Inside track of aborted Spanish bid for Wigan Athletic

Jose Miguel Garrido CristoJose Miguel Garrido Cristo
Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo
Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo has lifted the lid on the collapse of the Spanish bid for Wigan Athletic – insisting the cards were stacked against them from the start.

The Spanish had been in pole position since having their offer accepted by the administrators way back on September 30.

But the bid hit a brick wall in trying to gain approval from the EFL, who last month announced they were ‘not in a position to agree to an application to transfer membership in the EFL to the proposed purchasers’ following ‘significant due diligence on the relevant parties.

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That led to Garrido, his brother, his brother’s company and an accountant stepping back from the process, leaving Leganes owner Felipe Moreno as the last man standing.

Despite a distinguished record of club ownership in Spain, even Moreno failed to get a green light, causing the bid to fall through earlier this month.

Leaving Garrido Cristo – who had been the UK-based spokesman for the group throughout – to reflect on what might have been.

“I am not surprised at all by what happened - not at all,” he told Wigan Today.

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“After taking them how long...more than three months...the EFL have got what they want in the end.

“The whole thing just didn’t make sense at all.

“We put in our offer on September 30, and it took them two months to tell me that I myself didn’t comply with the EFL regulations regarding the Owners and Directors Test.

"It took two months...when they knew of me from day one. Surely that’s a very easy process – yes or no.

“It could have been done inside one week, but that’s not even the main issue.

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“I wasn’t even part of the bid. Despite this, they also disqualified my brother, and the company that my brother represents!

“So not only do they disqualify me, for some reason despite not even being part of the bid, they disqualify my brother for being my brother, and my brother’s company – which already owns football clubs in Spain – for being a company owned by my brother.

“Obviously they never came out and said this, just that ‘some of the people in the bid’ had been disqualified.

“So Felipe goes in on his own, he is still not getting approval, and it comes to a point where enough is enough. He just walked away, because this cannot go on forever.

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“This would have got through to the end of January, the transfer market would have closed, and that changes things again.”

The lack of movement with the Spanish bid led to conspiracy theories involving rival groups in the background who may have been seen as more ‘suitable’ owners by the stakeholders.

“I don’t really know if they have someone else in mind,” said Garrido Cristo.

“But going by what’s been going on over the last few months, what the MP’s been saying and the EFL have been doing, obviously they’ve got to have somebody in mind.

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“The administrators won’t be very happy about this, because they had a deal done, which they knew was the best offer.

"They were always fair with us, and from day one have just been doing their jobs.

“They took the best offer for the club - and still now it is the best offer that’s been received.

“Obviously the EFL have their own rules, but for it to take three months to make a knew it was never going to happen.

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“We could have done whatever they wanted, and it was still never going to happen.

“Do I understand the process? Well, yes, obviously.

“Do I share that understanding? No, because it shouldn’t take three months to make a decision when you knew on day one the situation.

“What do I think? That the EFL had another idea in mind - and the administrators can’t fight that, because it’s not their decision.

"So we accept that decision – but we do not understand it and we obviously do not agree with it.”

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The admins confirmed the Spanish bid had finally fallen through earlier this month, after Moreno reduced his offer ‘by almost 50 per cent’.

Garrido Cristo added: “I don’t know what happened at the end, I obviously wasn’t involved in that.

“What I do know is, right to the end, he was still hoping for the approval from the EFL to do the deal.

“I genuinely feel sorry for the club and I wish them the best, because the fans deserve some good news that we were trying to bring.

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“It’s not about being angry or sad, it’s how things go sometimes. Things work in a certain way and you have to get used to it.

“I just think it is a shame, because if things had happened back in October when we wanted them to, it could have been different.

"As things have gone on, more people have left the club, the team is at the foot of the table, and whoever comes in only gets the pieces.”

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