SALISBURY City owner Mark Winter says he feels “embarrassed” and “ashamed” after buying the financially stricken club with Moroccan businessmen Otail Touzar, who is yet to invest a single penny.
The 47-year-old told supporters last night that £29,000 needs to be raised to cover the players' wage bills by today or they will be axed from the Football Conference, writes Joel Holt.
Two per cent shareholder Mr Winter has already plunged about £75,000 into the club while his business partner Mr Touzar, 31, is yet to invest.
But Mr Winter, who has supported the Whites for the past six years, doesn't want anyone to help save the club until Mr Touzar, who is chairman, signs over his shares.
The crisis follows an incorrect announcement by Mr Touzar earlier this week that he'd signed a Saudi Arabian prince Khalid Bin Bader Alsaud to play for the Whites.
A club insider told the Salisbury Journal this wasn't true and no contract had been signed.
At last night's supporters' meeting, held at The Vestry on Milford Street, Mr Winter outlined the severity of the club's financial problem to fans.
If no money comes in we'll be kicked out of the Conference,” said Mr Winter who is also managing director of Southampton-based company Aqua Pacific.
“He's lost the fans and players. They have been asking who this idiot is. The players don't want to work for him and neither does the manager (Mikey Harris).
“I've asked Otail to sign over his shares to me so others can invest, but he won't at the moment. Therefore, I won't allow anyone to invest while he's got control.
“I feel like the biggest idiot in the city. It has cost me £75,000 to learn a lesson.
“I never intended anything bad to happen to the club. But, as people keep telling me, he was the only man available to help at the time.
I've taken money from my mortgage to help save the club.
“I feel embarrassed and ashamed about how this has panned out. Never in a million years did I expect this outcome. I don't know what the next seven hours will bring. If Otail leaves, I know people who want to come in and help.”
Mr Winter, who is responsible for running the club on a day-to-day basis with the help of fellow supporter and fiancée Michaela Menzel, took over the club last month from William Harrison-Allan when it was on the verge of folding.
Along with Mr Touzar he took on about £160,000 of debts after purchasing the club for a pound.
About £41,000 of that was owed to the players, some of which the Journal understands has been paid.
“The club was going to fold anyway so I had 48 hours to do a deal and save the club,” Mr Winter added.
“I had lots of talks with potential investors but when it came to it, people, understandably, said I'm out.
“I needed somebody to be the financial backer and was recommended someone by a well-respected man from Capita.
“That man was Otail Touzar. I met him and spoke to him and he reckoned he could take the club to the Championship - he came down to earth later on.
“His business is investing in football clubs. Even William and former director Jeff Hooper said you've landed on your feet.
“But that's not the case.”
City made the step down to the Southern Premier league after suffering a double demotion in 2010. But player/manager Darrell Clarke, with his assistant Mikey Harris, helped them climb back to the top level of non-league.
In the midst of the financial saga, defender Brian Dutton has left and ex-Saints striker Jamie White terminated his contract to join Bristol Rovers, despite Mr Winter offering him £700 to stay.
Cameroonian midfielder Clovis Kamdjo is also not planning to return.