13 August 2012
Deadline deal safeguards future for Wycombe Wanderers
The B P Collins team has played a leading role in a deal to help secure the future of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club.
Previous owner Steve Hayes handed over ownership of the club to Wycombe Wanderers Trust Limited at the end of June and, acting on his behalf, David Smellie, partner in the corporate and commercial team, was given less than 10 days to complete the paperwork.
Driving the urgent deadline was the need to get an ownership structure in place that would allow the temporary transfer embargo on signing new players to be lifted. If the deal hadn’t gone through then the club would have been unable to sign new players for the 2012/2013 season.
“We were invited to act on the deal by the corporate financiers and the heads of agreement were signed in April, but then everything went quiet for a while,” said David. “When it came alive again around 21 June, we then had just over a week to get documentation in place which would enable the embargo to be lifted.
“Bearing in mind the number of parties and related solicitors involved and the complex commercial issues that had to be resolved, this was a substantial undertaking. At one point, I worked for a straight 38 hours, so we were delighted when the deal went through.
“It was a great transaction to be involved with, knowing we have helped play a part in securing the future of the club for the fans and for the local community, was terrific. We have high hopes that Wycombe Wanderers will move from strength to strength and also attract plenty of new fans to the club.”
The deal means that Wycombe Wanderers, best known for its giant-killing runs to the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 2001 and League Cup in 2007, is now one of the few Football League clubs in the country to be owned by its own supporters.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Trust has acquired all of the voting shares in the club, and has incorporated a separate company which will be responsible for the club's stadium (Adams Park), its training ground and the heritage aspects of the club.
Advising the Trust was Farrer & Co, and speaking afterwards, Trust board member and new joint chairman of the club, Don Woodward, confirmed: “The Trust is delighted to take control of Wycombe Wanderers, especially in the Club's 125th anniversary year.”
Steve Hayes, who had acquired the club in 2009 and supported it with substantial loans, said: “I've thoroughly enjoyed my time, firstly as managing director then as owner, and my support for the club will continue to be just as passionate as ever.
“I’m extremely confident that the club is in the best possible hands and wish the Trust every success in control of a club which I hold close to my heart.”