NOW UPDATED: The relationship between the Peterborough United owners has changed, but ‘it won’t affect the club,’ Bond issue latest and the rumour regarding the potential sale of the club

Classy co-owner Dr Jason Neale (right) in the stands at Bolton Wanderers last weekend with interim CEO Leighton Mitchell (foreground). Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

The regulations Posh allegedly breached relate to “the ratification of senior Football League appointees before they take office and whether or not there is a reason why the appointee should be disqualified for office.” .

According to Rule 2.5.1, a person wishing to become a “relevant person” at a football club must submit a completed declaration to the EFL.

In accordance with Rule 2.6, the person involved cannot be considered a “relevant person” until the club has received confirmation from the EFL that they are not subject to any disqualifying conditions.

Classy co-owners, left to right, Dr Jason Neale, Darragh MacAnthony and Stewart Thompson during the club’s pre-season training camp in Portugal. Photo Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Paton was known to have started working at Weston Homes Stadium long before it was officially unveiled for reasons that have never been disclosed. His absence from the club from May has also never been properly explained with the use of the words ‘leave’ used as recently as Tuesday when the PT briefly met co-owner Dr Jason Neale and the CEO by interim Leighton MItchell before the EFL Trophy clash with Spurs at London Road.

To be fair to Posh, they operated in a legal minefield, and to some extent they still are. The co-owners conducted the interviews with the CEO, but they were not individually charged by the EFL and there was never any discussion of the charges.

Both Mr Paton and Mr Mitchell were interviewed for the job of CEO, with the latter later being hired as COO after impressing in an interview.

Mr Mitchell spent 20 years working at Southampton FC, primarily in merchandise, licensing and trading, before working as a consultant in rugby and cricket before joining Posh. He will continue as CEO of Posh while Paton investigations continue, while longtime former CEO Bob Symns continues to assist as needed.

Mr Paton’s previous footballing experience was a brief stint at Blackpool during the period following the club’s exit from receivership in 2019.

Mr Paton oversaw a number of trade deals before the club was finally sold later that summer when he left Bloomfield Road.

The PT met Mr Mitchell and DR Neale before the EFL charge was presented to the club. They were limited in what they could say and there were time constraints, but they answered questions about the use of the £2.5million raised through a bond scheme and rumors of a falling out between the owners, Dr. Neale, chairman Darragh MacAnthony and Stewart Thompson. .

Now it seems that the relationship between the two Canadian businessmen, Mr. Thompson and Dr. Neale, has changed. Dr Neale is no longer involved with OKR (Old Kent Road) Financial, a company he founded with Mr Thompson which is believed to have helped arrange the financing to buy the current Posh Stadium from Peterborough City Council. The stadium and some adjoining land were purchased by London Road Peterborough Properties Ltd – a company owned by the three co-owners – in March 2021. Dr Neale remains involved with this company and insists that the changed circumstances at OKR do not will not affect the club.

Rumors had been circulating on the internet for weeks about a falling out between the three owners of the club, that they had stopped speaking to each other, that the club was for sale, that Dr Neale and Mr Thompson, co-workers since decades, had even stopped following each other on Twitter!

Chairman Darragh MacAnthony addressed the rumors in the latest edition of his ‘Hard Truth’ podcast, urging fans to ‘stop discussing things they know nothing about’ and referring to a still busy WhatsApp group between the owners. He knew nothing about the “fall” rumors until Mr. Thompson told him about it recently. Mr MacAnthony was unsure whether or not his co-owners had stopped following each other on Twitter. “You would have to ask them,” Mr MacAnthony said.

However, before the podcast aired, Dr Neale said: ‘There are no issues within the property. We are in constant contact. We remain accessible. There can be no more visible and accessible president in the country than Darragh. Me and Stewart interact with fans all the time on social media.

“The club is not for sale either.”

And today Dr Neale added: “I have resigned from the OKR to pursue other opportunities, but this will not affect the football club. We have to stay professional and the three owners continue to work together for the club.

The club’s Bond scheme has been a resounding success, reaching its £2.5m target in just eight days.

Initially, the aim was to raise £1.5million to help create a new ground sports bar and erect a safe standing area at the London Road End of the stadium.

That total was passed within six days by investors who pre-registered for the bond, and opening the offering to everyone soon netted another million.

The safe zone is now complete after an initial glitch, but the sports bar is unlikely to be seen this season. Mr Thompson recently issued a statement urging Peterborough City Council to resume talks over the new stadium after both sides were distracted by other business including the election and a Championship relegation battle.

Mr Paton, whose situation has had an effect on progress in many areas of the club, was keen for the sports bar to open to coincide with the first admission of students to the city’s new university this month . The bar would have replaced the current ‘venue’ used by fans before a game.

Mr Mitchell said: “There are issues with the proposed bar. We are dealing with a part of the stadium which is very old. There is a problem with absentees and if we started work now, our fans would have nowhere to meet before a match. It is unlikely to be open for this season.

“The vault was a difficult project, but we are happy with the end result. We were the first club in the country to convert a terrace into a vault. There was a problem starting up and the capacity went from 2,177 at 1,400, but it is at 1,900 now and will be at full capacity in the next week.

Dr Neale added: “The money raised by the Bond is allocated. We have not had the resources, in terms of staff and time, to do more than the safe standing area which was introduced at significant cost. We had to prioritize safety above the bar and stadium as there was a chance the terrace would have been closed for this season if the work had not been completed.

“We had to make a decision in February before knowing which league we would play in. We should have made the same decision every February.”

If Posh had avoided relegation from the Championship, they would not have been able to use the London Road terrace as second tier pitches must be all-seater. They had been granted a year’s grace to keep the terrace open last season due to complications caused by Covid.

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