by PL2 3DQ
» 17:23 01 Oct 2011
Site Admin, Lowey Sponsor, Dom Sponsor


October news. Updated as it happens.

1st:
Argyle lose 2-0 away to Crawley Town and remain bottom of League Two, 868 Greens were in the 3,175 crowd.

News breaks that former directors Paul Stapleton, Tony Wrathall and Phill Gill have attempted to negotiate with primary stakeholder Lombard.
The three ex-directors were guarantors on the original mortgage when the freehold of Home Park was purchased from Plymouth City Council in 2007 and are legally obliged to pay for any financial shortfall if Lombard’s £2.1m settlement is not reached.

2nd:
An online petition against the involvement of the former directors has been set-up - http://ebookargyle.com/

3rd:
Paul Stapleton is interviewed on the Sparksy morning radio show and denies any involvement with any bids to buy the club and says he backs the bid by James Brent.

Midfielder Jamie Griffiths extends his loan from Ipswich Town for a second month.

4th:
The six-monthly report from P & A Partnership show that the administrators have charged a fee of £700,000 so far. http://www.pafc.pandareports.com/ report 03/10/11.

Paul Buttivant has hinted at making a final offer for the club.

Onismor Bhasera could be back playing before the end of October after recovering from a knee injury.

5th:
Carl Fletcher is attempting to sign two loan players, a striker and a centre-back, before Saturday's game against Accrington Stanley. Sky reports that Millwall defender Darren Purse could be on his way to Home Park.

According to the Sun newspaper last Sunday Peter Ridsdale offered his services as the new Chairman of Nottingham Forest but was turned down.

Ridsdale gives an interview to the BBC and states he expects the bid by James Brent to buy the club to be completed next week.

Midfielder Conor Hourihane has been called up to the Ireland under-21 squad for Tuesday's UEFA qualifying game against Leichtenstein. He will not miss any games for Argyle.

6th:
The Football League have placed a transfer embargo on Argyle until the deal by James Brent is completed. Darren Purse and one other player were poised to sign on loan in time for Saturday's game but both deals are now off.

James Brent says he and his team of over 12 people are working "1000mph" to get the deal to buy Argyle completed.
Speaking to the Herald he said: "We are in the documentation phase now; there are numerous drafts of numerous documents going back and forth between various lawyers.
"All those discussions have been constructive and people are being very helpful as we move, hopefully, to a successful conclusion.
"We are going at 1,000mph to get to completion. The earliest physical date is Friday week, but it is challenging due to the logistics of each of the documents."

Peter Ridsdale's former consultancy company WH Sports Limited was in London's High Court yesterday.
Ridsdale, who was unaware of the court date, used the company while at Cardiff City but placed it into liquidation in 2009. The court hearing appears to be procedural.

7th:
A new company formed by James Brent is expected to be used for the takeover of Argyle.
Green Pilgrim Limited has James Brent named as the sole Director and Akkeron Leisure Limited as the only shareholder.

Paul Buttivant issues a statement:
"In the light of recent speculation implying that our consortium will be making an 11th hour bid to acquire Plymouth Argyle from administration, we wish to clarify our position.

"On 9th September, we were invited to re-submit our bid which we did, then followed a meeting with the Joint Administrator on the 21st September. Having reflected on the key issues raised by the Joint Administrator at that meeting we re-clarified our position which seemingly resulted in the Joint Administrator opening a dialogue with Akkeron Group LLP.

"It is very clear that the club is in a precarious position, and that is why we have decided not to withdraw our interest. Our overriding objective is to ensure the club remains in existence. We have no intention or desire to destabilise the current discussions but in reiterating our continued interest we are simply making ourselves available should for any reason these discussion falter."

Paul Buttivant & Guardian Managers.

8th:
A special Cabinet meeting by Plymouth City Council to discuss the buy-back of the Home Park stadium has been postponed for a week. The meeting was due to be held on October 10th but the delay gives the Council more time to gather information and make an informed decision.

Argyle race into a two-goal first half lead against ten-man Accrington Stanley with goals from Walton and Soukouna but collapse in the second half allowing AS to draw level and end up holding on for a point.
The match finished 2-2 in front of the highest crowd (8,013) of the season at Home Park. Argyle remain bottom of League Two.
Fans from several other football clubs attended the game for Fans Re-united Re-visited.

