North East Wales

Wrexham FC: Jon Harris unveiled as new owner

Wrexham FC is to be sold to the club's former commercial director, Jon Harris.

Outgoing owner Geoff Moss confirmed the deal, adding that Mr Harris was the club's new managing director.

Mr Harris, who is financed by businessman Colin Poole, asked supporters to "give us all a chance".

However, Wrexham MP Ian Lucas is asking UK Business Secretary Vince Cable to consider whether Mr Poole is acting in breach of an order disqualifying him from being a company director.

News of the sale was posted on the Blue Square Bet Premier club's website on Monday.

Mr Moss had rejected bids from the Wrexham Supporters' Trust and businessman Stephen Cleeve, claiming Mr Harris was best for the club's "long-term future".

In a statement, Mr Moss "applauded the professional approach" of the supporters' trust.

'Experience and expertise'

He said the trust's "enthusiasm and dedication is beyond reproach but the truth is that the people who run the trust all have their own full time jobs and the club needs strong experienced leadership now".

But he said they had failed to provide "satisfactory comfort" in terms of its financial ability and experience of running a football club.

He also thanked rival bidder Stephen Cleeve, but said there were "some technical and legal issues with the proposals put forward by Stephen which could not be overcome easily".

The statement added: "There have been many rumours circulating that in the event that Jon Harris was successful in his bid that the Racecourse Ground or Colliers Park would be sold off or redeveloped, but Mr Harris has confirmed that this is not the case.

"Moreover, Mr Harris has confirmed that he will ensure that the mechanisms are put in place publicly to ensure that the club's assets are retained by the club for the club.

"Jon Harris has the experience and expertise to ensure that the club is run professionally off the field and has secured the financial backing of businessman Colin Poole."

Image caption Businesswoman Stephanie Booth said she was the preferred bidder earlier this year - but later pulled out

He asked Wrexham fans to "give us all a chance to prove our commitment to the future of the club".

The sale has been questioned by Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, who backed the Supporters' Trust.

Mr Lucas has written to UK Business Secretary Vince Cable, asking him to consider whether Mr Poole is in breach of an order disqualifying him from being a company director.

He said: "I raised concerns about Colin Poole, who the club acknowledge is involved with the winning bid, with football authorities last week.

"He was struck off the Solicitors' Roll last week and he is a disqualified director," Mr Lucas said, adding that he was investigating the matter further.

BBC Wales reporter Matthew Richards said Wrexham Supporters' Trust had been offered a position on the new board.

"A certain percentage of the club would be offered to them if they were interested in taking up such an offer," he said.

Wrexham Supporters Trust has yet to comment on news of the takeover by Mr Harris.

Last week local hotelier Stephanie Booth withdrew her offer to buy Wrexham FC, saying she had received death threats.

The club also announced that Dean Saunders has signed a new manager's contract.

Saunders said he hoped to retain the "nucleus" of the squad next season.

He added: "I have met with Jon Harris and Colin Poole and am convinced that the club is in safe hands.

"They are both very experienced and have a good understanding of football and what it takes to run a successful club."

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