Pop star Louis Tomlinson has claimed he was “misled” over his bid to step in to take over his beloved Doncaster Rovers.
The One Direction singer said he was “absolutely gutted” that the deal for the League One football club – who he has supported since childhood – appears not to be going ahead, but said he still aims to help the club succeed.
In a message to fans posted online, Tomlinson, who is from Doncaster, insisted he would not have benefitted financially from the club if the deal had come off. The singer announced last month, after weeks of speculation, that he was teaming up with businessman and former Rovers chairman John Ryan and their takeover was expected to be formalised today.
But efforts to raise enough cash for the deal – through the Crowdfunder.co.uk website – have faltered with only £757,796 of the £2m target raised by yesterday’s deadline from 514 backers.
A statement issued yesterday by the Tomlinson Ryan Trust, established by the pair, confirmed the failure to reach their target meant they were unable to meet the Football League’s “fit and proper” test for club ownership.
In a series of posts online, Tomlinson wrote: “I’m absolutely gutted the Doncaster Rovers deal is not going ahead. I am desperate for the club to be given the recognition it deserves.
“I was explicitly told that the deal to buy the club was not dependent on the money raised by Crowdfunding. Unfortunately I was misled.
“My passion for Doncaster Rovers remains as strong as ever, and I hope that I can still be involved with the club moving forward.”
Ryan said: “When Louis says he was misled, he’s certainly not referring to me, I spoke to him on Thursday. I don’t want to go into the ins and outs. As far as I’m concerned, the whole thing is finished. I’m finished with football. I just want to live my life a different way now.
“I hope Louis does stay involved because he’s a great supporter of the club and I know he will do all he can.”