WREXHAM owner Alex Hamilton last night accused ex-Dragons chairman Mark Guterman (pictured right) of standing between him and a deal to sell the club.
With Surrey businessman Andy Smith waiting in the wings to buy the beleaguered club,
Hamilton's claims drew an immediate rebuttal from Guterman's lawyer, but a long-running dispute between the two former business partners has almost certainly scuppered any prospect of a takeover deal being agreed before the end of this week.
The two men fell out earlier this year when Guterman was replaced by Hamilton as chairman of the League One club. But following a disagreement about their respective financial interests in the business a High Court injunction was obtained by Guterman that froze all Hamilton's assets in relation to Wrexham.
Last night Hamilton, left, said: "Guterman is holding up the deal. His injunction means I don't have the freedom I need to conduct the negotiations. Although both parties have agreed to put a sum of money into court to satisfy the future resolution of our dispute, he is still trying to drive a coach and horses through my proposed deal with Mr Smith.
"He wants to know the ins-andouts of my negotiations and I cannot finalise terms with him in my hair.
"He won't give us unfettered consent to conclude a deal, which if agreed this week, would probably be signed and sealed by the end of March once all the necessary legal details have been ironed out."
Guterman declined to comment but his lawyer, Paul Thomas, responded: "We are aware Mr Hamilton is in negotiations and we are talking to his lawyers about the circumstances in which we would be prepared to release the injunction. There is no question at all of us preventing Mr Hamilton from conducting those negotiations."
Notwithstanding his legal dispute with Hamilton, Guterman has himself put together a consortium in a bid to buy the club and the Racecourse Ground, but his approaches have consistently been rejected.
And Hamilton said: "Guterman is still saying I have to give consideration to his bid, which is materially lower than the bid from Mr Smith.
"Without his consent I will have to go back to court to seek permission to lift the injunction and, while I would like to do that tomorrow and ask a judge to hear it as an emergency, I've been advised that is not likely to be viewed favourably.
"Therefore I will have to go to court in the new year and I feel sorry for Mr Smith, who wants to conclude the deal this week. If he decides not to wait around, Guterman will have some serious questions to answer."
The situation is further complicated by the fact that Hamilton is going on holiday at the end of this week and will not be home until mid-January.
In the past his Cheshire home has been picketed by Wrexham fans who on one occasion dumped cardboard boxes at the entrance to his drive.
"While I am away, a family relative is moving in to keep an eye on the place and there will be security patrols at night," he said.. E En ng gl la an nddm ma ak ke e h hi is st to or ry y -