So you want to buy a football club, Uri

Herald Express
22 Feb 1997



JUST IN CASE showbiz psychic Uri Geller is really thinking of buying a part or all of neighbours Exeter City, Torquay United chairman Mike Bateson today bent the spoonbender’s ear about the hard financial facts of life in soccers’ lower divisions.
And along way he revealed that buying the Gulls would cost Geller a down-payment of £200,000 and would leave him being liable for £1.4 million in total!
On hearing that Geller was being linked with City and was making inquiries about the finances of several lower division clubs, Bateson quipped: “The fullest details have gone off from Torquay United, but as soon as I posted the letter, my watch stopped!”

United’s owner/managing director and his wife Sue officially hold around £400,000 worth of shares, but Bateson admits that he would have to accept half that amount now.
He puts the current bank overdraft at around £450,000, which is up by £100,000 on the last 15 months, following the worst season in United’s history.

“You can’t really expect somebody to pay for last season’s disaster – I was in charge I take the responsibility, I mucked it up, if you like,” admitted Bateson.
“If Mr Geller was to approach Torquay United and take me out, so that I hadn’t spent any money over the last seven years AND take on the overdraft as well, he would be in for about £1.4 million.
“But if he took on the overdraft and I wrote the rest off, he would have to give me about £200,000 just for my shareholding “

But – and it’s a significant ‘but’ – Bateson added that he would almost certainly include a clause in the sale-agreement entitling him to have some of his loans paid back in the future:

“I would probably stipulate that the rest of the money I have put in remains on loan, and I would want it back if and when things happen – like a big transfer-deal involving somebody like Rodney Jack or a knock-on for Paul Hall.
“I wouldn’t want all of it back, but certainly some of it.”
Bateson, who has made it clear that he would like to stand down as United’s chairman after nearly seven years in charge at Plainmoor, obviously believes that Plainmoor represents a better prospect than St. James Park where Exeter are not long out of administration.

Neither United nor City own their grounds and he explained: “There is no resale value in capital things like football stands.
“But that’s why we invested in building Boots & Laces and the Indoor Bowling Rink – they are more versatile and you can generate future income through them.”
“You see so many people interested in buying into clubs. They then look at the books, look again and find that there’s more to it than meets the eye – things like debts.”
“One thing that we are spot on with here is the financial accounts. We run things rigidly and every single penny is accounted for.”
TWO Cambridge defensive mix-ups helped Carlisle to move top of the third division with a 3-1 victory at Abbey Stadium last night.


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“There is no spoon!”

The Matrix

“The world needs your amazing talents. I need them”

Michael Jackson

“Uri Geller gave an absolutely resonating talk on his life and career. He had every single magician in the room on the edge of their seats trying to digest as much information as they could. Uri emphasized that the path to frame is through uniqueness and charisma and that professional entertainers must be creative in their pursuits of success and never shy away from publicity.”

Tannens Magic Blog

“The man is a natural magician. He does everything with great care, meticulous misdirection and flawless instinct. The nails are real, the keys are really borrowed, the envelopes are actually sealed, there are no stooges, there are no secret radio devices and there are no props from the magic catalogues.”

James Randi (In an open letter to Abracadabra Magazine)

“Absolutely amazing”

Mick Jagger

“Truly incredible”

Sir Elton John

“Eternity is down the hall And you sit there bending spoons In your mind, in your mind”

Johnny Cash

“I Have watched Uri Geller… I have seen that so I am a believer. It was my house key and the only way I would be able to use it is get a hammer and beat it out back flat again.”

Clint Eastwood

“Better than watching Geller bending silver spoons, better than witnessing new born nebulae’s in bloom”


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