Stapleton Part 3- an apology (plus PL2 gets a mention)
Posted: 06:16 01 Jun 2011
A full board meeting was called for March 4, where directors had to decide whether to put the club into administration or risk asking for more time in court.
The previous evening Argyle fan Ian De Lar discovered Argyle were listed in the High Court.
He also believes directors were wrong to replace chief executive Michael Dunford, an experienced football administrator, with Mr Todd, who Mr Stapleton said often spent less than three days a week at Home Park.
He added that much of his contact regarding financial information was through club lawyers Feld Fisher Waterhouse, whose representatives attended board meetings.
Based at the same London offices as Mr Todd's FFastFill business and he and Sir Roy's Mastpoint investment vehicle, the firm was owed nearly £380,000 when Argyle went into administration.
Media firm Magic Lantern Productions, which Mr Todd holds shares in, and caterer Compass Group, where Sir Roy is chairman, were both also owed more than £2,000 each.
"I have no regrets until the New World," Mr Stapleton said. "We'd never forward-sold any income, never forward-sold any season ticket income. We never in my time had not paid the staff or the creditors.
"We didn't have the wherewithal to take the club on. We took the club as far as we could and just look at their CVs."
As part of the deal, the London and Tokyo shareholders had options to buy some or all of the local directors' remaining 49 per cent.
Mr Stapleton said they were expecting and hoping that those options would be activated before the July 2010 deadline – but they never were.
When quizzed on his own payment, Mr Stapleton admitted he was given a five-year contract as an unofficial consultant to the club worth £50,000 a year.
The money was to be paid to city accountancy practice Parkhurst Hill, where he is senior partner, as part of a deal arranged with the club's Japan-based directors, he said.
Mr Stapleton said: "The Japanese had insisted that I would have an annual retainer for all the time taken up by me, especially as I would not now have control.
"I was surprised this was offered but was willing to do anything going forward to help the club, like dealing with agents, players, representing at league meetings, whatever."
Much of that was never paid, Mr Stapleton said, and Parkhurst Hill was owed more than £65,000 when the Pilgrims went into administration.
He said the firm did not prepare Argyle's accounts, but had charged for PAYE advice and company secretarial work including on a share issue carried out in March last year.
Mr Stapleton also had personal guarantees with financial institutions and unsecured loans of at least £125,000 in the club.
Despite laying much of the blame with the New World, he said all seven directors should take responsibility for the club's downfall.
Mr Stapleton added: "We were all on the board and we were all responsible. I understand that, and I feel for the staff and fans of the club. I am a fan of the club and I'm sorry things turned out like this. It's very sad because it's something you love and that's been very successful that's turned sour.