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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Meanwhile at Swindon ...Bill Power & Mark Devlin

At Swindon news over the past two-three weeks re former QPR Chairman Bill Power and former QPR CEO, Mark Devlin:

This is Wiltshire, December 7- Bill Power talking a couple of Weeks Ago
SWINDON TOWN: BILL POWER'S near death experience came as no real surprise as he'd been having nightmares about a plane crash for weeks.
Speaking exclusively to the Swindon Advertiser, he reflects for the first time how plummeting from the sky changed his outlook on life and how the response of Swindon Town fans helped convince him that he couldn't turn his back on them or their football club.
Power sustained appalling injuries in the crash on August 5. Mark Devlin, son Stan and Mike Sullivan were also seriously hurt on the flight back from Town's opening day victory at Hartlepool, and although he is making progress, is still in significant pain and well short of firing on all cylinders.
The man who made his fortune in the satellite communications industry, admits he is lucky to be alive and fully expected the impact to be his final call.
He said: "I suppose I now know what it is like the second before you die. I had no doubt whatsoever that I was going to die.
"And in those few seconds before we hit the ground, time certainly seemed to slow down.
"But it wasn't that old thing about your life flashing before your eyes.
"The odd thing is that building up to the crash I'd been having dreams, really vivid nightmares, about dying in a plane crash. And in those seconds before impact, one of the things I thought was you idiot. You knew this was going to happen'.
"The second thoughts were just lovely ones about my family and how much I was going to miss them."
Thankfully, Power lived to tell the tale and has thanked Town fans for their part in helping along the road back to health.
He said: "You're lying there in a hospital bed, your darkest hour if you like, and I would say the vast majority of get well cards and get well messages I received were from Swindon Town fans.
"These were from people who didn't know me and I'd only really been involved with their football club for five minutes.
"I know it might sound a bit cheesy but it was genuinely heart-warming and I felt I didn't want to let them down or turn my back on them. There is a job to be done there.
"What the crash did was totally change my outlook. Things that irritated and upset me before, no longer do so.
"I also think I'm a nicer, more understanding person and certainly more laid back.
"Physically, it is going to be a long time before I'm anywhere near where I want to be but I want to do something and to be involved with something." This is Wiltshire

Two or three weeks ago, report of a Swindon meeting with Mark Devlin.

Devlin's future at STFC to be decided
The future of Swindon Town Chief Executive Mark Devlin could be decided today as he meets with the club for the first time since being involved in a plane crash.
Devlin has been away from the County Ground since the accident in August, but is apparently now fit enough to return.
His position at the club has been under a cloud though, after statements published by Swindon's owners - the Wills family, said it was difficult for them to have any confidence in him because of the way the club was being run. Devlin denies any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile the man behind a potential takeover of the club, Bill Power, says negotiations between the sides are continuing but the talks aren't going quickly.
He said: "They're not going as well as I'd hoped they would be going. It should be the simplest thing in the world to try and organise.
"The club needs to go forward and I believe we can take it forward with the fans."
Click below to listen to an interview with Bill Power by BBC Radio Swindon's Ed Hadwin.
Interview with Bill Power > This is Wiltshire

This is Wiltshire: December 6: Devlin set for crunch talks By Nick Mashiter
SWINDON Town chief executive Mark Devlin is set for crunch talks with the club on Friday as he looks to come back to work.
Devlin, 44, has been away from the County Ground after suffering injuries in a plane crash in August, but is now fit enough to return.
He said: "As far as I am concerned this meeting is to discuss my position and see if I can come back.
"I don't know what the club want to say to me but I just want to get back to work."
Since being away he has not been in contact with the County Ground board at all, despite the change of manager.
Paul Sturrock replaced Dennis Wise after the former manager's move to Leeds United and Martyn Starnes has been acting chief executive in his place.
Devlin, who re-joined the club last season, said: "I haven't been in contact with them since the accident because they told me not to. I only spoke to them last week to confirm I was ready to return. I am thinking about nothing else after Friday because it would be pointless.
"There has been a lot going on while I have been away which has certainly made interesting reading.
"It has been frustrating being away and recovering but people have been reminding me I am lucky to survive a plane crash at all." Swindon

Swindon's Board & Staff Staff Page

We have read with interest Bill Power's article in yesterday's Swindon Advertiser and we have heard his comments on BBC Radio Swindon this morning. Contrary to the impression that may have been given, the Wills family have not received any offer for the Club from Bill and his colleagues. Sir Seton has written to Phil Emmel requesting a detailed proposal but so far there has been no response. We have recently received approaches from two further groups of potential investors and should Bill decide to make a firm offer for the Club, it will be considered on its merits, alongside the other bids which are at a more advanced stage. We are disappointed that, unlike the other interested parties, Bill has chosen to express his interest through the media when he already has a substantial stake in the Club and could have discussed his thoughts with Sir Seton at anytime. Dealing with these matters in the public eye is distracting and potentially damaging to the well being of the Club. It should be recognised that the Club has received interest from various investment groups over the years but none of these have developed into firm acceptable bids that the Wills family have regarded as being in the best interests of the Club. The current Board will therefore not relax but continue to develop and deliver its 5-year plan, which already incorporates Bill Power's philosophies of teamwork and inclusivity.
The objective is to bring Championship football and financial stability to The County Ground within the life of the plan. An excellent relationship has already been established between the Board and the first team manager, Paul Sturrock, with everyone involved at the Club absolutely determined to work together and deliver success on and off the field.
The Club is also able to announce the following appointments:
Mike Bowden, a former Director at NPower is to join the Board with immediate effect. He will have special responsibility for the new stadium development and associated commercial relationships. He will also undertake the role of Joint Chairman Designate.
Boyd Butler, former Sales and Marketing Manager at Reading Football Club for over 8 years is to work at The County Ground on a consultancy basis with the brief to improve off field revenues.
Bob Holt has rejoined the Board to contribute his wealth of media and general management experience to the planned progression of the Club.
Current Chairman Willie Carson said: "These appointments represent powerful additions to the management team and underline the Board's determination to take the Club forward in a positive manner." Swindon

