The owner of a local construction company who says he had “ambitious plans” for Newtongrange Star has withdrawn his offer to buy the club.
Terry Healy, a Newtongrange Star fan and a managing director of his construction firm, held talks with the club over the past two months and made an informal offer to buy the East of Scotland outfit.
Mr Healy said he wanted to bring in “football men” and he would run the business side, clearing the club’s debt and investing in its football academy.
However, talks have broke down and Mr Healy has since withdrawn his takeover bid after feeling some of the committee members opposed his plans.
He told the Advertiser: “My company does a lot of community things and I have sponsored the amateur side for the last 10 years, but on this occasion I think the two or three people who are making the decisions made it clear they do not want me involved.
“I wanted to bring in football guys and I could run the business side. All the money I’d be putting in would be reinvested in the club. I heard the club were struggling and I felt it was the right time for a clean break. You need leadership and a move away from the committee set up.
“I can understand their reluctance – they have put their lives into the Star but I am just as a passionate about the club as they are. I definitely see it as a missed opportunity but I’m not against the club.”
The Star’s president Joe Wilson said the committee wanted Mr Healy to attend a meeting and discuss his plans in more detail but he had not taken up that offer.
He said: “The club is 128 years old so for the committee – made up of volunteers – to sell the club to one individual, the deal had to be right for the club going forward.
“We didn’t know the structure going forward and the committee did not feel they had all the information they needed to make an informed decision.
“We wanted to meet Terry and offered dates for meetings but they have not taken place.
“In order for a sale to go through in line with the club’s constitution, we would to take the deal to an EGM and let the members make a final decision.
“It is unfortunate. Football clubs, sports clubs in Midlothian and East Lothian are finding it tough and we are no different.
“The debt is manageable and we are not in dire straits, which has been painted in some quarters. The committee are of a similar mind. They appreciate that the club does need investment going forward to raise the profile of the club to take it to the next level. The offer from Terry would have helped us.
“I think Terry was unhappy with the speed at which things were going but we are all volunteers and he is a businessman.
“He wants a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when he makes an offer but we have to be diligent.”
Asked if talks could be reopened, Mr Healy said: “If they need me going forward they can approach me, but I don’t want to get into a big fight with everybody.”
Mr Wilson added: “That is up to Terry. We did not turn him down, he withdrew his offer.
“If Terry wants to come back to speak to us, we’ll speak to him.”