Shrimps Trust column: Relegation gives way to ownership concerns
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It’s been a very tricky few days after all the hope gathered over the past month, so let’s start with the on-pitch stuff first.
Following a solid away performance at Portsmouth, the team did absolutely incredibly to claim three wins on the bounce and give ourselves a reasonable chance of staying in League One on the final day.
Cole Stockton’s last-minute winner against Wycombe Wanderers in front of the Bartercard Stand seemed to awaken something in the side before yet another superb performance at Charlton Athletic followed – clearly there’s something we enjoy about winning 3-2 at the Valley!
This was then backed up by an enthralling comeback in the final home game against Lincoln City.
A sluggish start resulted in a 2-0 lead for the Imps before goals from Stockton and Oumar Niasse gave us all hope for the final day.
Dino Maamria and Burton Albion very much did us a favour with their results against Cambridge United and MK Dons in the final week of the season.
Sadly, the players weren’t quite able to repeat their exploits of recent weeks down at Exeter City.
In terms of that day, it’s important to speak about the amazing away support from the fans.
It isn’t too long ago that we were occasionally getting around 800 home fans at games, so to take that many down to Exeter for a midday kick-off on a Sunday was truly superb. The atmosphere in the lead-up to the game was truly special.
Secondly, a huge thank you to Derek Adams and the players for their efforts in recent weeks.
It’s been an incredibly tough season for reasons that will be discussed in a paragraph or two.
Their exploits, in particular over these past few weeks, show just how committed they all were to keeping this club in League One.
It’s gutting that they just couldn’t quite manage to overcome that final hurdle, but we are hugely grateful for this superb team of players and management this season.
However, as sad as relegation was, it was blown out of the water by the events in the days since, following the announcement of the retained list with no out-of-contract players being offered a new deal.
It is clear from the situation that the financial uncertainty surrounding the sale of the club has led to this, as there are a number of players on the list who clearly would have been offered deals otherwise.
Derek has also alluded to this, referencing the lack of clarity over next season’s budget.
This is incredibly concerning news and shows just how much of a debacle this takeover business has become.
Given the radio silence from the EFL since their public request for information – also in February – then it leads us to the conclusion that around three months later, this has still not been submitted.
On top of this, it is known that there has been interest since last year, and the impression that the appropriate documents are still not ready to be submitted to the EFL is extremely worrying.
We are simply running out of time for this takeover to happen for us to be able to move forward next season in League Two, and we feel that action must be taken to reach a conclusion on this matter.
Therefore, we implore Mr Johal to greatly accelerate the provision of the information required by the EFL or, in the interests of the club that you have previously indicated you have affection for, step aside and allow another interested party to proceed with a credible takeover.
We are hugely frustrated with the current situation as it seems that our current owners, Bond Group, are continuing to pursue this path despite the lack of movement from Sarb Capital to pass the EFL test.
It has no doubt had a hugely detrimental effect on our season and we want to do everything we can to ensure that the negative effect this situation is having on our club is minimised.
Finally, we will be holding our planned public meeting this Thursday, May 18, at the Exchange in Morecambe – although this may be subject to change, so please keep an eye on our social media pages.
We want to try and get as many fans as possible up to date with the situation and give a platform for them to voice their concerns, as well as ask any questions they may have. We will do our utmost to try and inform you all as best as possible.
Sadly, it seems our venue choice has caused a bit of an issue so it’s worth briefly addressing.
The Football Supporters’ Association advised a neutral venue and we wanted to get a meeting sorted very swiftly, so it has been more about just finding somewhere as quickly as we could.
The fact that we are not doing it at the club is in no way an attempt to drive divisions as we fully support our excellent board of directors.
The most important thing about this meeting is allowing Shrimps fans to get together and discuss the situation – and that is what is happening.
We hope to see as many of you as possible this Thursday.