SWINDON Statement December ww
For some considerable time there has been speculation regarding a potential bid for the club by an unnamed consortium.
Having had initial contact through Michael Wilks, at the end of November the Club invited the consortium to make contact with its lawyer, Trevor Watkins of Clarke Willmott who works extensively within sport and as Chairman of AFC Bournemouth has previously dealt with similar situations. Nothing further was heard from Mr Wilks until late on Tuesday 19th December.
The much-anticipated bid, however, was limited to a short eight paragraph letter. It contained no figures nor the offer of funding for the Club. The document did no more than to suggest that the unnamed consortium had a "genuine" interest in taking over the Club. The consortium would apparently, if they were to make a bid, consider a number of outcomes, none of which involve any commitment to invest in the Club, payment for shares nor any explanation of the consortium's plans to take the Club forward. They did, however, propose that amongst the benefits offered would potentially be the renaming of the Stratton Bank in honour of the Wills family and repayment of capital and loans "upon completion of the redevelopment of the County Ground?.such sums to be repaid from retained profits after deductions for tax and [unspecified] expenses".
Having been asked to provide further detail the consortium have not named those behind the approach save to explain that Mr Wilks and Bill Power are their appointed representatives.
Whilst welcoming any assistance that can take the Club forward, this speculative and general approach does not offer any meaningful detail to enable the Club to properly determine what merit there is in taking discussions further. The Club have been advised that unless and until a substantive proposal is forthcoming it should concentrate on the key issues of securing promotion to League One, an enhanced stadium and long term financial sustainability. This has been communicated to the representative of the consortium.
Sir Seton Wills has expressed his desire that, until such time as the details requested above are forthcoming, the unwarranted and needless speculation that has caused him and his family so much unnecessary aggravation over the last four to six weeks now subsides and everyone now focuses on the achievements of the team this season so far - 13 wins, 43 points, 2nd in the league, and still in the FA Cup. Sir Seton is looking forward to the rest of the season with great hope and anticipation, and wishes Paul Sturrock, his Management team, the Players and most importantly the loyal Supporters of Swindon Town a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.
Following discussions between Michael Wilks and Clark Wilmot this morning, it has been requested on behalf of the Club, and agreed by Michael Wilks, that no further comments from either party will be made until the further information requeste
SWINDON RIVALS Who do we believe? Power or the board?
By Dave Hanley Date: 9/12/2006
Bill Power is supposed to be putting together a bid to buy into Swindon Town FC as a backer to the fans' consortium, but the Wills family don't appear to have received any official correspondence regarding this. All they know is what they've heard on the radio and read in the paper.
So what is going on at the County Ground? The local paper and radio station is saying one thing and the football club appear to be saying another.
We were led to believe by the local media that Bill Power had requested a meeting with the interested parties at the club, and that he was waiting for them to respond to his request to thrash out a deal that would see him returning to the County Ground. Now the official web site has issued a statement that looks like it might be from one of the Wills family, denying that Power has made an offer for the club.
So it looks like the club has put the shutters up and are more interested in speaking to other potential investors. Is it because Bill Power wants to involve the fans in his plan?
The club have said that there was no rift between them and Power, and Power himself has indicated that he does not wish to get involved in a slanging match. But it looks like the mud slinging has already started and the club are determined to put a stop to any thoughts of a Power/fans consortium bid. They say that they have two other interested parties who are ready to buy into the club, and that negotiations are further advanced than with Power. We the fans eagerly await them being made public.
Power has said on the radio that he was overwhelmed by the cards and get well messages from Town fans after he had his terrifying plane accident, and that he now feels well enough, and ready, to get involved with the football club again.
Power's business partner, Phil Emmell, has been in negotiations with Mike Diamandis - who seems to be the negotiator for the Wills family - but those negotiations have not got very far. It is no secret that Bill Power is not in 100% agreement with some of the ideas that Mike Diamandis has, and this could be why negotiations have stalled....
There is also the Mark Devlin issue to be concluded. Chief Executive, Devlin, is said to be fit enough to return to his job now after also being involved in the unfortunate plane crash, and was due to discuss his future involvement with the club at the County Ground on Friday. Devlin has been accused of breaching his authority at the club by James Wills on the official website back in October, where he was said to have completed contracts without approval, and been responsible for a possible overspend of £250,000 in bonus payments if the club continued to push for promotion. Whether Devlin has a future at the Club after supposedly being negligent in his duties remains to be seen.
There's never a dull moment at the County Ground, on or off the pitch. Swindon Rivals

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