9th:
Romain Larrieu is featured in the Independent on Sunday - http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/foot ... 67766.html

10th:
A full Council meeting has been called for 4.30pm on Tuesday 18th October for the vote on Plymouth City Council purchasing Home Park.

11th:
James Brent's Akkeron Group release a statement:
Statement by Akkeron Group LLP in relation to the Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in Administration)

Following discussions with current and former staff and players (or their representatives), Akkeron Group LLP (‘Akkeron’) has today advised them of the best and final offer made by Green Pilgrim Limited for the payment of arrears of pay incurred by PAFC. The payments (which are conditional on completion of the transaction) comprise an amount upfront, a monthly payment and the balance owed(if any) after an agreed period.
These minimum payments will be accelerated by 50% of the aggregate of any specified unbudgeted income (for example from player sales, unbudgeted cup matches, promotion fees etc) plus budgeted income in excess of that assumed. The proposal has the support of the Professional Footballers’ Association (so far as it relates to players) and applies to players and staff in proportion to the amounts owing to them.

Peter Ridsdale, Acting Chairman of PAFC, said: "We are pleased that today’s announcement brings us one step closer to exiting administration, thus enabling us to start paying our players and staff properly and rebuilding the Club. I would ask all those affected to support the proposals as quickly as possible so that we can move forward. The proposal in my view is materially better for everyone
involved than the alternative of liquidation."

James Brent, Chairman of Akkeron said: "The selfless approach of staff and players is what has kept this football club alive on life support. While we would clearly have liked to offer faster payment of PAFC’s debts to employees, the proposal is the best the Company can safely offer.
"I hope that the payments can be accelerated through the receipt of unbudgeted income. I hope also that the current and previous employees will accept these proposals. While risks to a rescue remain this will be an
important step forward in avoiding liquidation."

The proposals for players and previous players will be managed by the Professional Footballers’.
Foot Anstey in Plymouth has been engaged (at Akkeron’s cost) to provide legal advice to any current or previous employee who requires it.

13th:
Peter Ridsdale dismissed a newspaper report that Premier League clubs were tracking 16-year old striker Matt Lecointe.
The Mirror reported that Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United were watching Lecointe but speaking to the Herald Ridsdale said: "We never know who scouts are looking at and have had no offers for Matt. Until such time a club stick their head above the parapet, it is just newspaper talk."

The Football League Board are due to meet today and decide whether or not to approve the bid from James Brent.

The Football League released a statement later in the day:
The Football League Board today received an update regarding the proposal from James Brent to take over Plymouth Argyle.
The Board raised a number of queries over the details of the proposal and will continue to work with Mr Brent to resolve the outstanding issues.
The Board will reconsider the matter as soon as the issues have been addressed, which could occur before the next Football League Board meeting.


14th:
Staff and players are being denied a promised percentage of gate receipts from the Accrington game by administrators P and A Partnership due to a disagreement in administration fees with James Brent.

A fans' protest by email and phone calls to the P and A office against the withholding of staff pay led to a statement being released from Brendan Guilfoyle:

Statement from The P&A Partnership re Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration)

The joint administrators of Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) warned today (October 14) that they are considering resigning from office.

Brendan Guilfoyle said “Our main priority is to get a deal over the line to save the club’s future but the current campaign being directed at The P&A Partnership by some fans is hampering negotiations. Unless protestors desist it is highly likely that the Joint Administrators will take steps to resign from office on Monday.

“Not only is the campaign disrupting our business and taking our focus off the job in hand, we are also deeply concerned about the associated risk to the wellbeing and personal safety of The P&A Partnership staff. No business or its employees should be subject to such foul, abusive and threatening emails.

“If we have to withdraw then the company’s former directors will have to resolve the current issues and we anticipate that HM Revenue and Customs would take immediate steps to wind up the club.”

