FC Halifax Town bosses and fans have expressed their disappointment at Calderdale Council’s handling of the ongoing sale of The Shay stadium.
The Courier last week revealed Elland firm Reactiv Media’s bid for The Shay and owner Tony Abbott’s vision for the future of the stadium if the bid is successful.
Now FC Halifax Town chairman David Bosomworth has spoken to the Courier and revealed the club had only been informed of the proposed sale at a meeting with councillors two weeks ago despite ongoing discussions with the council and Reactiv starting around 18 months ago.
The council has also confirmed that it is yet to decide how the decision will eventually be made. Although “all elected members” will have the opportunity to have their say although they couldn’t confirm if that will be at a full council meeting.
Mr Bosomworth said: “What we want is just some clarity. We have asked for an explanation from the council whether the ground is actually up for sale and secondly we would like a pack that would give us an insight into the proposals and what the process is with regards to the bid going forward.
“Surely six people in Cabinet can’t make the decision to sell one of the most iconic buildings in Calderdale.
“Before selling, or at least putting the ground up for sale the council has to decide how is it going to be done for the benefit of taxpayers.
“We feel we have tried to approach the council in a professional manner and been good tenants but I feel we have been left in the dark.”
Town fans expressed their upset over the proposed private ownership at the game against Grimsby Town on Tuesday night and the Halifax Town Supporters’ Trust set up a Q&A session at The Shay to get answers from Mr Bosomworth about the sale. He told them that he still thinks council ownership is the best option for the stadium.
Chairman of the Halifax Town Supporters’ Trust Kit Walton said: “Even at this time the council will not tell the club if the ground is for sale.
“We heard at the meeting that the bid is around £1.9 million and sales under £2 million can be done without ratification from the full council.”
Mr Bosomworth said: “We asked the council about a valuation of the ground but they said it was difficult to put a price on it when there are two sitting tenants,” said Mr Bosomworth
“Surely, if the council do need to sell, then you go to the open market and find the best price you can. There may be other bidders out there waiting to get in.”
Leader of Calderdale Council Tim Swift said: “In August we received an offer to purchase the Shay and I would like to stress that the council has not put the stadium on the open market.
“We are carefully considering the offer and whether it represents a good way to secure future investment in the stadium. Our priority is to guarantee the Shay’s community status and to ensure that any offer will guarantee the continued use of the stadium by both professional clubs. We are working closely with both clubs to keep them fully informed.”
However the council could not confirm if the final decision on the sale would be made by cabinet or full council.
Councillor Swift said: “It will be discussed at cabinet and the exact process for involving all elected members has yet to be determined.
“Before a decision is reached it will be discussed by all elected members, who will have the opportunity to have their say.
“It’s vital for fans of both clubs, and for Halifax, that the stadium continues to thrive.”