In this feature we look at former FA Cup opponents Salisbury City and the failure of the FA’s fit and proper person’s test to remove an owner labelled a “fraudster” by the city’s MP.
What is the Football Matters series?
This site isn’t just about Port Vale. We recognise that we are also part of several wider networks. For instance, two immediately spring to mind – many of us are Potteries folk and/or exiles and we’re part of the lower league football fraternity.
It’s because of the latter group that we are running this occasional series. We will never forget the help and support of other clubs when Port Vale was in crisis and as a way of repaying that debt we want to highlight clubs who have hit the headlines. Some will be for good reasons but many of these features will highlight controversies and wrongdoings at other clubs.
It’s our own attempt to bring them a little bit more publicity which will hopefully go a small way to helping them resolve their problems.
It was only ten months ago that Salisbury, then a Conference club, had reached the second round proper of the FA Cup and took on the Valiants.
However, since that day, events in Wiltshire have sadly been farcical and the very future of the football club is now on the line.
OVF takes up the story…
Touzer takes control
Just four months after playing Vale, Salisbury found themselves subject to a transfer embargo and appealing for investment into the club.
The duo bought the club for just £1 and Touzar immediately promised the backing of Arab millionaires..
Just one month later, it looked like the club’s prayers had been answered from the most unlikely of sources. Moroccan ‘businessman’ Outail Touzar teamed up with director Mark Winter to takeover the club and take on its £150,000 debts. The duo bought the club for just £1 and Touzar immediately promised the backing of Arab millionaires.
However, the euphoria quickly disappeared. Winter broke away from Touzer in June with a wide-ranging personal statement claiming that the Moroccan had “refused to invest any funds whatsoever”, had taken nearly £4,000 out of the club and that Winter had “tried everything in our power to reason with him, even offering him money to give the club back.”
Soon afterwards, the club were demoted to the Conference South and then dumped out of the Conference pyramid altogether after failing to lodge a £50,000 bond. The club was not able to find another league to play in. All the players from last season left and the club had no fixtures to play.
Fans rally against ‘fraudster’
Touzer was widely condemned with local MP John Glen calling the “owner” a “fraudster” and a “charlatan.”
Winter subsequently joined other businessmen to form a consortium determined to force Touzer out and regain control of the club. However, despite a premature announcement in July that the consortium had taken over, the future of the club is mired in mystery, a situation not helped by the ineptitude of the football authorities.
Silence and confusion
What idiots allow an individual to make up a name and only ask him to provide an email address as confirmation he is fit to own a football club?
Since July, there has been very few announcements from the consortium apart from statements condemning both Touzer and the inability of the footballing authorities to take the required action. One statement ranted that “It is scandalous and wholly unacceptable that Touzer is able to avoid us yet goes out on free websites issuing one false statement after another. Nobody has seen this man for nearly two months let alone any money. Yet he would have you believe that he is genuine and only has the clubs interest at heart. You would hope common sense and rationality would come into play at some point but they don’t appear to exist in Touzer’s world. It is evident he is only driven by a desire to completely destroy this football club. Logic says if indeed, he had nothing to hide, he would come forward…”
Another takes a deserved pop at the authorities noting that “Salisbury City are being monumentally stitched up by the FA and Conference… barely 24 hours before our case was due to be heard the chairman objected to our appeal on the grounds we were not the legal owners and therefore had no right to appeal… This is about football closing ranks and conspiring because they feel they are not accountable to anyone else accept [sic] themselves…”
Salisbury were particularly upset by what they considered to be unprofessional and biased behaviour from members of the Conference board. Another statement from the consortium added that: “some of the conduct of the Conference board was entirely unprofessional: notably the general manager Denis Strudwick who appeared to have a clear agenda against the club because of past history. He entered into communication with several ex-players which was outside his remit while Colin Peake, a board member, took to message boards and fans forums voicing his unwanted opinion about the club…”
The group also attacked the much maligned fit and proper persons test saying: “What idiots allow an individual to make up a name and only ask him to provide an email address as confirmation he is fit to own a football club? You guessed it the bungling fools at the Conference and FA.”
Meanwhile, on planet Touzer…
What was “owner” Outail Touzar doing while the consortium wrestled to take over the club? Quite a lot if you believe his own frankly bizarre statements. According to his latest pronouncement, he’s breaking world records.
At the moment, Salisbury bizarrely have two “official” websites – one run by the consortium and another (hosted in Norfolk Island) operated by Touzar.
Let’s allow Touzar to explain what he’s been doing recently in his own words…
“Mr.Outail M.Touzar became at age 32 youngest Club Owner/Chairman/Head coach/Player in the World,an achievement that was never done before and sure it will stand for many years to come…
“I will tell you a secret,the last time I played a football match was actually in Dubai couple years ago with global football legend Diego Armando Maradona in Dubai whom I send my regards to and since that day I decided that I will not play football again unless it is a very special occasion which makes it more memorable for me,now I want to Thank the players,the coaching staff,my partners Hasan,Rachid,Aziz and the others for making this day a reality…”
Come on, the FA and Football Conference, is this guy really a “fit and proper” choice to be in charge of Salisbury City?
OVF hopes that Salisbury fans manage to get sensible and responsible owners who have the best intentions for their club. We wish them well.