Here you go the whole post ......
Firstly can I introduce myself as Dave Swanton the Head of Media,PR and Supporter Liaison at Sale Sharks. I have been in post under Brian Kennedy since July 2000.
There have been one or two mischievous posts flying about labelling Brian Kennedy as an asset stripper, so I would like to discredit such with some clear documented facts
That will clarify Brianís history in his dealings with Stockport County.
When I joined Brian from Warrington Rugby League Club, Sale Sharks were losing £4m a season and were effectively bust. They had a fan base of 1200 people and the club had never won a major honour in a history dating back to 1861. Within two years the club finished runners up in the Premiership and won the European Challenge Cup. To help achieve this Brian invested his own money into the club and signed Jason Robinson and former Scotland Captain Bryan Redpath. The tiny ground at Heywood Road only had a capacity of 5500 and soon the house full signs were being posted every game and Heywood Road was clearly not big enough as a venue for the Sharks to reach their goals and become a successful, standalone club that needed regular cash injections from Brian.
In 2003 an opportunity arose where current Stockport County owner Brendan Ellwood wanted out after running County for 15 years. County had like many clubs been floored by the collapse of ITV Digital and had been relegated with players on Championship wages playing in front of crowds no more than 4500. Brian bought the stadium from Stockport County at fair value, and the proceeds were used by the club to repay the debt to the previous owner and finance running costs, leaving County debt free. Sale moved into Edgeley Park to ground share. Within three months of moving to Edgeley Park, Sale Sharks had their first full house of 10,500 with the visit of Cardiff in the Heineken Cup and Sammy McIlroy stabilised the football team and the club finished half way in league.
During the close season Sale Sharks brought in a new Director of Rugby, Philippe Saint Andre, who is now the current French Coach and invested in the team signing amongst other Sebastien Chabal, Trevor Woodman and Scottish International Jason White. The football team was also boosted by the signings of several players and boasted the second biggest playing budget in the division behind Bristol City as Brian Kennedy wanted both clubs to succeed.
The rugby team had a great success but sadly joint ownership of two clubs in the same stadium side by side was not working and Brian approached the Stockport County Supporters Trust to take over running the club. A Deal was struck and not only did Brian hand the club over debt free on July 8th 2005.The Trust also had an option to buy the Stadium back at the same cost Mr Kennedy had purchased it.
Mr Kennedy has had no ownership of Stockport County since this date. He did however remain as their biggest sponsors donating £750,000 from the Conference and Banqueting part of the operation in a six year deal.
Sale Sharks won the Championship in 2006 and in 2008 Stockport County under the Trust Ownership won promotion to League One in a Play Off Final at Wembley.
Sadly the following year things went wrong at County and they were put into Administration by a creditor and were relegated. Brian Kennedy had invested almost £4million (in addition to the amount invested to buy the stadium)when the club went under but never pressed for payment and indeed it was Brianís vote at the Creditorís Meeting that allowed County to carry on trading.
Also it must be noted that in the last game of the season against Crewe Alexandra Brian paid the police bill to allow the game to go ahead.
A new group of investors took over the running of the football club but relegation occurred again, with County losing their league status. To assist with the transition Brian gave the football club a £75,000 gift to help them through the first few months of 2012 after the club had been beaten in the FA Cup and FA Trophy.
The future would appear that Sale Sharks will be moving to share with Salford City Reds Rugby League Club at a purpose built rugby stadium in Barton and Edgeley Park will revert back to being solely a football ground. Stockport County will pay below market rent but will have all the opportunities to raise money through sponsorship at the ground and retain all income from the Conference and Banqueting Facility seven days a week and Brianís representatives are also scheduled to discuss sponsorship opportunities with the club. This will completely alleviate the Countyís fans biggest gripe, that they cannot retain all income from Stadium revenue. They will now retain 100% of such for the benefit of Stockport County.
In all Brian Kennedy bought Stockport County when they were bust and despite vicious criticism from a vocal minority, has been a constant benefactor to them for nine years.He is the biggest sole investor the football club has ever had. He has invested many millions in sport in the North West of England, which has been his home for over 20 years and with Newcastle Falcons looking like being relegated Sale Sharks will be the sole Premiership Rugby Union Club in the North of England and more importantly are fast approaching a break even position.
I trust this brings clarity to some of the mischievous postings and rest assured Sale Sharks has one of the most transparent Media Operations in sport and where confidentiality allows, have absolute clarity with its fans.
You may also be interested in Brianís own website www.brian-kennedy.co.uk where you can read for yourself all about him, his businesses, his interests and his Charity Work.
May I take this opportunity to wish the great club of Glasgow Rangers rapid exit from administration and another 140 years and more of outstanding class on and off the park.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 28/03/2012 18:59 by SwannyMediaMan.