Fears grow over Plymouth Argyle bid

Plymouth Argyle fansThere's still no sign of the deal to take over stricken Plymouth Argyle being completed, 124 days after Bishop International Ltd was named preferred bidder. Kevin Heaney, the public face of BIL, insists the deal is still on. But administrators have begun talking to rival bidders.
Worries about whether BIL will ever come though grew early this week after three companies owned by Heaney were ordered to pay £10,000 in unpaid fees to legal firm Foot Anstey. Heaney said he knew nothing about the judgments against the firms he runs.

One of those companies was non-league Truro City FC, which Heaney bought on 2004. One fan speculated in the comments on the story we ran last week that Heaney wanted Argyle to fold because he sees it as an obstacle to Truro's development.

Cornish properties

The other firms involved in the costs hearing were Cornish Properties Ltd and Cornish Homes (Developments) Ltd. Heaney's wealth was estimated at £154m in the 2007 Sunday Times Rich list said: "I've got about 40 companies and I'm owed money. The trouble I've got at the moment is that because I'm connected to Plymouth Argyle Football Club I'm an easy target."

He says he's done everything the administrators asked and is now waiting for the Football League to give it the go-ahead. But with the administrators and Argyle chairman Peter Ridsdale now in talks with rival bidders, there must be serious doubt over a BIL bid that was "categorically confirmed" on 16 August.

BIL is a secretive offshore outfit which has the same nominee directors as a number of other Plymouth-related firms formed by Heaney. It's bid involves clearing the club's debts in exchange for its land assets, leaving the club to be run by Ridsdale, who would buy it for a nominal fee.

Club and ground

That separation of club and ground, and Heaney's background as a property developer, is hardly filling fans of the Pilgrims with confidence. And that's without considering his involvement with another club. Heaney also lent £1.4m to Truro City in 2009, a year after his company Cornish Homes (UK) Ltd was liquidated with debts of £4.8m.

The threatened players strike last Saturday was averted after they received 40% of their wages, but players and staff are still owed up to nine months' wages. With all the uncertainty surrounding the club, it is nailed firmly to the bottom of the Football League.

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