North East Wales

Stephanie Booth withdraws from Wrexham FC bid

Stephanie Booth
Image caption Stephanie Booth had been in talks with the supporters' trust

Businesswoman Stephanie Booth has withdrawn from attempts to buy Wrexham Football Club.

After Tuesday's play-off defeat at Luton, she said she would not go into partnership with Wrexham Supporters' Trust (WST) to buy the club.

Her spokesman said she had received death threats, not reported to police, after becoming involved with Wrexham.

Mrs Booth's withdrawal comes on the same day a winding-up order against the club was dismissed.

The order, brought by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, was dismissed at a short hearing at the High Court in London after Wrexham paid off its £200,000 tax bill last month.

This was done through a combination of donations and loans, but despite this, ownership of the club still needs to be resolved.

Mrs Booth, who runs hotels and other businesses in the Llangollen, Wrexham and Mold areas, has been linked with the takeover for several months.

The club first announced it was looking for a buyer in January when owner Geoff Moss and chairman Ian Roberts said they were stepping down from the board.

Several bidders have said they are interested.

Former footballer Ashley Ward, who started his career at the club, said he had held preliminary talks while businessman Stephen Cleeve outlined his interest on the Red Passion website.

But since Mrs Booth and the trust announced they would work together they have been seen to be favourites.

Last month the club survived a £200,000 tax demand when the money was paid off thanks to a combination of donations and loans.

It cleared the way for the team to take part in the end-of-season promotion play-offs but Tuesday's defeat to Luton dashed hopes of a return to the Football League.

After the defeat Mrs Booth said she was withdrawing from attempts to buy the club.

She told BBC Radio Wales when she first launched her solo bid for the club the financing was in place.

She said she was then asked to form a joint bid with the trust.

"I've urged them to meet and discuss the detail. They have declined and they've been meeting with two property developers.

"Why would two out-of-town property developers with no links to Wrexham want to buy a loss-making football club?

She said her bid involved moving the football club and its assets - including the Racecourse and Colliers Park - into community ownership.

"It's never ever, ever going to make money as a football club or as a joint football and rugby club.

"[The Racecourse is] an important asset and it should be used for more than 3,000 people.

"It should be used by the population of Wrexham town."

Spencer Harris, board member of WST, said: "As a board of supporters, we've seen some of the statements made in the press by Stephanie Booth this morning and I have to say we're really disappointed that Stephanie would conduct herself in this way.

"I guess the key things are the board of the Wrexham Supporters Trust only ever received an outline proposal from Stephanie.

"That proposal lacked any detail and a formal proposal of what she was actually suggesting or putting to us never in fact materialised."

He said WST was "willing to talk to anybody who's got the interest of Wrexham Football Club at heart" and would hold a public meeting on Tuesday at the William Aston Hall to make its position clear.

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