Brendan Guilfoyle continued: “It is not appropriate to go into detail, but negotiations with Akkeron Group are ongoing. However, I can say that the amount they are prepared to contribute to the administration costs is currently unacceptable. The reason we can’t pay the wages is that we simply don’t have the surplus after deducting the costs we have to pay for running the club. These include VAT, match day expenses, utilities and maintenance costs, player accommodation and travel, insurance premiums and ancillary professional fees i.e. valuers and the PFA’s solicitors.
“To be clear, neither The P&A Partnership nor Walker Morris are seeking payment in full (see notes to editors). We are agreeable to accepting a lesser figure to facilitate the sale of the club but not at the level currently offered by Akkeron Group.

“From the outset of the administration Plymouth City Council made it clear that they wanted the administrators to find a private sector solution to the club’s financial difficulties. It is for this reason that the joint administrators pursued a sale of the business and asset of the company to a consortium represented by Kevin Heaney as far as they possibly could.

“It was only when Kevin Heaney, and others, formally withdrew their interest that the Joint Administrators could provide PCC with an assurance that no private sector solution was available. Also, I should stress that the offer made by Akkeron Group in March was, at that stage, unacceptable to the company’s creditors.

“It is regrettable that we are in this position, but given the level of contribution we are seeking from the Akkeron Group we consider that the gap is bridgeable and could be negotiated or obtained in an alternative way. I would personally urge fans to end their disruptive action and please let all parties negotiate the best possible outcome they can to save their football club."

15th:
Brendan Guilfoyle withdraws his threat to pull out and subsequently close the club.

Eight Argyle fans, wearing the new shirts loaned from the players, are guests on the Sky SoccerAM programme.

Argyle win 3-2 away to Dagenham and Redbridge. Argyle were two goals up (Matt Lecointe and Conor Hourihane) but Dagenham came back to make it 2-2; a penalty from Simon Walton in the last few minutes won the game.

17th:
The Cornish Pirates rugby team are in discussions regarding the use of Home Park.
The Penzance side are aiming for promotion to the rugby Premiership but their current ground, The Mennaye Field in Penzance, does not meet Premiership standards.
The Pirates need a stadium that can hold at least 10,000 and have nominated Home Park as a temporary ground for next season, if they secure promotion.

18th:
Plymouth City Council will vote on the buy-back of Home Park today.
At 2pm today the Cabinet will meet and vote on the proposal to purchase the stadium and at 4.30pm the deal will go in front of the Full Council.
Argyle fans are being urged to pack out the public gallery for the 4.30pm meeting and are being asked to meet outside the Council House at 3.30pm.

All fans are encouraged to wear green.

Plymouth Council vote "yes" 100% to buy-back Home Park.
The Council will pay £1.6 million with the club paying an annual rent of £135,000 which will increase if Argyle rise up through the leagues.

Onismor Bhasera made his comeback from a cruciate knee ligament injury by playing for an hour against Dartmouth in the second round of the Devon St Luke's Bowl.

19th:
Four Football Creditors are still in negotiations with James Brent. They are two former players, a high-profile former employee and one person who has links with the former board of directors.

Acting Argyle chairman Peter Ridsdale told the Herald: "There are a few people who are sadly letting their personal positions get in the way of letting us tie this up. They have to be reasonable."

20th:
James Brent expects to complete his takeover of Argyle by tomorrow. Speaking to the Herald he said: "We are doing everything in our power to complete tomorrow and to pay staff as soon as possible. We’re working flat out at the moment.

“If it were a normal corporate deal, people would just work through the night and it would be there. The challenge here is we have all these people and contracts, and each one requires an individual conversation to work it through.

It’s very important that everyone works hard to ensure that we can complete documents today and complete the transaction tomorrow.
"My colleagues and advisors and I will do everything we can do to achieve that, as I know the staff of the club will do.”

A special train has been arranged to take players and fans to the Cheltenham game on October 29th.
The train will leave Plymouth at 7.57am and arrive at Cheltenham at 10.58am. The return trip departs at 6.10pm and will arrive back in Plymouth three hours later.
Tickets are priced at £18 for adults and £9 for under-16s and are available from First Great Western, please phone – 0845 0711950 – and from Plymouth station. Fans will need to have a match ticket to be able to purchase a train ticket.

The administrators P and A release a statement:

The joint administrators of Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) say that they are optimistic that the sale of the football club to Akkeron Group can be completed soon.

