A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece at Soccerlens about John Batchelor's proposed takeover of Mansfield Town, and his possible changing of the name to Harchester United. Oh God, was roughly the thought I had when I was researching the piece.
Now the excellent David Conn has picked up on this in the Guardian:
"Batchelor's business record, available for scrutiny via Companies House, will not reassure any Mansfield fan that he has greatly changed. Of 24 companies of which he has been a director, 14 have been or are about to be struck off the companies register, six have been insolvent, three are still going but he is no longer involved - he says he sold them on successfully - and only one small company in which he is a director is active.
One company Batchelor took over - although he did not become a director; his partner, Cheryl Hopkins, did - was Moornate Chemists in Nelson, near Burnley, a steady, solvent, family business selling cleaning products. Within three months, last July, Moornate was insolvent and in administration, after effectively being merged with another company he took over, Besglos, which was also in administration the following month.
David Brown, Moornate's former owner, says Batchelor promised to pay him £485,000 for the business, in instalments, and did pay him £70,000 up front. However, he has been left devastated, without the business he built up over 30 years, and still owed £415,000 of the price agreed. Batchelor, however, has said he bought and sold Moornate's factory, making £75,000 for himself.
"He ruins people's lives and walks away with money," Brown says. Several former staff of Besglos, and their families, are still struggling to recover, having moved to work for Batchelor on the promise of handsome salaries, then been left unpaid and lost their jobs.
Brown recalls that in one meeting Batchelor told him: "This is what I do for a living: I fuck companies.""
This man shouldn't be in charge of an electric toothbrush, let alone a football club.