Gareth Barry, the ex-Saddler and a wrangle over who owns Swindon Town
Albion midfielder Gareth Barry has been dragged into a legal dispute over who owns shares in Swindon Town Football Club.
Court documents released this week show Michael Standing – who is Barry’s long-term friend and adviser – has been entangled in a legal wrangle with Robins’ chairman Lee Power.
Former Walsall and Villa midfielder Standing claims he reached a verbal agreement with Power to jointly own the Wiltshire side in March 2013.
It was agreed Standing would invest £300,000 to buy out former shareholders and then put £500,000 into the club for working capital.
According to the legal documents, the two men came to a consensus Power would be the legal owner of all the shares in the firm Swinton Reds 20 Limited – the holding company of Swindon Town – but 50 per cent of the shares would be held on trust for Standing.
Power would then run the club day-to-day but with Standing involved in any major decisions, including any sale of the club.
Incredibly, Power does not deny there was another person involved in his acquisition of the Robins.
But he says that person is Barry – with the Swindon owner claiming he believed Standing was always acting on behalf of the former England midfielder.
Power says there was a meeting in March 2013 at Barry’s house which was attended by him and Standing.
And he claims at that meeting, he reached a verbal agreement with Barry that would see the ex-Villa midfield star invest £300,000 for shares and £500,000 for working capital.
Power says under the agreement, Barry would not own any shares in the club.
But he would be entitled to 50 per cent of the profits arising from any increase in the value of the club.
He would also be entitled to 50 per cent of the net profits arising from sales of certain players.
FA regulations state footballers are not allowed to own or have interests in football clubs.
In a witness statement, Barry categorically denied he was an investor in Swindon and said he did not agree to anything with Power.
The midfielder confirmed he did lend Standing some money he needed to fund the acquisition and for ongoing working capital contributions to the club.
But he said he did that because he and Standing are good friends – with the duo having both started their careers together at Brighton in the 1990s.
It is reported in the legal documents Standing has provided more than £6 million in loans to Swindon.
After repayments the current amount owed to him is over £3.7million.
Standing says he did not think it necessary to put the original agreement into writing as he had trust and confidence at the time in Power.
Power is currently trying to sell Swindon to an American consortium for £7.5million.