UPDATE: The Gloverscast understands the budget accounts for what MIGHT happen rather than what WILL happen, and that the £2.8m has been put aside should the club reopen the deal.
South Somerset District Council has confirmed it has allocated £2.8m to buy land around Yeovil Town’s Huish Park stadium from owner, club chairman Scott Priestnall.
The authority agreed its annual budget at a meeting on Monday night including almost £118m in investments across the district.
The item of most interest to Glovers’ fans is the proposed purchase of land at the club’s home with the council adding “owner of the land is ready to proceed with the sale.”
All land at Huish Park is held by two companies, Yeovil Athletic & Football Club and Yeovil Town Holdings, both of which list Priestnall and fellow club director Glenn Collis as their only directors.
The statement confirms what we already knew that the authority’s District Authority approved the purchase and leaseback of the land, including the stadium, back in December 2020.
However, that was halted when the Glovers’ Trust activated an Asset of Community Value (ACV) listing it had on the land which gave it six months to raise the cash to match the council’s offer.
It failed to raise the cash and the pause on the Council completing the deal was lifted, but since then discussions over the sale of Yeovil Athletic & Football Club have got underway between Priestnall and Simul Sports, a group led by former Cardiff City commercial director Julian Jenkins.
Since the discussions between Simul and Priestnall began, things have gone quiet on a potential deal with the council, but this latest update would appear to suggest they are moving again.
The statement published following Monday night’s council meeting, includes the following details:
- Huish Park (£2.8m): Our District Executive at its meeting in December 2020 agreed to purchase the land at Huish Park in Yeovil, including the land occupied by the Yeovil Town Football Club, in order to secure the public amenity provided by the site and the owner of the land is ready to proceed with the sale.”
Also on Monday night, the Glovers’ Trust published an update – effectively a full disclosure of what it knows about Simul Sports – which revealed that financier Greg Baker is the man backing the deal. Baker is the founder of ESE Capital, a London-based finance firm which specialises in property development.
It confirmed the discussions were focused on buying Yeovil Athletic & Football Club, the property assets of which extend to the Huish Park stadium and a strip of land presently owned by the Council alongside Western Avenue.
All other land at Huish Park, including the car park, top training pitches and 4G surface, are owned by Yeovil Town Holdings Limited.
Keen watchers of records related to Companies House will have noted that Huish Park Stadium Partnership, a company which lists former owners Norman Hayward and ex-chairman John Fry as its directors, filed the paperwork to keep it ticking over for another year.
So, a reminder of what the timeline of the discussions with the Council were:
December 3 2020: The District Executive of South Somerset District Council approved the deal to purchase and lease back land at Huish Park – see here.
January 2 2021 The Glovers’ Trust confirms it is triggering its ACV placing a six-month moratorium on the deal with the Council – see here.
May 24 2021: After its six-month window to raise the cash to match the council’s offer, the Glovers’ Trust said the deal to sell would put the club’s future in jeopardy and asked the council to review its decision – see here.
May 25 2021: Responding to the Gloverscast’s questions, the Council said the future of Huish Park was “in the hands” of Priestnall – see here.
July 6 2021: The Council responded to Gloverscast questions by saying that it “remains open” – see here.
July 30 2021: Chairman Priestnall said the deal with the Council was still a “viable option” – see here.
Also, if you’ve forgotten what an Asset of Community Value is and what it all means as far as Yeovil Town is concerned (you’re not the only one!) – here’s what we wrote back in September – click here.