Cornard sale falls through

CORNARD United have been left in disarray by the sudden withdrawal of Rob Batten’s bid to buy the club, writes Russell Claydon.

CORNARD United have been left in disarray by the sudden withdrawal of Rob Batten’s bid to buy the club.

The deal collapsed at the 11th hour due to the ex-Wormingford Wanderers manager not being able to relocate offices for his London-based car business to the club in time before his current lease expired.

It means owner Chris Symes, after 17 years at Cornard, is back to square one in his quest to retrieve his £50,000 investment and retire from football.

“He cites his business and domestic circumstances have changed,” Symes said of Batten’s decision. “I have still made it a limited company and we are issuing 40,000 shares (at £1 each) and we have already sold £2,000 worth and if anyone wants to buy them it will help me no end.”

Symes said he was gutted by Batten’s sudden announcement last week, coming after the businessman had changed half the playing squad while in charge of first-team affairs for the last four months with right-hand man Shaun Gascoyne, with the takeover thought to have been imminent since July.

“I am very, very disappointed,” he said. “I wanted to walk away or to have help and it has finished up in a mess.

“I turned down three other people for him as I thought his was the soundest bid,” said Symes, who had to take charge of Saturday’s 3-2 Suffolk Senior Cup win away at Capel Plough in which Cornard fought back from 1-0 down with 20 minutes to go with late goals from Blake Panrucker, Cordell Jackson and Alistair McInness.

Symes, who has Wayne Pannell as a player-coach alongside him, then saw his side battered 8-0 at home to Whitton United on Tuesday in what he described as “a footballing lesson”.

Batten told the Free Press his withdrawal, which has also seen Gascoyne leave, came down to a pure business decision with the deal taking an age to go through and there was no hard feelings between him and Symes.

“We were supposed to be having a meeting with the council and Cornard Dynamos and ratifying everything and it has never materialised and now my lease has come up so I have had to take that decision.

“I have not fallen out with Chris, I have no problems with him. It is just one of those things.”

Meanwhile, Cornard United’s alcohol license has now been re-instated following a ban imposed by the council and the clubhouse is available to book out for Christmas functions. Anyone interested should call Symes on 07811096832.