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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 12:33 GMT
Wrexham owner blamed for plight
Wrexham owner Alex Hamilton (SportsPix)
Mark Guterman says that putting Wrexham into administration on Friday was the right thing to do to save the club.

But the former chairman says that it is the refusal of the current owner, Alex Hamilton, to sell up that has plunged the club into its crisis.

"The directors have got no choice, they have to protect the club from liquidation," Guterman told BBC Wales.

"It didn't need to happen because there was a deal on the table to Mr Hamilton, showing him 1.5m profit."

Wrexham Football Club went into administration on Friday.

The Welsh side is 2.6m in debt, with almost 1m of that owed to the Inland Revenue.

As well as refusing the offer from a consortium led by Guterman, Hamilton has also turned down two takeover bids by the Wrexham Supporters' Trust.

"We put the offer in formally through lawyers on 2 November," Guterman added.

"We had no response, we gave him (Hamilton) a deadline a week last Thursday.

"He went through the deadline and then announces to the press on the Friday that we'd withdrawn our offer, which we hadn't - he'd just gone through the deadline."

Guterman, one of Hamilton's former business partners, revealed that Hamilton originally wanted 600,000 more than he was originally offered - then upped the price again.

"We couldn't match that gap but we came what I believe was a fair distance towards it," Guterman said.

"But before we could even discuss it at a meeting with the proposed administrator and the directors, Mr Hamilton had put the price up to 1m within four hours."

Hamilton has enraged supporters because of his apparent unwillingness to sell the club for anything less than a significant profit.

The Cheshire-based property developer has said he intends to submit a planning application in the New Year for housing or commercial development on the Dragons' Racecourse Ground home.

He has already served notice to evict the club from its home with effect from July next year.

But Wrexham Council is opposed to a change in use of the ground and has said it wants to buy the Racecourse to ensure it remains the home of the town's football club.

"I blame myself massively for letting Alex Hamilton in through the front door, but even I didn't realise he would do this," Guterman said.

"Maybe he has got an intention of selling but he's looking for figures beyond which anyone can pay.

"He's not going to get planning permission on the ground for anything else that he thinks he is."

Hamilton also faces a possible legal challenge over the manner of a land transfer concerning the Racecourse in 2002.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said the decision was made following a meeting between politicians from the town and Sports Minister Alun Pugh.

The Sports Council for Wales has previously invested 1m of lottery funds into the Racecourse Ground, which means the body should have been consulted before any land transfer.

"I'm surprised he (Hamilton) can sleep at night and I'm surprised that he can let Wrexham go into administration - the first football club to go into administration under these new rules when it didn't need to," Guterman said.

"This isn't about the income tax, it's just about the ground. He's prepared to put his financial ambitions after a 200% profit on the line.

"He doesn't care about the people of Wrexham, he doesn't care about the community, he doesn't care about the football."

Under new Football League rules, any club entering administration is automatically docked 10 points.

That will drop Wrexham into third bottom place in Coca-Cola League One and add relegation worries to all the other concerns.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Wales' Matthew Richards


Former Wrexham chairman Mark Guterman





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