Date:Wednesday June 28 2006
Bob Murray has revealed today that Niall Quinn's bid to buy the club from him is set to be finalised.
And contrary to reports, the figure is set to be much lower than originally anticipated. The outgoing chairman, who has been at the club for over 20 years, hit back at claims that he was delaying the deal by holding out for a higher sum of money, instead claiming that he is set to accept a cut price deal for the sake of the club,
'A figure of £80m has been mentioned in some quarters. I've spent millions acquiring my shares as well as investing, and also given more than 20 years of my life to the club.
'We started our negotiations at £20m and all parties agreed to a price of £16m in March when we confirmed we were in discussions.
'The price may ultimately be a third lower than this so that more can be invested in the club.
'That would mean the price for the club could be as low as £10m - and the figure for my shares would be £5.7m, which is slightly different to what some people have been suggesting.
'I agreed to this price simply because of the very deep feeling and love I have for the club and the people.'
And while the protracted negotiations are close to an end, Niall Quinn himself said today that while Murray is set to accept their bid, it is still several days away from completion,
He told BBC Sport,
'While we note and welcome Bob's disclosure there are legalities to finalise before completion.
'Until then I'm restricted by Stock Exchange rules from commenting further but I can say we are committed to closing the deal.'
One possible reason for the delay is the incoming consortium's desire to appoint a big name manager, with Murray admitting that this has proved a problem for Quinn and co,
'I think Niall would accept that trying to attract a big-name manager slowed the process by several weeks, and that this has been a source of frustration for everyone.'
All is hoped to be completed by Friday. And while that will prove a big relief for the fans who have been confused and frustrated over the past months, Quinn admitted that he has infact 'enjoyed the spirited negotiations.' I wish it had been as enjoyable for us. Hopefully the fun can start this Friday.
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