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A plea from the heart

24 November 2016

Supporter Liaison Officer Dougie Pullen has asked the club to publish the following ‘plea from the heart’ to his fellow Notts County fans.

He writes: 'I wonder how many football fans are aware that the Insolvency Law changed in 2015, or, if they are, whether they fully understand what the implications are for a football club of Notts County’s stature?

'I ask the question because right now many are calling for owner Ray Trew to “get out of our Club”.

'Let’s just suppose that he did ‘up sticks and walk’. What would happen next? An Administrator would have to be appointed. The Administrator would then have the responsibility of funding the Club’s £300K monthly wage bill until a buyer could be found and, indeed, would also be liable for all the debts incurred during the period of administration, a process which can last many months. The chances are that no-one, who would be willing to take on that responsibility, would be found. Instead, the Club would have to go into liquidation.

'In short – Notts County Football Club would no longer be the world’s oldest football league club. It would simply cease to exist.

'Football fans become emotionally highly charged when their team isn’t doing well. They look for all sorts of ways to vent their frustration, at all sorts of people, and in all sorts of directions. The obvious focus of their frustration in the case of Notts County fans is the owner Ray Trew. Rightly or wrongly he is, and has been, blamed for everything that is going wrong at the Club, almost ever since he first paid £1 for the privilege of inheriting a vast debt to secure its future - a debt that was beyond most people’s imagination and which has multiplied over the ensuing years to the current level of needing to be ‘topped up’ to the tune of around £250,000 each month to keep the Club going.

'To receive the abuse and threats which come his way must drive him to despair. Sure enough, he did reach the end of his tether last season and Ray let it be known that the Club was up for sale. It is one thing to have to fund the Club to the level that he does but something totally different for him and his family to be the target of disgusting e-mails which no-one should have to receive.

'Now, enough has become enough.

'Personally, I don’t think Ray will walk out on Notts County although God knows that he has been sorely tempted to do so. He loves football and, despite everything, he won’t put Notts County into liquidation if he can possibly help it.

'He has spoken to interested parties and, no doubt, will continue to do so. But, until an actual sale has taken place, he won’t talk to the press or release a statement. He can’t. When negotiations surrounding a takeover take place, both parties are bound by confidentiality. He will admit he has had his fair share of parties showing an interest without having the slightest intention of seeing the deal through. We can only speculate as to why people do this but it certainly isn’t helpful when rumours circulate in the press, or on social media, raising fans’ hopes…only for them to be dashed.

'So, in summary, I can tell fans that I am reliably informed that Notts County Football Club remains for sale and that Ray Trew will continue to talk to seriously-intended parties. In the meantime, I would just ask fans to ask themselves one question: “Would I be interested in buying a football club with dwindling crowds, which can only cause an already eye-watering debt to rise, and whose fans publically abuse the owner and his family?”

'To those who want “Trew out”, I would just say: “Be patient”. The most saleable Football Club is a successful one. And for it to be successful, all parties have to play their part; the owners, the directors, the players, the manager and his coaching staff, all those who work for Notts County Football Club and, just as importantly, the fans. No right-thinking Notts person, in any of these groups, should want to have to answer another question one day: “What part did you play in putting Notts County into liquidation?”’

Dougie’s views are his own and are not necessarily representative of Notts County Football Club.

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