STEPHEN Vaughan last night pulled the plug on John Batchelor’s controversial takeover plans for Chester City.
Maverick businessman Batchelor held talks with Blues owner Vaughan on Tuesday and had the funds in place to purchase the club for a figure believed to be in the region of £2m.
But the major stumbling block for Vaughan was over Batchelor’s radical plans to completely re-brand the League Two outfit – changing their name and focusing on attracting big-money sponsors rather than bringing fans through the turnstiles.
Vaughan yesterday revealed he did not want Chester to fall into the hands of Batchelor, who this week admitted in a frank interview with The Chronicle that he did not “give a monkey’s” about toying with City’s history and heritage.
Vaughan said: “Under no circumstances will I be selling Chester City to John Batchelor.
“I have more chance of taking over at Liverpool than he has of taking over here.
“I have no doubt that he’s got the money, but he is not right for this football club. There were too many issues involved in the deal that I wasn’t happy with.”
Vaughan – City’s majority shareholder since 2001 – still intends to sell up. He held talks with an unnamed party of potential buyers yesterday morning. Property advisors First Asset Management and Worldwide Sports, a German firm who represent American backers, are also still in the frame.
Vaughan attended a meeting of Chester fans at the Deva Showbar on City Road on Wednesday and a second gathering is planned for the new year.
Batchelor, meanwhile, insists he has not given up on taking over the Blues.
He said: “I will buy that club and Stephen will sell it to me.
“I will explain to him why the future of football is in need of change. Chester City FC could define how clubs are run for the next 100 years.
“He has wasted a massive opportunity. I will not give in.”
Sheffield-born Batchelor, 49, is a former stand-up comedian and racing driver/team owner who acquired York City for just £1 in 2002. The club was plunged into administration less than a year after he took over.
The married father-of-four, who now lives in Cheshire, turned to “fixing” companies in financial distress after his racing career was ended by a neck injury he suffered in a crash at Oulton Park in 2002.
He ran for parliament as an independent candidate for Blackburn in 1997 and Tatton in 2001.