John Ryan branded the Football League as a “disgrace” after they blocked his joint bid to takeover Doncaster Rovers with singer Louis Tomlinson, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Ryan and Tomlinson were set to have deal to buy 85 per cent of Rovers sanctioned yesterday and plans were in place for manager Paul Dickov to start his recruitment plans.
However, the takeover was looking doubtful after several meetings with Football League officials earlier this week as regulations over ownership have been tightened.
These changes are rules over source and sufficiency of funding that had, at one time, just applied to Championship clubs but now the Football League have extended these regulations to the bottom two divisions during the League’s summer meeting – which proved to be the stumbling block for Ryan and Tomlinson.
The pair have now walked away after being told their offer did not meet the new standards required.
The takeover collapse is surely a blow to manager Dickov, who spent weeks lining up a number of signings in preparation for the green light to be given.
Ryan, the former Doncaster chairman, told the YEP: “its’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace and a black day for football.
“We are the first people to suffer because of the new Football League rules over what, to them, constitutes a fit and proper person. They are trying to say we can’t fund it. But that is absolute nonsense.”
“I have had 20 years in the game and I would challenge anyone to look at my record and say, ‘He’s not been good for his club’.
“As for me, everything is over now. I am finished with football. Totally finished. The day when something like this happens is the day when it is time to walk away.
“As far as I am concerned, they (the Football League) can take a running jump.”
Ryan was on the board at Doncaster until he suddenly quit last November. He and Tomlinson proposed plans for a “crowdfunder” initiative, which was designed to raise £2m inside a month.
As the deadline approached, the amount stood at £757,796.
Ryan insisted the takeover was not dependent on the £2m target being met and puts the blame squarely at the Football League’s door.
He continued in his interview with the YEP:
“We are the first people to fall foul of this new approach by the Football League
“The criteria is set so high now that I can’t imagine anyone will be able to pass the test. Certainly not in the lower leagues, at least.
“I asked the League if we had any chance of passing the test and they simply said ‘no’. I find that ridiculous. Basically, they (the League) are taking into account nothing but pure cash. But what about assets?
“I have assets, Louis certainly has assets. What we don’t have is £5m in cash sitting there, which is what the League seems to want.
“Who has that amount of cash? People have assets and that should be taken into account. How is anyone going to pass in the future?
“Maybe they should ask all the current owners to see if they can pass this new test. My guess is very few would be able to pass.”
A Football League spokesman told the YEP:
“In any club takeover it is a requirement for the prospective purchaser to provide a business plan and to demonstrate that the funding is in place to deliver on that plan.
“This is part of the League’s ongoing efforts to ensure the financial sustainability of our clubs.
“In this case, this fundamental requirement has not yet been met. We are in close contact with the club and will continue our dialogue.”