Brendan Guilfoyle, joint administrator of the P&A Partnership said: “We are pleased that most major agreements have been reached, including Plymouth City Council voting in favour of buying the stadium.

“Despite media speculation about professional fees, The P&A Partnership and its solicitors Walker Morris have always said they are happy to accept 50 per cent of their fees. We see no reason why the deal cannot be completed.”

Statement ends.

The Accountancy Age website claims that James Brent has offered to pay 20% of the £750,000 administrators fees.

Former Chief Operating Officer Tony Campbell, who was made redundant from Argyle on March 7th, issued a statement on Pasoti:
Tony Campbell wrote: Following contact from the press and media I wish to clarify my position regarding the agreement that James Brent is insisting be signed by all football creditors who are owed money by Plymouth Argyle Football Club.

James Brent employed Foot Anstey to provide legal advice to all past and present employees regarding their legal entitlement under TUPE, the Trade Union (Protection of Employment) Regulations.

Their independent advice was that the offer made to me was substantially less than my legal entitlement. As such I informed the relevant parties that I am more than happy to sign the agreement which will see the money owed repaid to me over the next 5 years, however I reserve the right to contest the amount offered.

I was informed that this was not acceptable and that I either sign the letter waiving all rights to the disputed amount or James Brent will pull out of the deal and the club will go in to liquidation. I responded by stating I had no wish to see the club harmed in any way and as such I was prepared to sign the agreement to allow the sale to proceed and that we could address my outstanding wages as a separate issue at a later date by agreement with all parties.

I have since met with Peter Ridsdale who informed me that James Brent was not prepared to negotiate under any circumstances and that if I didn’t sign he would walk away from the club. I reiterated that I had no wish to hold the deal up and was prepared to sign the agreement. However I still wished to reserve the right to contest the amount offered. Peter confirmed Brent’s stance and claimed that if I didn’t sign the club would fold, I would feel the full anger of the supporters and that I would have no option but to leave the city and move away.

This threat, plus the deliberate leaking of my name to the press in an attempt to increase the pressure upon me and my family is unhelpful.

I am sorry but I will not be bullied and intimidated in this manner. I am simply asking for what I am legally entitled to receive, no more, no less. I am happy to go through the correct legal process to address this issue and will agree to any arbitration procedure that may be proposed.

I have no wish to delay the takeover of the football club and urge James Brent on behalf of all supporters to proceed with the purchase as quickly as possible. To assist in this process I am more than happy to sign any agreement that allows the sale to be concluded and for my own personally circumstances to be addressed at a later date.


21st:
The Herald reports that Peter Reid and Tony Campbell are the last two former employees yet to agree on the terms of the takeover by James Brent. All current and former employees need to agree to the takeveover package or the club could be forced out of business.

James Brent will continue his negotiations with administrators P and A today.

James Brent releases a statement on Pasoti:

"Dear All,

I wanted to thank those who wrote supportive posts yesterday. I have read through some but will read/re-read them over the weekend. The passion,loyalty and commitment shown by the Green Army is incredible and I am proud to be one of its newest recruits.

"My colleagues and I are continuing to make progress: issues are arising but we are addressing them as quickly as we are able. Most stakeholders and their advisers are also working hard to save the Club and we will complete as soon as we safely can.

"I thought it appropriate to comment on the outstanding employee arrears letters. As you know, even with the sacrifice shown by the unsecured creditors, the Club's finances remain dire. Football Creditor debts exceed £4 million and secured creditors are a owed a further £5million, the Administrators and their advisers are seeking large fees and even with good management, the Club will likely lose money this year and next. Much loved the Club is, it is only valued at a small fraction of these liabilities.

"Would we like to pay off all of the old company's obligations to staff upfront? Yes, of course we would...but the Club cannot. There was a fixed pot of money to allocate and we have allocated it as fairly as we are able, given the rules set by law and the League and the importance not to create financial stress in the future. It is human that people should like the pot to be higher and/or their own allocation greater. I will not criticise those who are asking for more(particularly former employees who have suffered so much) but the allocation is fixed and is materially higher than the amount that will be received if the Club is liquidated. I have no right to demand that people sign the agreements which they have been given, but I do ask them to do so in order that we can (hopefully) complete the rescue and the Club can move on to a more glorious chapter in its 125-year history.

