Alan Hardy: Notts County owner puts League Two club up for sale

Alan Hardy took over as Notts County owner on 12 January 2017
Alan Hardy took over as Notts County owner on 12 January 2017

Notts County owner Alan Hardy has put the struggling League Two club up for sale after two years in charge.

The decision was announced by the club just hours after Hardy said he was leaving Twitter following the accidental publication of an "inappropriate photo".

In a statement, Hardy said: "After considerable soul-searching, I no longer feel I can continue as owner."

Notts currently lie bottom of the English Football League.

They are six points adrift of the second-bottom side, and eight points away from safety, having been League Two play-off semi-finalists under then manager Kevin Nolan in May.

Since Nolan's sacking, Hardy has appointed two more managers, Harry Kewell, who lasted 10 weeks, and Neal Ardley.

Hardy said: "I would like to make it clear from the outset that the club's current league position is not a factor in this decision, nor are any of the events which have unfolded in the media this weekend.

"Everyone at Meadow Lane remains staunchly committed to preserving our proud status as the world's oldest Football League club and, until a new buyer is found, I will continue to support that aim.

"I have already held talks with two interested parties and I will keep fans informed of any future developments when appropriate."

'As owner, the buck stops with me' - Hardy's statement

Hardy added: "The truth is, my efforts to restore Notts County's fortunes over the last two years mean my other businesses have had to take a back seat. They are now in need of my full attention.

"Looking back, as a Nottingham-born man, I take huge pride in being able to say I took on the challenge of owning the world's oldest Football League club at a time when its only alternative fate, according to my predecessor, was extinction. The football-related creditors had to be paid up immediately, otherwise Notts County would have ceased to exist.

"The club was virtually down and out with huge debts, a dwindling, disengaged supporter base and staff morale at an all-time low, while suffering the worst run of consecutive defeats in its history.

"Over the following 15 months we had a truly wonderful journey. Initially, the challenge was to avoid relegation, which we were able to achieve, and last season we qualified for the play-offs, only to lose out against Coventry in highly questionable circumstances.

"During that time we were able to double attendances, re-engage supporters and attract crowds of up to 17,000 for League Two fixtures.

"Clearly, however, this season has been an incredibly difficult challenge and one of monumental under-achievement, which has left us once again fighting for EFL survival.

"As the owner, the buck stops with me. I take ultimate responsibility for our current situation. But it cannot be said that our poor performance is due to a lack of investment, as is so often the case in business."

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