Football: Forest in disarray as Hill departs

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Nottingham Forest can expect a backlash from fans at Saturday's home match with Chelsea after the rejection of a takeover bid left the cash- starved Premiership club in turmoil.

As disillusioned supporters accused shareholders of putting personal gain before the club's interests, the renewed uncertainty led yesterday to the resignation of Forest's general manager, Alan Hill, who is to rejoin his former boss, Frank Clark, as assistant manager at Manchester City.

One of 111 shareholders who voted to accept a takeover offer from Sandy Anderson at Monday's extraordinary general meeting, Hill reached his decision after the Anderson consortium failed by 31 votes to secure the 75 per cent majority needed for their bid to succeed.

The verdict will leave the relegation-threatened club without transfer funds for another month and the 79 shareholders whose votes blocked Anderson's plans had to run the gauntlet of angry supporters as they left the meeting. They can brace themselves for a further reaction on Saturday from fans who suspect them of seeking more money for their pounds 1 shares.

Alternative bids offer an immediate cash-in value of up to pounds 24,000 per share. Anderson, whose proposal offered no instant windfall, accused shareholders of "wanting money we felt should go into the club to go in their pockets instead".

But Peter Blackbourn, who has emerged as a spokesman for the "no" group, last night denied the charge: "That was not the motive. What we want is the best possible deal for the club and for the shareholders to retain a major say in the running of the club. We did not feel the terms of Anderson's bid offered this. We also felt the pounds 13m his group proposed to pay was a steal when we believe a flotation could value the club at pounds 60m."

The favourite to win control now is a consortium organised by the former Tottenham chairman, Irving Scholar, and a Nottingham author, Phil Soar, which has the financial support of the owner of Saracens rugby club, Nigel Wray.

Hill, meanwhile, said that dissatisfaction with his new role - he had been assistant manager under Clark - and failure to gain assurances over his future were factors in his decision to leave. "General manager sounded to me like a title given to somebody awaiting the sack and I don't think I deserved that indignity," he said.

Hill said yesterday he had formed the impression Pearce did not want him - but Pearce reacted with surprise to this. "I did not think I had given that impression. To lose Alan is a real blow," he said. Nigel Clough, currently on loan at Forest from Manchester City, is now in line to assist Pearce.

Comments