Whites in crisis

Otail Touzar, left, with Mark Winter, right

Otail Touzar, left, with Mark Winter, right

First published in News
Last updated
by , Head of Sport

SALISBURY City owner Mark Winter says he feels “embarrassed” and “ashamed” after buying the financially stricken club with Moroccan businessmen Otail Touzar, who is yet to invest a single penny.

The 47-year-old told supporters last night £29,000 needs to be raised to cover the players' wage bills by 5pm today or they will be axed from the Football Conference.

Two per cent shareholder Mr Winter has already plunged about £75,000 into the club while his business partner Mr Touzar, 31, is yet to invest.

But Mr Winter, who has supported the Whites for the past six years, doesn't want anyone to help save the club until Mr Touzar, who is chairman, signs over his shares.

The crisis follows an incorrect announcement by Mr Touzar earlier this week that he'd signed a Saudi Arabian prince Khalid Bin Bader Alsaud to play for the Whites.

A club insider told the Journal this wasn't true and no contract had been signed.

At last night's supporters' meeting, held at The Vestry on Milford Street, Mr Winter outlined the severity of the club's financial problem to fans.

“If no money comes in we'll be kicked out of the Conference,” said Mr Winter who is also managing director of Southampton-based company Aqua Pacific.

“He's lost the fans and players. They have been asking who this idiot is. The players don't want to work for him and neither does the manager (Mikey Harris).

“I've asked Otail to sign over his shares to me so others can invest, but he won't at the moment. Therefore, I won't allow anyone to invest while he's got control.

“I feel like the biggest idiot in the city. It has cost me £75,000 to learn a lesson.

“I never intended anything bad to happen to the club. But, as people keep telling me, he was the only man available to help at the time.

“I've taken money from my mortgage to help save the club.

“I feel embarrassed and ashamed about how this has panned out. Never in a million years did I expect this outcome. I don't know what the next seven hours will bring. If Otail leaves, I know people who want to come in and help.”

Mr Winter, who is responsible for running the club on a day-to-day basis with the help of fellow supporter and fiancée Michaela Menzel, took over the club last month from William Harrison-Allan when it was on the verge of folding.

Along with Mr Touzar he took on about £160,000 of debts after purchasing the club for a pound.

About £41,000 of that was owed to the players, some of which the Journal understands has been paid.

“The club was going to fold anyway so I had 48 hours to do a deal and save the club,” Mr Winter added.

“I had lots of talks with potential investors but when it came to it, people, understandably, said I'm out.

“I needed somebody to be the financial backer and was recommended someone by a well-respected man from Capita.

“That man was Otail Touzar. I met him and spoke to him and he reckoned he could take the club to the Championship - he came down to earth later on.

“His business is investing in football clubs. Even William and former director Jeff Hooper said you've landed on your feet.

“But that's not the case.”

City made the step down to the Southern Premier league after suffering a double demotion in 2010. But player/manager Darrell Clarke, with his assistant Mikey Harris, helped them climb back to the top level of non-league.

In the midst of the financial saga, defender Brian Dutton has left and striker Jamie White terminated his contract to join Bristol Rovers, despite Mr Winter offering him £700 to stay.

Cameroonian midfielder Clovis Kamdjo is also not planning to return.

Mr Winter says a statement regarding the club's Conference future will be posted on the club's website by 5pm today.

The Journal has asked Mr Touzar for a comment but he has not yet replied.

Comments (9)

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3:07pm Thu 12 Jun 14

shaftesbury says...

I feel truly sorry for the fans of Salisbury City, many of whom I count as friends. I used to follow the team occasionally but these days I don't. Frankly I am fed up of the club over-reaching itself and getting into debt every time it gets to this level of non-league football. Last time the club ripped off the taxpayer by not paying it's tax bills and this time is in debt again. This is just not right and the club is being badly run time and again because people just can't keep grounded or avoid spending money that is not there. It is all very well for the board and managers to moan about lack of support from the community and attendance, but that is always how it has been in this city and it will not change quickly. I know it is a catch 22 but only if attendances rose should the club be spending money, but until that happens it should learn to live within its means. Salisbury fans have been truly let down, but relegation two leagues again may be what the club deserves because that may be where the club belongs for now?
I feel truly sorry for the fans of Salisbury City, many of whom I count as friends. I used to follow the team occasionally but these days I don't. Frankly I am fed up of the club over-reaching itself and getting into debt every time it gets to this level of non-league football. Last time the club ripped off the taxpayer by not paying it's tax bills and this time is in debt again. This is just not right and the club is being badly run time and again because people just can't keep grounded or avoid spending money that is not there. It is all very well for the board and managers to moan about lack of support from the community and attendance, but that is always how it has been in this city and it will not change quickly. I know it is a catch 22 but only if attendances rose should the club be spending money, but until that happens it should learn to live within its means. Salisbury fans have been truly let down, but relegation two leagues again may be what the club deserves because that may be where the club belongs for now? shaftesbury
  • Score: 4