"Fingers crossed both for today and tomorrow."

James
James Brent
Chairman and CEO
Akkeron Group LLP.

Statement ends.

22nd:
Former Chief Operating Officer Tony Campbell releases a second statement on Pasoti saying he will now sign the financial agreement with James Brent.
Tony Campbell wrote: Following conversations with Gary Maguire and Ian Newell from the Green Taverners I can confirm that I will now be signing the agreement letter.

I do so despite the fact that I still have serious concerns about the way the whole sale and purchase process has been conducted and how the staff and players have been treated and intimidated throughout the last 9 months.

The Green Taverners have been absolutely fantastic in their support of the staff and I have the upmost respect for the work they have done. As such I feel that compromising my own moral position on this issue is inconsequential in comparison to the contribution that they have made and continue to make on behalf of the club.


Despite playing well and deserving a point Argyle lost 1-0 to a late goal from Swindon Town. Argyle remain bottom of League Two, five points adrift of safety.
Conor Hourihane picked up a yellow card and will now miss the game against Oxford United on Tuesday.

24th:
Simon King has returned to Gillingham after his loan spell ended early. The centre-back is carrying an injury which will not heal before his second month on-loan expires so it was agreed to send him back to Gillingham.

16.30. The BBC reports that Peter Reid still hasn’t signed a financial agreement with James Brent.
20.00. Update. Peter Reid has now agreed to sign.

25th:
The BBC confirms that Peter Reid has reached an agreement with James Brent.

Argyle lost 5-1 at Oxford and remain bottom of League two, five points from safety.
Simon Walton made the score 1-1 from the penalty spot but Oxford scored four goals in the last 23 minutes to easily win the game.

26th:
The FA have commissioned an extra 1986 FA Cup runners-up medal for Peter Reid to replace the one he sold to raise funds for the staff at Argyle.

Several former players have not yet returned their signed agreement documents to James Brent and his legal team.

27th:
The Herald reports that James Brent still has some issues to settle before completing his takeover, namely - One player is currently in prison, one player has asked his lawyers in Eastern Europe to translate the agreement documents and another player is involved in a wrangle over his contract, which has a year still to run.

An issue over Argyle's new pitch must also be resolved before the Football League have their final say.

Brent said: "We have no contingency plan beyond Friday.
"We have been doing – and for the rest of the week will continue to do – everything we can to make it happen.
"We've been ready to sign every single document for a matter of days now but we can't complete until that last document is signed and returned.

"I can't give assurances but I am hopeful it will be signed over the next 48 hours."

Simon King is returning to Argyle to complete the final week of his loan spell. He was sent back to Gillingham last week because of an injury that wasn't expected to heal before his second month on-loan expires but the centre-back is now fit again.

Statement from James Brent:
Update by Akkeron Group LLP ('Akkeron') on behalf of Green Pilgrim Limited ('GP')

Akkeron provides the following update in relation to the potential acquisition by Akkeron Leisure Limited ('ALL'), GP's parent company, of the assets and undertaking of PAFC:

*other than the sale and purchase agreement ('SPA') to be entered into
between ALL, PAFC and the Joint Administrators, all non-employee related agreements have been agreed.

*ALL understands that the SPA is agreed in relation to all matters other than the Joint Administrators' fees and expenses.

*on Tuesday 25th October 2011, GP made a best and final offer to the Joint Administrators for settlement of their and their advisers fees and expenses.
*all agreements required from non-playing staff (current and previous) to complete the acquisition have been received, as have all those required from current players.

*a small number of agreements need to be signed by previous players for the deal to proceed. Akkeron has been assured that these deeds are in the process of being signed and hopes that they will be received today.

*Akkeron understands that the waiver/deferral agreements entered into between the Joint Administrators and current employees, expire tomorrow, 28th October 2011.

James Brent, Chairman of Akkeron said: 'My colleagues (current and prospective), advisers and many, many other parties have worked tirelessly to rescue PAFC. They have my sincere thanks.

"The combination of the dire financial position that the Joint Administrators found the Club in and the protracted administration has created many losers and no winners. I recognise the level of losses that the Joint Administrators will suffer if they proceed with the transaction, but believe that these losses will be higher again if they do not.

