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Notts County

Notts County owner puts club up for sale hours after tweeting inappropriate image

6:39 PM EST 1/27/19
Notts County owner Alan Hardy
Alan Hardy has already confirmed he is in talks with two interested parties and will continue to invest in the club while they search for a new owner

Notts County owner Alan Hardy has announced he is putting the club up for sale.

The Notting-based side are currently bottom of the Football League and are eight points from safety.

It has been a strange weekend for Hardy and County, with the former announcing he is leaving Twitter after accidentally tweeting what he claimed to be a screenshot of an ‘inappropriate image’.

Hardy stated it was ‘honest mistake’ and apologised for any offence caused.

However, County’s owner rejected any notion that the incident had anything to do with his decision to sell the club.

In a statement he said: “After considerable soul-searching, I no longer feel I can continue as the owner of Notts County Football Club.

“I would like to make it clear from the outset that the club’s current league position is not a factor in this decision, nor are any of the events which have unfolded in the media this weekend.

“Everyone at Meadow Lane remains staunchly committed to preserving our proud status as the world’s oldest Football League club and, until a new buyer is found, I will continue to support that aim.

“The truth is, my efforts to restore Notts County’s fortunes over the last two years mean my other businesses have had to take a back seat. They are now in need of my full attention.

Hardy has enjoyed a mixed period as owner of the club and has seen them fall from the highs of a finishing fifth last season, to the low of the club’s high against relegation this campaign.

“Over the following 15 months we had a truly wonderful journey,” he said.

“Initially the challenge was to avoid relegation, which we were able to achieve, and last season we qualified for the play-offs, only to lose out against Coventry in highly questionable circumstances.

"During that time we were able to double attendances, re-engage supporters and attract crowds of up to 17,000 for League Two fixtures.

"Clearly, however, this season has been an incredibly difficult challenge and one of monumental under-achievement, which has left us once again fighting for EFL survival.

"As the owner, the buck stops with me. I take ultimate responsibility for our current situation.”

Despite announcing his desire to sell the club, Hardy made it clear he will not abandon County while he searches for a new owner.

My decision to sell the club does not mean I won’t be supporting our manager, Neal Ardley, in his efforts to strengthen our squad in this transfer window.

"I am not suddenly pulling up the drawbridge, nor will I be absent from matches. I continue to support this club.

"We have 17 games remaining to fight tooth and nail to save our EFL status.

"Moving forward, I am sad to say the time has come for me to pass on the baton to the next owner of Notts County.

“I would like to reassure supporters that I will be doing my utmost to ensure this huge honour is bestowed upon someone who has the best interests of the club at heart.

"I have already held talks with two interested parties and I will keep fans informed of any future developments when appropriate.”

Notts County are next in action on Saturday, when they take on top-of-the-table Lincoln City.