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Barclays’ huge profits will only rile Lowe & Co
THE company who helped send Southampton Leisure Holdings PLC into administration has announced a massive profit.
Saints’ parent company went into administration at the beginning of last month after Barclays Bank refused to continue supporting the club.
Barclays yesterday announced a net profit for the first three months of 2009 of £826m.
That was up 12 per cent from £736m.
Those figures will come as a slap in the face to Rupert Lowe and his supporters.
Lowe has publicly blamed the bank for their actions in forcing SLH into administration.
Lowe had cut the club’s overdraft facility from £5m down to £4m, but it had started to creep up again.
A source close to Lowe’s former PLC board has confirmed that Barclays’ actions at the end of March came as a bolt from the blue.
“You never thought Barclays would do what they did,” the source told the Echo. “It’s a company that ploughs around £40m into football through supporting the Premiership and here they are chasing a Championship club for £1m.
“The directors had reduced the overdraft by around £2m, but the bank weren’t prepared to support the club anymore.
“I don’t know why they couldn’t have waited until the end of the season and given the club a chance to sell some players to bring money in.
“If the bank had held on, we could have held a couple of concerts and they could have raised a lot of money.
“It’s so short-sighted what has been done.”
Barclays’ actions also shocked former Saints board members.
Among them were Keith Wiseman, who was acting chairman of the PLC board during Leon Crouch’s tenure as football club board chairman.
Wiseman told the Echo that the bank manager, Saints fan Richard Fry, used to attend board meetings at St Mary’s.
“I just can’t imagine where it’s all gone wrong,” said Wiseman.
“Richard Fry was the Barclays Bank manager based in Reading who we used to deal with when Leon was football board chairman and I was acting chairman of the PLC board.
“Richard Fry was totally onside with us, he used to come to all our board meetings and he used to come to home games.
“It was obvious he was very much working with us.
“Banks don’t really do this to football clubs, do they? Banks know many of their customers are football fans.
“I can imagine the pressure people like Richard Fry must have come under with regards to the credit crunch, but still … “Every player we brought in we went to Richard Fry for his approval.
You can’t do it any other way.
“It’s not rocket science.
“He was very much involved with what we were trying to do.
“We would only do what he would let us do.
“He had a say in everything we did, and we were perfectly content with that.
“We knew he was really in charge of the club.”