Wigan Athletic administrator plays down 'bidder friendship'

Administrator Gerald Krasner has moved to distance himself from Norman Smurthwaite - one of the interested parties in taking control of Wigan Athletic.

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 1:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 1:16 pm
Gerald Krasner

Smurthwaite, 60, is believed to be one of the frontrunners alongside an American consortium fronted by Gauthier Ganaye, the chief executive at Belgian side Oostende.

While the American interest has been largely well received among the Latics fanbase, Smurthwaite's attempts to take control have had a less than positive reaction.

Smurthwaite was widely criticised following his spell in charge at Port Vale, with a number of Vale supporters having taken to social media to fill their Latics counterparts in on what went wrong.

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Given Vale were in administration when Smurthwaite took charge in 2012/13 - with Krasner's firm involved in the deal - it's not taken long for some Latics fans to join the dots.

Krasner, though, insists that has no bearing on the negotiations to buy Latics.

"I've been accused by quite a few of selling to a friend of mine, Norman Smurthwaite," Krasner said.

"I was an administrator at Port Vale, it must be six or seven years ago.

"But I was not the lead administrator, my partner Mr (Bob) Young, who lived in Stoke, dealt with the sale.

"I never met Mr Smurthwaite, I never spoke to him, I didn't even know the name.

"I handled a completely different aspect of that administration.

"That doesn't make me not responsible for the sale, because we are all responsible for everything.

"But I want to make two things clear...I never met the guy until recently, and I did not do the sale of Port Vale to him.

"He's made himself public, which is a very silly thing to do."

Krasner insists all interested parties remain in the race - and he has no preferences as to who will eventually take over.

"They (the fans) didn't want (Ian) Lenegan, they don't want Smurthwaite, they want the Americans," he told Supporters Club representative Barry Worthington in a Q&A.

"To be honest, I don't mind who buys it. But they have to pay the right price."