Rochdale News | Sports News | Rochdale AFC becomes 100% fan-owned as ‘hostile takeover’ lawsuit settled and Morton House agrees to transfer shares



Date published: August 26, 2022


A High Court complaint between Morton House MGT and First Form Construction Limited, and Rochdale AFC and its board has been settled, with the best possible outcome for the club and its fans.

Subject to formalities, proceedings will be dismissed and no further legal action will be taken against individuals or against Dale Supporters Trust.

Additionally, Morton House has agreed to transfer its entire beneficial interest of 212,895 shares to a consortium of seven people, all of whom are current members of the club’s board, for an undisclosed sum.

The club claim that the transfer of these shares has received the required level of EFL approval and that the seven members of the consortium have already cleared the OADT before their appointment to the board.

Following this transaction:

  • 43.3% of the shares are held by the current board of directors, made up of eight statutory directors and three non-executive directors;
  • The Dale Supporters Trust continue to hold 13.9% and are the club’s largest individual shareholder;
  • The remaining 42.8% of shares are held by more than 500 different individual shareholder supporters of the club.
  • The club continue to cooperate fully with the EFL following charges of alleged breaches of EFL regulations, which were brought on 16 March 2022 against the club and a number of others. The club will provide a further update if necessary.
Simon Gauge, Chairman of Rochdale AFC
Simon Gauge, Chairman of Rochdale AFC

Simon Gauge, Chairman of Rochdale AFC, said: “Having paid off a mortgage and securing the stadium’s long-term future in June 2022, my Board and I are pleased to have completed just eight weeks later the transfer of the entire beneficial ownership. of Morton House to a consortium of sitting administrators, with the permission of the EFL and which will terminate all legal proceedings.

“While an unwanted public hostile takeover attempt was unprecedented in our club’s history, the consortium of serving directors stepped in and prevented a hostile takeover and then created a truly owned club. and driven by fans.

“Operating on a national platform and as a local employer of over 130 people, while owning the largest sports venue in the Borough of Rochdale which hosts community events every day of the year, the work hard work is now really starting to bring this club back up. Soccer League.

“We have 41 league games left and everyone must give their full support to every single one of our players and club staff who are all 100 per cent committed to delivering the best they can for our club, our team and our city. .

“While early results and performance have fallen short of the potential we know this team of talented players is capable of, I urge every individual, family and business to come and see the investment we are making in the facilities and bring the community behind the club which generates over £2million in wider economic value for the city each season as an EFL member club, starting this weekend at home to Crawley Town (kick-off 15 hours).

“Following the events of June 1, 2021 where shareholders removed two directors from the club’s board, it was clear and evident to all other shareholders and supporters during the summer of 2021 that the extent, depth and personal integrity of shareholders made any forced sale via a hidden and unwanted hostile takeover a practical impossibility.

“With over 500 shareholders, the largest of which is the Dale Supporters Trust, we have now delivered the first EFL club in the North of England which is fan owned and run and we can now focus on rebuilding the club. that he delivers on the pitch after this completely unwanted and unnecessary distraction over the past fourteen months.

“I would like to personally thank everyone who has worked tirelessly since June 2021 to maintain our independence, to those on my board who have taken far more than they ever signed, George Delves, all of our staff at club and Dean Hulse and David Yazdi of HY Solicitors, the club’s legal partner.

“But my biggest thanks go to our fans. There has been no personal gain from any of these boards who all work for free and who have devoted their time and financial resources to protecting the independence of the club. for the benefit of the city. To everyone who has donated a penny to support us, I say thank you and you have our promise that we will continue to do everything we can off the pitch to give the club the best possible chance of success.

The club’s statement also confirmed that the legal action taken by the club against a former manager, as stated in the latest filed statutory accounts, is ongoing, and further comments will be provided in due course.

Ruth J. Leeds