involved; and yes, like everyone else I hope he isn’t).
Maybe there will still be some announcement at the Southampton game, if it goes ahead (although the Walsall programme still brings a wry smile to my face: inside front page news story about the takeover confirming the details released but at the bottom “more on the potential takeover can be found in managing director Stephen Kavanagh’s column on page 11”; turn to page 11 and “unfortunately there is little more I can reveal regarding the potential takeover of the club”). Hopefully it will, if not just to reward those who turned up on Thursday to help.
The situation through the day did raise the question of who amongst us is sad enough to be hanging around pencil poised through Christmas Eve to be the first to comment. I guess at least some of the overseas contributors would have had some time advantage here, but I wasn’t going anywhere and wrapping the prezzies could wait (especially as Lyon only arrives in London on Sunday – silly girl didn’t realise there was an earlier kick-off and, even assuming there are flights in, won’t be able to accompany me if it goes ahead). Then there’s the ‘tree falling in the forest’ problem: just who might be sad enough to be looking for anything written on Christmas Eve when the news is actually that there isn’t any definitive news?
I’ve been reading other bloggers’ posts on the takeover and not surprisingly most comment seems to centre on a certain Mr Wise. Maybe the point to make is that the two things we know are first, that the buyers are a consortium, not an individual; and second, it’s headed by Peter Varney. Unless he is just a temporary front man, it’s fair to assume that he’ll be the new chairman and the major operational participant. If that’s the case, I don’t think we should be overly concerned just whose cash is involved. Murray’s pledges are good enough to provide as much guarantee as can be hoped for that there’s no asset-stripping involved (ie selling the ground in the event that things don’t work out as planned). There are potential downsides in being owned by a consortium, but looking on the positives a consortium has to have an agreed plan of action which brought it together. It may all unravel further down the line (which would raise the issue of whether members of the consortium would be ready to sell up to anyone on any terms), but we can’t think that far ahead.
I’m continuing to assume that the new owners will have just one priority in mind – getting us back to The Championship. It’s wrong to say we can’t survive in this league, but we have a ground too big now for the third flight and despite the Walsall setback we’re still in a position to make the rest of the season all about whether we can secure promotion. That’s all I care about; it’s why going out to Brentford left me indifferent and why I won’t be going to Tottenham for the cup game.
So, at least we can all clock off now and devote a day to other matters. Apparently it’s someone’s birthday tomorrow and we all get presents. Three points on Sunday, followed by three more on Wednesday, three more on Saturday and three more on Monday will do very nicely thank you. I can’t tell Santa I’ve been good, but I promise I’ll be better if that helps. A Merry Christmas to all and sundry.