As the proposed takeover of ownership at Yeovil Town draws close to a conclusion, the prospective new owners have spoken.
Scott Priestnall, along with Errol Pope, is in the advanced stages of purchasing the club and has spoken publically for the first time.
Watch the interview below:
Alternatively, a full transcript follows:
To start things off, could you give us an idea as to where we’re at with the takeover process at the moment?
SP: Yeah, sure, happy to. It’s going really well, really positive and the lawyers are working hard but slow as they always do. It’s positive, going well and hopefully we should have some positive news soon really. I can’t really say much more than that but we’re in a really good place and obviously still waiting for legal formalities to conclude but it’s going well and very positive.
In the interim, what’s your and your consortium’s involvement in the day-to-day running of the club and with the current board?
SP: Again, I have to say it’s been really positive. Part of the agreement because the timing is not ideal, and because of what happened before, is that we have an agreement with Norman (Hayward) that we can come into the club and have an effect over this crucial time with regards to pre-season. I’ve got the support of John Fry and the current board to do what we need to do and work with them to move things forward in a really positive way, which I think has been done with the appointment of Darren (Sarll). Darren is very much our man, I think we’re really lucky to have a guy like Darren in place and it’s not down to us really about the signings it’s about him and his reputation and the style of manager that he is that we’ve been able to get the targets that we went for and have got. They’re great signings and hopefully, we can make some more over the next days and weeks.
So essentially, although the takeover isn’t complete, Darren is your man and everything that’s happening – certainly with the first-team at the moment – is coming from your involvement?
SP: Yeah. I mean we obviously can’t take sole responsibility for it because it is a transition period and the existing board is in position and we’re getting great support from them and they’re really taking our thoughts and the decisions we want to make on board and working with us on it. You can see we haven’t sat idle doing nothing, some really positive signings have come out of it and that’s how we’ve got to be over the next few weeks while we finalise the takeover. We can’t stand still; we’ve got to move forward positively.
Yourself and Errol Pope last week publicly announced your involvement, will there be other people involved once everything has gone through?
SP: We don’t expect there to be. The plan is myself, it is Errol, we’re very committed and we don’t expect anyone else to come in.
In the interim there’s always a rumour mill and all sorts of names flying around, one of which is Jed McCrory, can you confirm or deny his involvement?
SP: Of course. This is a question I’ve already had from the Glovers Trust, but Jed’s already made it public that he’s not involved in this takeover, he’s doing a great job up in Stratford. He’s a very good friend of mine and I believe that he has a very good record in football and in fact, what we are doing is we’re bringing Stratford down next Saturday to have a day where the fans can meet the players and the new manager. We’ll be down there as well to try and give some openness as to what’s going off in this current transition period, but certainly Jed is not involved in this takeover at this moment.
For you and Errol, what was it about Yeovil Town Football Club?
SP: That’s a good question why Yeovil. Certainly, for me I’ve got a bit of an affinity with the area and have got some family that live down here and I holidayed with my children when they were young down in this area as well and it’s such a beautiful place. But from a footballing point of view, I think there’s a massive opportunity here and I think that’s what really attracted me to the opportunity. Errol and I have looked at other clubs over this last six or 12 months and nothing has been quite right for us but I think where the club is at the moment is not where the current owner or fans want them to be and I believe there’s a real time to make this a successful club and bring back that winning mentality. I think at this level we can do that and we can have a real good push for promotion. What a challenge, the club has had now three/four seasons of not being winners which is a real shame from the glory days of getting to the Championship and I think our goal has got to be getting back up that first season and with Darren and the players we’re bringing into the club and the players Darren’s retained, the additions we’re going to make in the rest of this window, is there to try and meet that objective.
There are things you’ll want to change around the club but first and foremost is it about creating a winning team out on the pitch?
SP: Everything that goes off in this club now, the changes that we’re going to make – and there will be changes and lots of them – are all for the positive and are all about creating that winning mentality on the pitch, otherwise what’s the point in doing it at the end of the day. My philosophy is a very simple one and my background is one that has taken businesses and improved them and made them more efficient and they’re a lot of the principles that I’m going to move forward with this business. I’m going to make it very organised, very robust, very efficient and everything that goes off behind the scenes, and all the revenues we can generate, commercial partners we can bring to the table are all going to go towards improving what’s out on the pitch with the players, with the mentality, the resources that we’ve got, the quality of the coaches – everything that goes into delivering that football team is where we’re at and that’s the most important thing.
After a summer of uncertainty, what’s your message to the fans now…
SP: My message is let’s bring back a winning mentality, let’s bring back results and let’s make this club successful. What I love about this club is the history, it’s got such a rich history and when a club like this is successful it effects not just the people around the club but also the town and the community and I think that’s what this club needs to be. I’ve seen some of the negativity, I’ve seen some of the social media posts – although I don’t really do social media – but I truly believe that we can get this club into a winning position and we’ve only got one objective so everything that we do as a club, as a business works towards one objective and that’s promotion this season and I think that shows with the appointment of the manager, the signings that we’re making and that’s going to continue from now over the next couple of weeks and keep going all throughout the season. I keep hearing this word and I’ve had it put to me a few times and that is ‘transparency’, and that this club isn’t transparent enough and it doesn’t have the relationship with the supporters that it should have. Transparency is a difficult word. When you’re running a business, you’re not usually transparent, you’re trying to hold onto the key things within your business so people don’t copy them but it’s a bit different with football. I do believe it’s part of the community and it has a big role to play on how families spend their time, how kids develop and one of my passions is getting more local kids into this first team and beyond. I don’t think it’s happened enough over the years and that’s hopefully one thing you’ll see from us over time and that’s we’re very proactive in the community, we’re going to be very proactive with getting more kids playing football in general, getting more families down here and trying to show that we’ve got that to our side. From my perspective, I will try to be more transparent – I’m very open with you as much as I can be and will also make myself available to supporters groups and I’ve spoken to Rich (Rendell) at the Supporters Alliance and I hope to give them comfort that this is the right appointment if you like, right takeover for the club and for the club’s future.