BASINGSTOKE football fans were "duped" into selling their stake in the club after being told their shares were worthless, it has been claimed.

Former owner of Basingstoke Town Football Club has been accused of telling shareholders their shares wasn't worth anything before he struck a multi-million pound deal for the freehold of the Camrose football ground. 

Documents seen by The Gazette reveal that in May 2016, the former football club owner wrote to all shareholders informing them that the club was “unviable”, his “support will not continue beyond the short term”, and that their shares had “no value”.

He then subsequently offered to re-purchase their shares, explaining it was to ensure that [the fans] were not “out of pocket”.

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But further documents reveal that just 48 days later, Mr Razzak’s firm Basron purchased the freehold for the Camrose ground, on Winchester Road, for £2.4 million plus VAT from the Camrose estate.

By owning the club and ground, the covenant placed on the pitch by Lord Camrose - stating that the site must remain as a football club until 2053 - would only be enforceable against his own firm, paving the way for future developments.

Lifelong Basingstoke supporter Jim Gould was made an honorary member of the club by Razzak and said he feels he was tricked.

ALSO READ: Basingstoke Town fans 'pressured' into selling shares back to Rafi Razzak

He alleged the businessman “knew what he was doing” when he insisted on buying shares back from long-term fans.

In paperwork seen by The Gazette, Mr Razzak then subsequently offered to re-purchase the shares, explaining it was “to ensure that [the fans] are not out of pocket”.

Mr Gould claimed that he was “duped” into believing that their stake in their beloved team was worthless, adding that the subsequent planning applications submitted in 2019 would have increased the value of their shares.

ALSO READ: Council rule out buying Camrose stadium, citing "limited resources"

“We were told it was a goodwill gesture,” Jim said, referring to the fact that Razzak reimbursed the original value of the shares.

“I thought it was bloody cheeky, I thought perhaps he has lost his marbles.”

Jim had a share alongside his good friend, John Turner, who has since passed away.

“John didn’t want to sell that share. In hindsight we shouldn’t have sold it. We have let a lot of people down. I don’t feel guilty, but coerced," he claimed. 

ALSO READ: Camrose covenant discovered after public told it was 'lost or missing'

The Gazette asked Rafi Razzak to respond to the allegations. However, he did not respond to a request for comment.

This newspaper asked:

  • Are you able to shed any light on these claims?
  • When did negotiations begin with the Camrose estate for the purchase of the ground?
  • Did you know that the value of the shares would increase after the purchase of the freehold.

Mr Razzak has previously said that he was trying to protect the fans from the financial uncertainty of the club when buying back shares in 2016.

He also said before that he was acting in the best interests of the club, and it was the council’s decision to back out of the plans for a new stadium in 2016 that led the club’s position today.

Earlier this year, the Camrose pitch was dug up. He said that this was to reseed the grass, and later added that the turf would be used to create a memorial to Lord Camrose and the stadium named after him, to be placed at the club’s new home, Winklebury Football Complex.