3:39pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Grampie says...

shaftesbury wrote:
I feel truly sorry for the fans of Salisbury City, many of whom I count as friends. I used to follow the team occasionally but these days I don't. Frankly I am fed up of the club over-reaching itself and getting into debt every time it gets to this level of non-league football. Last time the club ripped off the taxpayer by not paying it's tax bills and this time is in debt again. This is just not right and the club is being badly run time and again because people just can't keep grounded or avoid spending money that is not there. It is all very well for the board and managers to moan about lack of support from the community and attendance, but that is always how it has been in this city and it will not change quickly. I know it is a catch 22 but only if attendances rose should the club be spending money, but until that happens it should learn to live within its means. Salisbury fans have been truly let down, but relegation two leagues again may be what the club deserves because that may be where the club belongs for now?
The biggest part of the club is its fans, many of whom have been supporting them for many years, including financially, not sitting on the sidelines, sniping.

I understand that the tax debt was paid by the former owners and if things go to plan, so will the existing debt.

Good, honest and sincere people have been conned over this issue.

The fans have been lied to and neither they or the club deserve this.

It is a shame that not enough people come along to see good quality football, to meet some very nice people, ordinary people and good company.

The club contributes to the economy of the area because many away fans stay in the city after the match.

The former owners tried their best, but the club could not exist on those attendances when there is competition, like a championship club, and a Premiership Club just down the road.

Outside of Wiltshire, Salisbury is best known for being near Stonehenge, the cathedral, the cattle market and Salisbury City FC.

The higher up the league, the more publicity for the city. Whatever the outcome, Salisbury needs its football club and its fans, but there will always be detractors, whatever they do, whoever is in charge.
[quote][p][bold]shaftesbury[/bold] wrote: I feel truly sorry for the fans of Salisbury City, many of whom I count as friends. I used to follow the team occasionally but these days I don't. Frankly I am fed up of the club over-reaching itself and getting into debt every time it gets to this level of non-league football. Last time the club ripped off the taxpayer by not paying it's tax bills and this time is in debt again. This is just not right and the club is being badly run time and again because people just can't keep grounded or avoid spending money that is not there. It is all very well for the board and managers to moan about lack of support from the community and attendance, but that is always how it has been in this city and it will not change quickly. I know it is a catch 22 but only if attendances rose should the club be spending money, but until that happens it should learn to live within its means. Salisbury fans have been truly let down, but relegation two leagues again may be what the club deserves because that may be where the club belongs for now?[/p][/quote]The biggest part of the club is its fans, many of whom have been supporting them for many years, including financially, not sitting on the sidelines, sniping. I understand that the tax debt was paid by the former owners and if things go to plan, so will the existing debt. Good, honest and sincere people have been conned over this issue. The fans have been lied to and neither they or the club deserve this. It is a shame that not enough people come along to see good quality football, to meet some very nice people, ordinary people and good company. The club contributes to the economy of the area because many away fans stay in the city after the match. The former owners tried their best, but the club could not exist on those attendances when there is competition, like a championship club, and a Premiership Club just down the road. Outside of Wiltshire, Salisbury is best known for being near Stonehenge, the cathedral, the cattle market and Salisbury City FC. The higher up the league, the more publicity for the city. Whatever the outcome, Salisbury needs its football club and its fans, but there will always be detractors, whatever they do, whoever is in charge. Grampie
  • Score: -1

5:35pm Thu 12 Jun 14

shaftesbury says...

Reading your post Grampie you would think everything is right and rosy and there is no problem. Whilst alot of what you say is true there is no glossing over the fact that the club are not living within their means and keep getting seriously into debt every time they are in this league. That is not good enough and just because they bring publicity and trade into the city does not mean you should be allowed to run a club like this. I am sure i am not the only one fed up with reading about Salisbury City FC's financial problems whenever they get into the conference and find out they cant pay their players, suppliers and taxes. It aint on and has to stop happening. Hopefully this time something will happen after this that puts the club on more solid footing, otherwise Bemerton Heath Harlequins may be the future of football in the city.
Reading your post Grampie you would think everything is right and rosy and there is no problem. Whilst alot of what you say is true there is no glossing over the fact that the club are not living within their means and keep getting seriously into debt every time they are in this league. That is not good enough and just because they bring publicity and trade into the city does not mean you should be allowed to run a club like this. I am sure i am not the only one fed up with reading about Salisbury City FC's financial problems whenever they get into the conference and find out they cant pay their players, suppliers and taxes. It aint on and has to stop happening. Hopefully this time something will happen after this that puts the club on more solid footing, otherwise Bemerton Heath Harlequins may be the future of football in the city. shaftesbury
  • Score: 5

8:40pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Grampie says...

