Online app takeover of Hednesford Town falls through
The takeover of Hednesford Town to an online app has fallen through.
OWNA Football Club was interested in gaining control of the Pitmen, who play in the Northern Premier, three levels below the Football League.
A vote was due to take place tonight among OWNAFC’s 3,500-plus members – who have paid a one-off of £49 to have their say on new signings as well as hiring and firing staff from their mobile phones – to decide if the Keys Park side were a club they wished to continue to pursue.
However, both OWNAFC and Hednesford have now confirmed the takeover is off.
A message to OWNAFC members this morning read: "OWNAFC and Hednesford Town have come to a collective decision that the proposed deal for OWNAFC to take over the football club will not go to an OWNA vote.
"To clarify, this means that there is no vote on Hednesford Town today and that due to recent publicity, many options have been presented and these options must be explored.
"Hednesford Town and OWNA agreed that this option should be withdrawn.
"We believe that this is the right decision for both parties."
OWNAFC followed this with a tweet: " OWNAFC wish Hednesford Town all the very best. Great club, great people and a great future. The club have been professional throughout talks and this is the right decision for both parties."
And the Pitmen also confirmed: "Hednesford Town Football Club and OWNAFC have come to a collective decision that the deal for OWNAFC to take over the football club will not go ahead.
"No further statement will be made in regards to this decision."
Speaking to the Express & Star, OWNAFC founder Stuart Harvey had said Hednesford's fans would get the final say on a take over.
“If we get the vote in favour, it’d be for Hednesford to ask their fans to decide, or decide directly themselves,” he said.
“I see Hednesford as perfect for our concept, but it would be up to the club to have the final say.”
The company said it was set for talks with two more clubs today 'who love the OWNAFC concept'.
However, Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters' Federation had detailed their fears in a joint statement: "Despite their doubtless enthusiasm, we are concerned that the lack of meaningful engagement with the club’s existing supporters and a business model similar to that of MYFC means that a repeat of the ultimately failed takeover of Ebbsfleet United back in 2008 is likely."
Ebbsfleet were taken over by online platform MyFootballClub in 2008 but the project turned sour as interest waned. They sold the club in 2013 for what was said to be a modest sum.