Feud erupts between lender and entrepreneur over Portsmouth FC deal

Feud erupts between lender and entrepreneur over Portsmouth FC deal


A feud has broken out between entrepreneur Thomas Lever and Chris Dailly of Jumbo Bridging that could end up in court.

The men were introduced by Alan Nadin in August, when they began talks over the funding of a deal to buy Portsmouth FC out of administration.

Last week Bridging and Commercial reported how 22-year-old Mr Lever is looking to short-term finance to help bridge the club’s purchase, and how he claims to have turned down a deal with the Scottish lender after they reneged on agreed terms.

Principal of Jumbo Bridging, Chris Dailly, strongly refutes these claims, and says it was in fact he who declined to work with Mr Lever, after learning that he was just 21 and had “only a few hundred thousand available” – a sum he believed to be insufficient  capital with which to borrow "tens of millions". 

He maintains that he’d been approached by brokers numerous times and that he was familiar with the football club’s situation and the necessary steps required to fund a purchase, as his Geneva based hedge fund had previously offered on the club.

Mr Dailly said: “In August we were approached by Alan Nadin of EMS Mortgages who advised that he had a ‘significant client’ on board to buy Portsmouth FC, given the previous experiences I had had with the deal I asked Alan to make sure his client was of a decent calibre as the FA would check him out with a fine tooth comb.

“Alan assured me his client was top notch so I agreed to listen and help out as my fund were still up for doing a deal.

“Alan then mentioned that in the first instance his client would need a Proof of Funds letter for £30 million to allow his client to participate in the talks with the administrators.

“I advised Alan that this was a service that we provided for a fee and I was happy to do so as I was familiar with the deal, but I did warn Alan that it was strictly on the basis that his client could come up with £10 million cash equity as that is what the fund would need.”

Mr Dailly also says he made it clear that Mr Lever would need to be experienced in the sporting arena.

Mr Lever dismisses Mr Dailly’s version of events as a “pack of lies” and says he was never asked for the proof of funds letter, nor the £10 million cash equity sum and that, on the contrary, Jumbo “asked for £40,000 upfront to follow the deal”.

Both parties talk of an aggravated phone call where their ‘differences’ came to a head.

Mr Dailly said: “I asked him if he could raise any ‘millions’ and he said no, I asked him what sporting experience he had and he said none.

“I advised him that I would not be interested in taking his proposal forward and he got verbally abusive to me on the phone and started making threats, asking where my home address was etc.”

As Jumbo Bridging is not FSA regulated the calls weren’t recorded.When Bridging and Commercial asked Mr Lever about these allegations he replied: “To say I was threatening is untrue, I asked Chris what his address was so that my lawyers could contact him. To say I only have a few hundred thousand available is a joke.

 “As for the man who introduced me to him, Alan Nadin, I’m upset with him too because he later told me he’s had problems dealing with Chris Dailly in the past.

“My lawyers are pursuing the matter.”

When asked about this Mr Dailly retorted: “If he has problems with me previously, why did he recommend me again?”

When Bridging and Commercial approached Mr Nadin and asked him to comment he declined, stating that it would be unprofessed to do so.

Lending legend Terry Pritchard has since stepped in and is working on a longer term structured finance deal. Asked about the Lever and Dailly feud he said: “I respect Jumbo Bridging and have no bad word to say against them and I think they have a good product, but it’s not the right product for this deal.

“I’ve asked Tom for similar documents and they’ve been provided, he’s shown me proof of capital, but not for the same amount.”

“The figures have changed now, the nature of the deal has changed; the sums required are different.

“I don’t really understand it, personally I think there’s been miscommunication somewhere along the line.”

Commenting on the deal, head of bridging at United Trust Bank, Alan Margolis, said:

“Anything to do with funding football clubs is notoriously difficult and challenging.

“From a bridging lender’s perspective, the biggest concern is ‘what if the loan goes wrong? How would you deal with possibly hundreds, if not thousands, of angry fans which could result in damage to the lender’s reputation, even if that was totally unfair?’

“And of course, there are only a limited number of potential buyers for football clubs.”




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