Shrimps Chairman Confident For Future
2 May 2018, 14:10 | Updated: 3 May 2018, 11:46
The Chairman of Morecambe Football Club has told Heart the Board of Directors has learnt valuable lessons after a difficult and uncertain few months.
It was announced this week that the club had been sold
- again, to London-based Bond Group Investments Limited.
The current board will remain in place, with the sale bringing an end to the saga that saw a funding crisis as Brazilian businessman Diego Lemos and Durham-based accountant Graham Burnard wrestled over the club's well documented ownership battle.
Club chairman Peter McGuigan has spoken exclusively to Heart today (Wednesday), telling us the club is moving forward with "optimism and confidence" after previous owners' promised funds failed to come through.
Mr McGuigan said the future is looking more positive after the sale was agreed.
He told Heart: "I think it is, I know it is and we can move on. It stablises us and enables us to bring in more sponsorship and gives us that stability then to drive the club forward.
"We are confident we can do that, so we think it is a very very good deal for the club."
Telling Heart about the uncertainty faced by the players and staff on a daily basis in recent months, Mr McGuigan continued: "I think we have to give credit to the staff. They have done a fantastic job in very very difficult circumstances.
"They really have worked hard for the club and we are really really grateful for as a board for that."
The announcement of the sale was much more low-key than the one made when Diego Lemos bought the club though, prompting concern among some supporters about "the lack of fanfare" surrounding the announcement.
Mr McGuigan told Heart: "I think that as news comes out there is negativity and I don't know if that's affected the playing on the pitch but hopefully now that is over and we can go back to being positive as we used to be and look to a bright future for the club.
"I think you learn from the past, and we learned our lesson on that. No matter what press release you put out, its either too short or too long anyway.
"We'll have Jason and Colin (from the Bond Group) coming in to the club soon and they will be giving more information to the fans, to the supporters and to the press.
"I'm sure that will pacify people who are worried, and they will think this is a good deal for Morecambe Football Club.
"It is not a one-off, its not a 'Lemos deal'. This is the real deal because the cash is there.
"We can't change history but we can learn from it. In terms of funding in place there should be no more month end agonies that we've had, which will give us time to look at other opportunities for the club.
"The new owners are looking with the board to develop the club to take it to the next level. With the cash and investment there, we are confident we can do that.
"There's no asset stripping or just putting money in for a week or a month. This is looking at putting this club back on track and we are looking forward to working with them. The board will stay too, for good or bad.
"It'll start from the board and we will make sure that we take the neccessary appropriate action now that we have the funding to grow the business.
"I think in the past though it didn't work because the people didnt have the money and it was on that trust it was taken.
"It is different now, as we know that their lawyer has the funds. He has confirmed that to us and the EFL by putting the last two months' wages into the pot.
"That's the big big difference we learnt from last time. Diego promised us the funds and it was a load of rubbish.
"I think we've got to look at it positively from the staff, the management, the players, the supporters that this is a good alternative structure and give us that stability and we look forward to the future."
When Heart asked Mr McGuigan about the timing of the announcement - just days before a crucial match with Coventry, he continued: "It happened when it happened.
"We had been pursuing this for a few months now and whilst we would have hoped to announce it a maybe two or three weeks ago, we didn't because we wanted to make sure it was correct.
"It just happens to be on the week we have the biggest game for Morecambe in many years."
Football club ownership is a new venture for the Bond Group, but Mr McGuigan told Heart they won't meddle with day-to-day running, adding: "They are leaving it to the board. I actually think it's a good thing to have a fresh eye, a fresh mind looking at it, and not to have had years and years of experience.
"I think its a good opportunity to see it through different eyes and put that towards the board. The board can manage the day to day business. There's no issue there."
The Shrimps could be relegated from the football league this weekend if they lose to Coventry and Barnet beat already-relegated Chesterfield.
Fans are being offered free coach travel to that game as a thank you from the club to the loyal supporters.