On Friday, current owner Eddie Davies named Sports Shield Investments, the group fronted by former striker Dean Holdsworth as the preferred bidder to buy the club. Those hoping for a whiter than white backroom team may be disappointed.
Today it emerged that football agent Ken Anderson is one of Sports Shield’s financial backers. In 2006, as an executive at financial advisory firm Vantis PLC, he formulated a plan for businessman Michael Wilde to buy a large shareholding in Southampton Football Club, in order to oust chairman Rupert Lowe.
Anderson, who had been involved in several liquidations, was quickly sidelined, when it emerged that in October 2005 he was disqualifed as a company director until 2013. His transgressions, which were listed at the Insolvency Service, included diverting funds receivable by a company into personal accounts, VAT discrepancies, and failure to cooperate with receivers.
Wilde’s tenure as chairman of Southampton lasted only months (although he returned later), and the clubs’s parent company was placed into administration in 2009, resulting in a ten point deduction and relegation into League One.
Vantis PLC itself went into administration in June 2010 and two of its executives, were jailed in 2012 for offences relating to abuse of Gift Aid tax relief.
– Richard McCormick