It was always going to be the case that when the pressure was turned up slightly around the actions of those involved in the sale of Swansea City in 2016, the mudslinging was going to start. Unsurprisingly, we have seen plenty of mud being thrown over the weekend.
From the opening salvo of the “An Audience with Huw Jenkins” gambit which many members of the press reported on Friday afternoon without any sort of critical questioning of some of the outlandish and untrue statements he made, to the Supporters Trust’s excellent statement yesterday, it has become clear that both sides want to put across their side of the story and that those stories differ greatly.
There has also been the usual and tiresome Twitter posturing from former shareholders and their families. who block opinions they disagree with and enjoy goading supporters, which at best seems inconsistent with their roles as either employees of the club or, in some cases, self-styled “ambassadors”
And the New Year started no differently, with former shareholder Rob Davies wading in by claiming that the actions of the supporters will send the club into the abyss. He also claimed that the Trust was offered £20m in March 2016, and delayed its response.
Put simply, this offer was never made. Speaking on the story that broke today, Phil Sumbler – who was reported as attending the alleged meeting with Nigel Hamer representing the Trust – stated “There was no shareholders meeting in March 2016, a comment categorically confirmed by the Supporters Trust yesterday.
“It is true to that I did once attend a shareholders meeting with Nigel on behalf of the Trust. That was on 5 November 2014 and it was in the early stages of the discussions around a potential deal with Charles Noell and John Moores. This meeting was reported by the Trust in February 2015 at a forum at the Liberty Stadium.
“It is simply not true to state that there was a meeting in March 2016, outside of those already outlined by the Trust, and it is laughable that there has been a claim that there was a £20m offer made for the Trust’s shares. It is frustrating that whilst the supporters’ organisations are dealing with facts and evidence, the media is allowing other shareholders to make untrue allegations unchallenged and with no substance or proof.”
“The events of this time have been set out by the Trust based on when things happened and the whole detailed timeline, together with all relevant correspondence, was handed to Counsel as part of the legal advice that was sought.”
“I suspect there will be further claims made, but the evidence made public so far shows that the Trust wrote immediately to all shareholders as soon as they were told about the sale, despite the fact that the Trust was told several months too late. This correspondence did not receive the courtesy of any reply other than a draft term sheet sent by the Chairman.”
“I have no doubt that this is part of a coordinated and concerted campaign by the former shareholders to discredit the Trust and others who were involved at the time but are no longer part of the Trust board. But the facts are there, and I am sure that the fans will judge these based on what they see and hear which is all that can be asked for.”
“The simple fact is that there was clear collusion between the sellers to keep the particulars of the sale away from the Trust until matters were virtually complete and no amount of revisionism will ever change that.”
The Swansea City Supporters’ Alliance continues to believe that it is time to formally cut all ties with all past shareholders so that the club and supporters can unite once more, despite the divisions that have been caused by the manner in which the club was sold.