Login Register

Give Guterman a chance

The news that ex-Chester City owner Mark Guterman is in talks to buy out

The news that ex-Chester City owner Mark Guterman is in talks to buy out Pryce Griffiths' 78 per cent majority shareholding in Wrexham FC raises a number of interesting issues.

First, there is the question of timing. Off the field, it's no secret that the club is in a perilous financial state, while on the field, it appears that the dreaded drop is now almost inevitable.

No-one could claim WFC is a thriving concern at present, but maybe that is precisely the appeal for property developer Guterman. If a deal does go through in the aftermath of relegation, he may be able to make his purchase at a special knock-down price.

Second, I can quite understand that Griffiths wants out. He said recently: "I want to relieve the day-to-day pressure involved in running a football club. Twenty years ago I could have coped with it, but now I would prefer to come and watch the matches without having all the worry that goes with being chairman."

To be honest, if I was approaching old age, recuperating from illness, and in charge of a cash-strapped, relegation-haunted soccer club, I'm pretty sure that I would want to exit quietly and quickly as well.

I think all fans respect the contribution that Griffiths has made to the club over recent years; but many would also argue that the time is now ripe for change. A more modern, dynamic and hands-on approach is needed - and Guterman, with significant business experience, might be the man.

Third, Guterman will have to overcome a mass of prejudice if he is to make a go of it at the Racecourse. As ex-Wrexham director Geoff Farrell knows only too well, some Dragons fans can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to high-profile individuals with Chester connections in their immediate past.

Guterman had a mixed record at the Deva Stadium, but the bottom line is simple. Football fans are fickle: if he buys the club and brings success, his Chester links will swiftly be forgotten; if he fails he will have a very hard time winning over supporters.

Interestingly, the speculation is that the prospective buyer already has pretty concrete ideas about who he'd like to work alongside at the Racecourse: namely, a chief executive and manager of his choice (with Kevin Ratcliffe - a friend from Guterman's Deva days - a definite candidate).

Finally, it is interesting that the Griffiths-Guterman negotiations have been taking place at exactly the same time as the fund-raising WINS Group, along with many other supporters, have been chewing over the idea of pushing for a fan on the board. These are fluid times at the Racecourse, and with the drop looming, the club has got to sort itself out in quick time.

One Dragons supporter has already described Guterman's possible arrival as the "nightmare scenario". I disagree. At this point in time, I think we should be extremely grateful for any new blood and new finance the club can attract.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details