"ALL will not improve on the terms of its best and final offer. I call on the Joint Administrators to follow the example set by PAFC's employees (current and past) and creditors (unsecured and secured) and accept their losses and allow the Club to move forward. Please let today be the last page of a dreadful chapter in the Club's history and tomorrow the first page of a bright new beginning".

-----------------------------------------------------
Statement from P and A.

Statement from The P&A Partnership re Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration)

Commenting on a media statement from the Akkeron Group LLP Brendan Guilfoyle from The P&A Partnership and joint administrator of Plymouth Argyle Football Company Limited (in administration) said: “We are still in negotiations and therefore disappointed that Akkeron has issued this statement, which is both premature and in parts inaccurate.


“In the negotiations the two professional firms involved have more than demonstrated their willingness to write off costs in order to save the club.”

28th:
James Brent has offered P and A £400,000 for the costs of the administration process, plus possible future payments but the fees, including four months spent on the Heaney/BIL bid, are now up to £1.2 million.

P and A become liable for wages, around £230,000, from Saturday 29th and could threaten liquidation of PAFC if a deal with James Brent is not reached today.
James Brent could fight off the liquidation threat by seeking an injunction at the High Court or the creditors could go to court and request a new administrator be appointed.

The Plymouth Argyle Fans' Trust release a statement:
"The Argyle Fans’ Trust stands united behind James Brent in his efforts to secure a future for our club in our City.
"We are fully prepared to take targeted and specific protest action against P&A Partnership and their associates should they continue to jeopardize the future of our club.
"Our message is very simple: sign the deal on the table now and salvage what little of your reputation remains."

Statement ends.

Brendan Guilfoyle told the Herald: "We've asked the staff for more waivers because we don't believe we'll have the Football League agreement by today. We want to help Plymouth Argyle as well, but negotiations are ongoing and it would be ill-advised to say fees are the only outstanding issue.

"It's always been my aim to rescue the club, but the level of pain we're being asked to take seems to us to be disproportionate."

James Brent told the Herald: "The club and staff should suffer no more.
"If the staff ask us to carry on and not pull out we will not pull out, but we will not allow further value to be taken out of the club."

"I recognise the level of losses that the joint administrators will suffer if they proceed with the transaction, but believe that these losses will be higher again if they do not.
"Let today be the last page of a dreadful chapter in the club's history and tomorrow the first page of a bright new beginning."

11am:
The club is saved! Akkeron/James Brent reach an agreement with P and A!

Brendan Guilfoyle talks to the BBC: "I am delighted that this morning we have agreed a deal that will see Plymouth Argyle Football Club coming out of administration.

"We have been assured that Akkeron will complete the purchase today."
"Like many other parties both ourselves and Walker Morris have waived a significant amount in fees to ensure the survival of the club.

"I would like to thank everyone for their patience and continued support during complex negotiations to save the club."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A payroll system is now urgently being set-up by James Brent and his team with wages hopefully paid to the staff and players on Monday (31st).

Peter Ridsdale was announced as Director of Football Operations at a hastily arranged Press Conference at Home Park.

29th:
The Green Pilgrim express leaves Plymouth train station heading for Cheltenham, stopping at Tiverton along the way to pick-up James Brent.

Argyle lose 2-1 away to Cheltenham and remain bottom of League Two, five points from safety.
Argyle took a first half lead from an own goal after a header from Jared Sims wasn't dealt with but a poor performance from the referee (who awarded a penalty and later sent off Griffiths) allowed Cheltenham back into the game and they won with two late goals.

30th:
Chris Webb, the Chairman of the Fans' Trust and leader of the Contingency Plan Committee, has decided to step down. A huge loss for all fans.

Argyle have been drawn to play non-league side Stourbridge at home in the First Round of the FA Cup.
The match at Home Park is expected to be played on Saturday 12th November.
Stourbridge play in the Premier Division of the Southern League, three leagues below Argyle.

31st:
At 12.27pm PAFC came out of administration. The club has been in administration since March 4th.
Football League statement - http://www.pafc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0 ... 96,00.html

Peter Reid statement - http://www.leaguemanagers.com/news/news-6886.html

Warren Bowden is confirmed as the new Chairman of the Fans' Trust.