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Morecambe FC owner claims ‘four credible buyers’ are interested in purchasing club

Jason Whittingham

The owner of Morecambe FC says four parties are interested in purchasing the Shrimps.

Jason Whittingham was responding to questions posed by members of the Shrimps Trust, amid the ongoing saga of the sale process at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium.

Mr Whittingham said there were a number of interested parties, and although declined to state an asking price for the club, said it was ‘highly doubtful’ that Bond Group would remain as owners in six months’ time.

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But, concerns remain as to whether or not Bond Group’s financial position going forward is reliant on a club sale at a certain level, and if that was preventing an offer for the club being accepted.

In addition, Mr Whittingham chose not to answer a question asking if he intended to replenish a deposit account, as instructed by the EFL in August 2023, a sanction that was set up following late payment of wages in the 2022/23 season.

Last month, the Board of Directors at the club issued a statement warning of a ‘catastrophic outcome’ unless club is sold in the near future.

Read more:

Morecambe FC board warn of ‘catastrophic outcome’ unless club is sold after meeting with owner

Above: The Mazuma Mobile Stadium

Whittingham said: “The reason for contacting the Shrimps Trust is to address some of the extremely one-sided narrative in the press, social media and, indeed, some of the club’s communications.

“I have remained quiet but feel that there is now too much that is simply untrue and is also affecting the ability to sell the club.”

“There have been two legitimate bids where a proof of funds have been showed (sic).

“Unfortunately one of those bids was withdrawn recently due to some of the comments on social media and statements from the club.

“These statements have a huge impact on the ability to sell the club and can be quite damaging to the sale process.

“Another reason for contacting the ST (Shrimps Trust), was in an effort to calm the waters whilst Bond Group make every effort to find the right buyer for the club.

“There remains interest from a US buyer and conversations are ongoing.

“Further to this we are engaged with four credible buyers, details of whom have been shared and discussed with the board.”

Mr Whittingham also responded to a question regarding the valuation he places on the club, but wouldn’t be drawn on an actual figure he would accept.

“Bond Group paid for an independent valuation which gives a ‘bricks and mortar’ valuation as well as a ‘going concern’ valuation,’’ he said.

“The going concern valuation gives any potential buyer a guide and it is then down to a negotiation as to whether their offer price is above or below that figure.”

In total, Mr Whittingham answered 15 of 17 questions posed by Trust members.

Yesterday, Derek Adams returned to the club as first team manager for a third spell in charge.

The club currently has five senior first team players under contract, and is operating under a transfer embargo imposed by the English Football League regarding and ongoing matter relating to payments owed to HMRC.

 

The club is also recruiting for a new General Manager and Head of Finance. 

Former Morecambe CEO, Ben Sadler (pictured below), left the club last month for a new role at Walsall FC.

Concluding, Mr Whittingham said: “On a final note, and with regards to social media. I have received some utterly disgusting messages from some ‘supporters’ of the club as have my family members and friends, one of which is subject to a police matter and possible investigation.

“The level of this has at times made me question why I continue to fund the club. Targeting my family is both cowardly and intolerable.

“The level of that abuse is such that it has been reported to the club, who will deal with the matter in the same way they would if it were abuse of an employee.

“The club has specific policies about this, which will be applied to the individuals responsible.”

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