THE Daily Post has revealed that Bangor City's new owners have set their sights on buying the club's stadium and that some supporters have raised fears over the controversial board's intentions.
The Citizens were taken over by a Cheshire-based consortium in June, with the promise of investment to take them to the top of the Welsh Premier. City left Farrar Road in 2012 and moved to their new ground at Nantporth, which is owned by Bangor City Council and leased to the club through a community interest company called Nantporth CIC.
The Post says that the company has not been approached over any potential deal for the stadium, but the minutes of a meeting of the Bangor City Supporters Association record the club's commercial director, Jay Lees, as saying "We are in negotiations over this matter because we'd like to control everything. It would make more sense from a financial point of view as we would be able to generate more income."
The club's director of football, Stephen Vaughan Jnr, is the son of businessman Stephen Vaughan Snr, who is unable to run a limited company because of a £500,000 fraud that took place while he was a director of Widnes Vikings Rugby League Club.
City have denied that Vaughan Snr, a former owner of Chester City FC, has any links to the club other than shirt sponsorship via Vaughan Sports Management. Mr Lees told the Daily Post: "We couldn’t be more clear that Stephen Vaughan Snr's involvement is only as the main sponsor. He has no say in the day-to-day running of the club. He was present at the press conference when the new board took over and we've been honest from the start.
"As regards the stadium, it is fair to say there's interest on our part but that's a long-term plan and certainly not something we envisage could happen this year or even next. The plan is to regularly qualify for Europe, which brings its own revenue, and the club owning the stadium rather than renting would put it on a sounder financial footing."
But Bangor City supporter and Gwynedd councillor Dylan Fernley, who was present at the supporters' meeting last week, told the Post that he had "great reservations" if the new board were to take over the ground. "Although things are going well on the pitch, fans still have lingering doubts," he said. "You only have to look at what happened to Chester City and Widnes.
"The ground being in the ownership of the city council means there's that safety buffer, but I'd be greatly concerned if the situation changed. Theoretically, they could take out loans against the stadium – that would worry me."
Steven Vaughan Snr has previously been involved with Barrow where there was a lengthy dispute over the ownership of Holker Street. Eventually, it was ruled that the club legally owned the ground and was allowed to sell the asset to pay off a first charge on the stadium to a finance company. Chester ran into financial problems during his tenure and eventually went into voluntary administration.