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Straker: TPL obsession is beyond a joke
AFC TOTTON chairman Andy Straker says Testwood Park Limited’s “obsession” with the club is “getting beyond a joke”.
TPL, headed by former Totton & Eling chairman Ed Holmes, made a failed bid to take on the club’s debt last summer and buy the freehold title of the Stags’ Testwood Stadium home for £1.
They then pushed for a 99-year commercial lease, but that too came to nothing as Totton opted to remain a members’ club and voted in a new executive committee headed by Straker.
Six months later TPL have resurfaced, emailing details of a proposed financial investment in AFC Totton to the club and local media.
This time they propose that AFC Totton and its appointed trustees remain owners of the club and its facilities and that a legal agreement for a minimum of 99 years is granted to TPL to run the whole operation.
It would include the creation of a new club, AFC Totton Football Club Limited, and TPL appointing a football director, responsible for all player signings, plus full-time commercial and events managers.
TPL’s proposal was sent from the email address of James (Jim) Fallon, who has been suspended by the FA from all football and football activities until July 2016.
Through his company Beaumont Water Heaters, Fallon became Totton’s main sponsor during 2011/12 but acrimoniously departed in March 2012 citing “very serious concerns” over how the club was run. He was subsequently appointed vice-chairman of Conference South outfit Havant & Waterlooville where he became embroiled in a seven-month FA investigation into transfer irregularities.
He was found guilty of charges relating to the pursuit of player Tom Davis, who claimed he had been offered illegal payments to move to Westleigh Park.
Fallon’s three-year FA suspension did not stop him resurfacing as part of a five-strong consortium looking to take over AFC Totton last spring.
Following the consortium’s collapse, TPL arrived on the scene and again Fallon’s name came to the fore.
But having originally stated that Fallon would be “gifting TPL a sum of money”, Holmes later distanced the company from Fallon after the FA had been informed.
Although TPL’s registered directors are Holmes, Jacqueline Goddard, (Blackfield & Langley’s director of football) and Sam Davies, Straker has made the FA aware that their latest proposal was sent from Fallon’s email address.
Straker confirmed: “My understanding is that Jim Fallon should have nothing to do with football, so I’ve sent the FA the email.
“This is getting beyond a joke and I have to ask myself what is this obsession of Fallon and Holmes with AFC Totton?
“We’re a struggling club, second to bottom of the Southern Premier, so you can’t tell me they’re interested in the football. All they want is to get hold of the club and this latest proposal is just a rehash of last year’s.
“I made the members aware of TPL’s proposal at Monday’s meeting and they weren’t overly amused.
“They’re fed up with certain people listed on that document promising the earth and coming up with nothing. Jim Fallon is banned from football, so even if I thought it was the best proposal in the world, I couldn’t recommend it to our members.
“I – and, more importantly, our members – won’t see this club go to anyone who hasn’t got the best interests of AFC Totton at heart.”
The club – away to mid-table Hitchin tomorrow – are currently in partnership talks with Totton College and do not rule out the possibility of selling the ground to the college and renting it back.
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