The Times ran a good piece today which suggested that there were two front-runners to take control of the club - an unknown American consortium, and a British-based one headed by former-City player Ray Ranson.
Interestingly, the article suggested that the American bid holds the upper hand but there are believed to be concerns over how their bid will be structured (with it being leveraged) and this could 'let the Ranson consortium' in:
Highly regarded by many supporters, Wardle and Makin
risk being cast as villains if they fail to strike a deal financially workable
for an incoming investor. Of greatest concern to the club’s fans, however, are
the intentions of the American investors who are thought to be leading the race,
the identity of whom the club has kept a closely guarded secret.
The Times understands that the American bid is
leveraged and could result in the club, who have existing debts in excess of £50
million, falling deeper into the red, a nightmare scenario for supporters who
fear that the club could be saddled with a debt in much the same way Manchester
United were when the Glazer family took over at Old Trafford.
Although this is something that the MEN does not subscribe to, offering an alternate view on proceedings:
Ranson, who unsuccessfully tried to buy Aston Villa
before American Randy Lerner took over, has, it is understood, had a lukewarm
response at the City of Manchester Stadium.
More talks are planned with the
mystery Americans later this week, after today's board meeting at City has been
given an update on the takeover saga.
The Americans have been checked out
- along with all four would-be investors - and would not saddle City with debt
and the hush-hush talks with them are now set to move from the "preliminary
stage'' to more advanced discussions.
It is an interesting angle that The Times approach, and there is the suggestion that Wardle and Makin may have a decision to make which - in blunt terms, would either be in the best interests of the club or themselves.
No one doubts that the pair have the best interests of the
club at heart, but there is a belief in some quarters that they may have to
accept a loss on their loans in the long-term interest of the club.
It seems that takeover talk is beginning to gather momentum, and is now a case of 'when' rather than 'if' the club will see new ownership, and one thing that all reports I have seen suggest is that Makin and Wardle do have the best long-term interests of the club at heart and are keen to secure the best deal possible.
With the Supporters Trust announcing on Five Live last night that they have the potential backing to secure upto 15% of the clubs shares - although I know for sure they are not part of any of the groups looking to bid for the club, this could be perfect timing for the Trust to be up and running and be able to come on board and work with new owners - wouldn't it be perfect PR at least for any incoming group to be seen to engaging the fans as a whole as one of their first moves?