"Reading your post Grampie you would think everything is right and rosy and there is no problem."

I don't think you read my post and you fail to understand that the club has changed hands a number of times and a number of people have lost money trying to make a go of it.

It is obvious by certain critics of the club that they do not have a clue what goes on, but are happy to crow from the sidelines without making any serious attempt to go along and help.
"Reading your post Grampie you would think everything is right and rosy and there is no problem." I don't think you read my post and you fail to understand that the club has changed hands a number of times and a number of people have lost money trying to make a go of it. It is obvious by certain critics of the club that they do not have a clue what goes on, but are happy to crow from the sidelines without making any serious attempt to go along and help. Grampie
  • Score: -4

1:52am Fri 13 Jun 14

shaftesbury says...

Go along and help grampie? What on earth do you mean by that? We dont all have lots of money to invest in a football club, but if i did i wouldnt touch Salisbury City FC until i were sure it had a proper financial plan and would live within its means. That is not 'sniping' as you so crudely put it but is sensible and what life in the real world us about. The Whites need to take a step back and seriously think whether with the level of support they get on top of ither income what coaching and playing staff they can really afford. If what the club cant afford wont be enough to keep them in the conference then so be it. Just because the club have a claim to emotional heart strings gives them no right to spend money they dont have, no matter who us in charge. What this lesson may teach people is than mythical middle eastern men promising championship football need to be taken with a pinch of salt!
Go along and help grampie? What on earth do you mean by that? We dont all have lots of money to invest in a football club, but if i did i wouldnt touch Salisbury City FC until i were sure it had a proper financial plan and would live within its means. That is not 'sniping' as you so crudely put it but is sensible and what life in the real world us about. The Whites need to take a step back and seriously think whether with the level of support they get on top of ither income what coaching and playing staff they can really afford. If what the club cant afford wont be enough to keep them in the conference then so be it. Just because the club have a claim to emotional heart strings gives them no right to spend money they dont have, no matter who us in charge. What this lesson may teach people is than mythical middle eastern men promising championship football need to be taken with a pinch of salt! shaftesbury
  • Score: 5

8:15am Fri 13 Jun 14

Bobmeup says...

A lot of people who supported the club as it has lurched from one crisis to another will not be happy. Take away the fact that some muppet has come in and conned people, the club needs to be realistic, spending beyond its means is not the way forward. Considering the gate for home games and the size of the local population it is always going to have tread carefully.
A lot of people who supported the club as it has lurched from one crisis to another will not be happy. Take away the fact that some muppet has come in and conned people, the club needs to be realistic, spending beyond its means is not the way forward. Considering the gate for home games and the size of the local population it is always going to have tread carefully. Bobmeup
  • Score: 8

10:04am Fri 13 Jun 14

reasonedhuman says...

The size of the local population is comparable to teams that regularly see gates of 10,000 or above in higher leagues, its just people are sport snobs and want to see foreign stars and international players.

A trip to any non-league ground; Salisbury, AFC Totton, even Laverstock, Downton and Harlequins and others will give you good entertainment and competitive football. You may not see the quality of Manchester United or Manchester City - but if you look at their balance sheets one shows a huge debt and the other shows massive year on year losses. There are VERY few well run football clubs in this country.

The previous owner, as the one before him got giddy and spent beyond the club and their own means - in Mark Winter we have a guy who doesn't have bottomless pockets but is a football man with the best interests of the club at heart - clearing £75k with his own money when he could now well lose it all.

The aim is to have a sustainable club - if that is in the Southern League then fine, Conference Premier fantastic, but their is now a will to do it right and that is the main thing.

There are no begging bowls out at this moment in time - the best way to support the club is to go and watch them - doesn't matter if its not every week, or by purchasing a season ticket. There are clearly 2,000+ people willing to go and watch Salisbury as when there is a 'Glory Game' or play off match the people of Salisbury turn out in those numbers.
The size of the local population is comparable to teams that regularly see gates of 10,000 or above in higher leagues, its just people are sport snobs and want to see foreign stars and international players. A trip to any non-league ground; Salisbury, AFC Totton, even Laverstock, Downton and Harlequins and others will give you good entertainment and competitive football. You may not see the quality of Manchester United or Manchester City - but if you look at their balance sheets one shows a huge debt and the other shows massive year on year losses. There are VERY few well run football clubs in this country. The previous owner, as the one before him got giddy and spent beyond the club and their own means - in Mark Winter we have a guy who doesn't have bottomless pockets but is a football man with the best interests of the club at heart - clearing £75k with his own money when he could now well lose it all. The aim is to have a sustainable club - if that is in the Southern League then fine, Conference Premier fantastic, but their is now a will to do it right and that is the main thing. There are no begging bowls out at this moment in time - the best way to support the club is to go and watch them - doesn't matter if its not every week, or by purchasing a season ticket. There are clearly 2,000+ people willing to go and watch Salisbury as when there is a 'Glory Game' or play off match the people of Salisbury turn out in those numbers. reasonedhuman
  • Score: 2

