CONFUSION reigned supreme at the County Ground today as conflicting reports emerged over who owns Swindon Town.

A statement released by the club at 11am stated that Lee Power, the Robins’ director of football, had assumed ownership, but sources within the club claimed that chairman Jed McCrory remains the 99 per cent majority shareholder.

The statement, which was removed from at around 1.30pm with fans left none the wiser as to the state of ownership in SN1, read: “Swindon Town Football Club are pleased to announce that the Football League have formally sanctioned the change of ownership of STFC to Swinton Reds 20 owned by director of football, Mr Lee Power.

“The change of ownership signals no fundamental changes in the club but has been executed post the completion of the audit in line with the intent of the consortium led by Mr Jed McCrory, who acquired STFC.

“Since the takeover, Mr Power has injected £1.2m to release the embargo enforced by the Football League at the time of takeover.

“Since then, a further £1m to date has been injected and to ensure the financial ongoing probity of the club, Mr Power has furnished the Football League with further proof of funds to underwrite the future liquidity of the club.”

While there is no dispute regarding the existence of an option agreement paving the way for Power to take a share of the club, or that it has been ratified by the Football League, the Advertiser has been given differing accounts of how far along the line the process of takeover actually is.

Power, who is believed to have put £1.2m into an escrow account in March to lift Swindon out of a transfer embargo, remains adamant that he is the owner of the club.

McCrory, however, is understood to think otherwise. In an email seen by the Advertiser, he told club staff that the option agreement which had been drafted would allow two investors to take a 30 per cent shareholding each, leaving him with roughly 39 per cent of the club.

McCrory, the former owner of Banbury United, took control at the County Ground in February when his company Seebeck 87 Ltd acquired Andrew Black’s stake in Swindon Town.

For the opening months of his reign, McCrory presided over an every-changing board, as Gary Hooper and Callum Rice left before the introduction of Power and economist Sangita Shah. Three weeks ago Steve Murrall, the last of McCrory’s original board to remain, left the club.

Power passed the Football League’s fit and proper person’s test in July and took the position of director of football at the County Ground. He has since claimed to have invested £1m into the club in addition to the £1.2m held in escrow to satisfy the authorities that Town could be released from embargo.

Negotiations regarding the transfer of shares to Power began several months ago, and the Advertiser understands his takeover was originally to be approved at a board meeting in the coming days.

Such a meeting has been called for lunchtime today, ahead of the clash with Carlisle United at the County Ground, but now it appears that the transition of power is not going as smoothly as was previously the case.

Swinton Reds 20 – the vehicle with which Power intends to take a shareholding in Swindon Town – was formed in March and lists Power and Stephen Crouch as directors.

In May the Advertiser was made aware that Crouch, the founder of online accounting firm Crunch, had been sounded out to join the Town board. For a short period Crouch even listed himself as a director of the club on his LinkedIn profile.

The accountant’s ascension to the Swindon board never materialised, however, though his firm SRC are believed to have examined the club’s accounts over that period.

A full audit of Town’s books was recently completed by specialists Hacker Young, with McCrory suggesting fans will soon be able to look over the results.

There was no further comment from Power or McCrory last night.

The questions everyone wants answered

Why was Lee Power given an option to own a controlling number of shares in the club?

Power has invested a significant amount of money in the club over the course of the past eight months and can be excused for wanting a stake in Swindon Town as a result.

The option agreement is believed to give him a 60 per cent share in Town, though depending on the point of view you seek this could either be made up of one single 60 per cent shareholding or two 30 per cent chunks.

Who needs to authorise him taking ownership of the shares?

The Football League need to sanction the change of ownership, while chairman Jed McCrory would have to sign off on his end as well.

It’s clear that the League have given their approval but McCrory appears adamant that he has not consented to the shift of shares.

Why did the club need Football League approval for Lee Power to have a stake in the club?

It’s a standard practice for clubs which change owners to notify the Football League. The approval should be a simple matter of course, provided the new owner has pass the authorities’ fit and proper person’s test.

Power got the all-clear in this respect back in June and was formally appointed to the club’s board in July.

If he now has overall control of the club, will he be chairman?

Not necessarily. The previous majority shareholder of the club, Andrew Black, pictured, was not chairman.

He had Andrew Fitton, then Jeremy Wray, then Sir William Patey fill that role while he took a back seat at the club.

If Power has taken control, the initial plan was for McCrory to remain as chairman. Following the events of yesterday that may no longer be the case.

What stake does Jed McCroy own?

Good question. It depends on who you believe. If you go with suggestions that Power has taken control of the majority shareholding – and the option agreement specified 60 per cent was to be transferred – that would leave McCrory with 39 per cent.

If you abide by the notion that nothing has actually happened, McCrory still retains 99 per cent.