North East Wales

Wrexham's Supporters Trust backs rival takeover bid

Wrexham's Supporters Trust (WST) says it will be willing to join a businesswoman's rival £5m bid to take over the town's football club.

Club owners say their preferred bid is a community-based venture, led by local hotel entrepreneur Stephanie Booth.

To cheers, Ms Booth read out the club statement to fans before Wrexham's 2-1 win over Forest Green on Saturday.

Wrexham council says it will continue to facilitate talks between all sides, but will not put in any money.

Terry Heath, who is on the board of WST, said there was no bitterness despite Ms Booth's bid being accepted in principle.

"We are talking about the future of Wrexham Football Club. We will work with whoever we need to to ensure that happens, he said.

"We are quite happy to take a little step back and see what happens but we are there to speak to her and willing to work."

Wrexham council leader, councillor Aled Roberts, said the authority had been working behind the scenes for almost two years to assure the club's future.

"We need to get to a position where we have a stable organisation running Wrexham FC," he said.

"Once we have a stable organisation and the redevelopment of the stadium is assured, the council and other bodies would need to work with the organisation regarding that redevelopment.

"To be fair, we have been involved in discussions for 18 months to two years but because of the uncertainty, we have never got to a stage where a specific design or project and, more importantly, costed plans were available for organisations to consider."

He said it is "not the role of the local authority to put money into a football club".

However, other stadiums have received public funding and so, on that basis, the authority "will look to project manage the arrangement, and we are in touch with a number of governing bodies regarding the finances that can be put in".

'Community-owned asset'

"The club is not in immediate threat but we know that time is short and we will continue to facilitate those discussions," he said.

On Saturday, Ms Booth said: "I don't know whether I've taken the poison chalice and I know I can go from hero to zero overnight so it's risky in terms of reputation.

"But what it means is that we can save the club and the stadium and I will make sure it never goes into administration.

"I will also make sure it is a community-owned asset for the community with an ever-enduring lease for the football club.

"I'm going to bully Wrexham County Borough Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.

"I'm going to put pressure on them to help us save Wrexham, and they need to buy into this because it needs to be owned by the community," she said.

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