11:48am Fri 13 Jun 14

Grampie says...

shaftesbury wrote:
Go along and help grampie? What on earth do you mean by that? We dont all have lots of money to invest in a football club, but if i did i wouldnt touch Salisbury City FC until i were sure it had a proper financial plan and would live within its means. That is not 'sniping' as you so crudely put it but is sensible and what life in the real world us about. The Whites need to take a step back and seriously think whether with the level of support they get on top of ither income what coaching and playing staff they can really afford. If what the club cant afford wont be enough to keep them in the conference then so be it. Just because the club have a claim to emotional heart strings gives them no right to spend money they dont have, no matter who us in charge. What this lesson may teach people is than mythical middle eastern men promising championship football need to be taken with a pinch of salt!
How about volunteering, selling tickets, stewarding, cleaning, painting, coaching kids, because that is what a lot of the fans do ? It only costs time, but saves the club money.

I would agree, however, the club should only be in a league that it can afford to be in. In the past, the plug was pulled because somebody bankrolling the club went bust, not the fans fault. This time I understand that the current owners had their own financial difficulties, couldn't afford to continue and that is why they shipped out.

What annoys me is the way a few uninformed people think that they know it all, yet cannot be bothered to support the club, either voluntary or financially and sound happy at its demise.
[quote][p][bold]shaftesbury[/bold] wrote: Go along and help grampie? What on earth do you mean by that? We dont all have lots of money to invest in a football club, but if i did i wouldnt touch Salisbury City FC until i were sure it had a proper financial plan and would live within its means. That is not 'sniping' as you so crudely put it but is sensible and what life in the real world us about. The Whites need to take a step back and seriously think whether with the level of support they get on top of ither income what coaching and playing staff they can really afford. If what the club cant afford wont be enough to keep them in the conference then so be it. Just because the club have a claim to emotional heart strings gives them no right to spend money they dont have, no matter who us in charge. What this lesson may teach people is than mythical middle eastern men promising championship football need to be taken with a pinch of salt![/p][/quote]How about volunteering, selling tickets, stewarding, cleaning, painting, coaching kids, because that is what a lot of the fans do ? It only costs time, but saves the club money. I would agree, however, the club should only be in a league that it can afford to be in. In the past, the plug was pulled because somebody bankrolling the club went bust, not the fans fault. This time I understand that the current owners had their own financial difficulties, couldn't afford to continue and that is why they shipped out. What annoys me is the way a few uninformed people think that they know it all, yet cannot be bothered to support the club, either voluntary or financially and sound happy at its demise. Grampie
  • Score: -6

5:51pm Fri 13 Jun 14

shaftesbury says...

You dont ask much do you grampie. Not just should fans go to a match and pay money at the gate but if they want to express a view they have to help run the club too! Fair play to those that do help, but that doesnt mean others arent entitled to a view. You talk about 'uninformed' and i would like to know what you mean because the facts talk for themselves. The club have got into serious debt again after doing the same thing last time they were in the conference prem. There is therefore something fundamentally wrong with the financial planning at the club whereby they seem to overestimate income and support and then spend too much on players, staff and facilities. All i am saying is that this has to stop. The club need to get a grip in future and live within means. If that means playing more young local players rather than spending too much on bringing players in then that is what should happen. But if that means we dont have the talent to compete at the top level of non league football so be it. I am not a Whites fan because i started supporting another team in my youth long before i moved here, but i live in the city and take no joy whatsoever from their plight. Many friends are Whites fans and i feel for them.
You dont ask much do you grampie. Not just should fans go to a match and pay money at the gate but if they want to express a view they have to help run the club too! Fair play to those that do help, but that doesnt mean others arent entitled to a view. You talk about 'uninformed' and i would like to know what you mean because the facts talk for themselves. The club have got into serious debt again after doing the same thing last time they were in the conference prem. There is therefore something fundamentally wrong with the financial planning at the club whereby they seem to overestimate income and support and then spend too much on players, staff and facilities. All i am saying is that this has to stop. The club need to get a grip in future and live within means. If that means playing more young local players rather than spending too much on bringing players in then that is what should happen. But if that means we dont have the talent to compete at the top level of non league football so be it. I am not a Whites fan because i started supporting another team in my youth long before i moved here, but i live in the city and take no joy whatsoever from their plight. Many friends are Whites fans and i feel for them. shaftesbury
  • Score: 6

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