Devils in the detail as consortium pulls out of deal
A FOUR-MAN consortium aiming to buy out city speedway team Plymouth Devils have backed out of the deal, it emerged last night.
The consortium, who were trying to buy the club off present promoter Mike Bowden, said they wouldn't have the deal done in time for next season.
One of the consortium members, speedway expert Godfrey Spargo, said it was 'with the deepest regret and disappointment the consortium have to say they will be unable to progress with the planned speedway takeover in time for Plymouth to join the 2013 Premier League."
The four had to get the deal tied up by the British Speedway Promoters' Association annual meeting, which begins tomorrow and where the club had to declare they were running next season.
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The project foundered on attempts to either sign an extended lease on their ground at the St Boniface Arena at Marsh Mills, or buy it outright.
But protracted negotiations with the governors of St Boniface College failed to nail down a solution.
In a statement, the consortium said they had been 'forced to accept they will be unable to offer a commitment to the British Speedway Promoters Association that they will be in a position to push forward with a takeover of the Premier League licence after failing to come to an agreement with the Governors of St Boniface College in Plymouth'.
The consortium was made up of former Devils captain Seemond Stephens and backers Andrew Pethick, Trevor Perry and Spargo.
Talks between the two parties effectively broke down over the short length of the offered lease – a season – and then an offer by consortium members to buy the land.
Consortium members wanted a lease of a decent length so they had enough time to recoup cash invested in the Devils.
St Boniface, says the consortium, valued the land at between £1,000,000 and £2,000,000. The consortium got their own valuation.
They made an offer 25 per cent above their valuation for the land, which was rejected.
However, an offer to look into a new licence agreement was made last Friday along the lines of a one-year rolling agreement that could be terminated if the site was sold to a third party.
The consortium's statement said it was emphasised to the college that in order to commit to the 2013 Premier League speedway season a verbal agreement would need to be in place by yesterday.
It adds: "The school then indicated that the first date they were prepared to meet would be Tuesday, November 20, beyond the date when our commitment to the Premier League had to be made.
"It is therefore with the deepest regret and disappointment that the consortium have to say they will be unable to progress with the planned speedway takeover in time for Plymouth to join the 2013 Premier League."