It still amazes us at the Joe Clarke Project that some fans don’t seem to want to see the fans run our beloved club. Consistent calls for a wealthy businessman to come forward and take over the club are dumbfounding, but for those who are still out there looking for a Sugar Daddy, we have started compiling the Sugar Daddy Files.
Club: Brighton and Hove Albion
Sugar Daddy: Bill Archer
What a happy day it was for the Seagulls when they came under the benign stewardship of Tory visionary, Bill Archer.
After conducting a thorough review of the clubs affairs Archer came up with the groundbreaking solution to the clubs problems, a branch of his dismal Focus DIY chain would be built on the clubs famous Goldstone Ground and the club would be decanted to a windy athletics track a long way from Brighton.
It has taken our friends over a generation to recover from this crime.
Club: Cambridge City
Sugar Daddy: Brian York
In 2003, Cambridge City invited Brian York, a property developer with an interest in footy, to take a seat on the board in the hope his business acumen would help the club out of a financial hole caused by years of living beyond their means.
Within 18 months York had stood down from the board but one of his companies had come in and bought the club’s Milton Road ground for £1.3m thus “helping” ease the club’s financial crisis. York also promised Cambridge City would have a new ground and an equal share of any profit once planning permission had been obtained for Milton Road.
In 2005, however, Cambridge City gave up it’s right to a share in any further profits in return for £900,000 from another of York’s property companies. Unfortunately there was also a clause that the club could be evicted with six month’s notice … and guess what, this notice was served, and York’s pal on the board, Arthur Eastham, announced the club was going to resign from the Conference (South) and “merge” with Cambridge United.
This prompted those “stupid fans” to set up a Supporters Trust to fight both the merger and the eviction which, at the time of writing, they are still fighting.
Club: Chester City
Sugar Daddy (1): Mark Guterman
Chester City were systematically raped by Mark Guterman. Whilst overspending on a grand scale, the club could not pay its bills and wages went unpaid but the chubby football nut swanned around in a club financed car and spoke to his many friends on a club financed phone.
The club slid into administration as Jabba’s inability to add up was exposed.
Sugar Daddy (2): Terry Smith
From the frying pan into the fire. Having been dumped into admin by the fat man, the Deviants hailed a new saviour in the form of American eccentric, Terry Smith.
Alas and alack bad times were ahoy as Terry sacked everyone who knew about footy whilst taking over first team affairs himself.
Sadly for El Tel his lower league charges failed to grasp the innate genius of “offensive” and “defensive” teams and the Divvys crashed out of the football league.
The antics down Bumpers Lane even elicited sympathy from their saintly neighbours.
Sugar Daddy (3): Steven Vaughan
At last there is light on the horizon for the down trodden Divvys. Scouse “businessman” Steven “Stevie” Vaughan takes over the reigns and accelerates the slide into oblivion.
Seemingly acceptable to the FA and their “fit and proper” test, he did not … we repeat … did not … use the club to channel dirty drug money.
Famously Vaughan held a minutes silence for a Liverpool drug dealer and managed to run up a 500k tab to a non existent cleaning company in a matter of 6 months.
The club folded.
Whilst Vaughan was enjoying Her Majesty’s hospitality for assaulting a police officer, the club fleeced by Sugar Daddies was rescued by “stupid fans” with the club’s best interests at heart.
Club: Exeter City
Sugar Daddy: John Russell
Russell’s career as a Sugar Daddy is a study in unremitting disaster. John first came to public attention when he took Scarborough out of the league and to the brink of extinction. He then turned up at sruggling Exeter alongside his south Walian side kick , Michael Lewis and proceeded to rape the nearly bankrupt club.
Russell claimed to be a man of means with the wherwithal to sort out the clubs debts. The reality was somewhat different.
The crown prosecutor told the court at the eventual trial:
“He was broke. He had no assets, no money and no bank account and certainly had no money to invest in Exeter City.”
What Russell was doing was simply living off the club. He and his bagman, Lewis, claimed to be working for nothing but they were in fact skimming off anything they could get. The gruesome twosome juggled money from account to account to buy themselves time, cheques were bounced and money earmarked for the club’s academy was illegally transferred. The upshot of it all was a club with a £4.5m debt.
We think that Guterman lived off wrexham AFC in a similar way and there is a 300k black hole in the clubs revenue for the period he held the keys. Russell got 21 months for all of this and Lewis got 200 hours of community service.
Ownership of the club eventually fell to the Supporters Trust who have managed to restore the club to the Football League.