EXCLUSIVE: 'I am the owner of Morecambe FC.'
The man claiming to be the new owner of Morecambe Football Club says he wants to float the Shrimps on the American Stock Exchange alongside Manchester United.
Italian businessman Joseph Cala said he is going into the office at the Globe Arena
each day to run the club even though
official clearance has yet to be given by the English Football League (EFL).
Mr Cala also said he wanted to rebuild the Globe Arena pitch which, he said, was “fit only for sheep”.
Speaking exclusively to The Visitor from Costa Coffee on Morecambe prom this morning, Mr Cala said he knew that player and staff wages for January had still not been paid. But the head of the US-based Cala Corporation insisted they would be as soon as clearance was given by the EFL, who were meeting today.
“Legally, I am the owner,” he said.
“There are just two steps left, one involving Government company law and the second, EFL acceptance of me as owner. On paper we are not the owners but as far as I am concerned we are.”
Mr Cala’s other aims include under-soil heating, a world class youth academy, stronger links with top clubs and a new training area.
He said the process had already started to put the club on a global trading platform, alongside the likes of Manchester United. This would allow the owners to bring in ‘free’ money every year, up to £1m, while still in League Two.
Mr Cala, who said he was not being paid a salary, stressed that his door would always be open to the fans with whom he wanted to build strong links, possibly through an advisory board meeting up to four times a year. He is demanding that the current Shrimps directors resign en bloc before he puts any money into the club.
However, he said he would be prepared to offer directorships to two or three of the present board members because, he said, they were totally committed to football.
Mr Cala said that from March 1 he would lease out the banqueting and catering which, he claimed, would give a direct saving to the club of £600,000 a year.
To ensure that the focus was on football, he said a dedicated bank account would be opened into which all the money from football would be deposited, except for 10 per cent. The account would be administered by a number of people, including manager Jim Bentley, the accountant and Mr Cala.
“In this way, the players will be guaranteed their pay every month,” he said.
“There is only one object which is to provide 11 lions for the coach.”
The remaining 10 per cent would be available to pay admin staff.
He said the club already knew how much it received every month - £100,000, spread between the EFL, Premier League and the gate. This money would go straight into the dedicated account.
Meanwhile legal wranglings continued with the Morecambe board still not clear on who actually owns the club.
This came after a crazy week behind the scenes at the Shrimps when Brazilian Diego Lemos resurfaced after two and a half months’ absence claiming he still owns Morecambe FC, and it was revealed four un-named directors bailed the club out with £40,000 to stop it from winding up.
Mr Cala was at the Globe Arena on Monday.
For more on the build up to Mr Cala’s ‘takeover’ see our diary of the maddest week in Morecambe FC history HERE.