Blue Anorak

Last modified on Monday, 23 April 2007 at 21:07:10

Anton Johnson

Banned former Southend chairman returns to the fray

Save the [Doncaster] Rovers

Ceefax reported on 29th October 1997:

Troubled Doncaster Rovers have revealed that they have accepted a £2 million deal from a consortium involving former directors of the club.

The offer is still subject to legal agreement and both parties hope to conclude matters within seven days.

Essex-based businessman Anton Johnson heads the consortium, which will oust backer Ken Richardson and general manager Mark Weaver if successful.

Johnson took Southend United to the brink

For more details on this affair please read Peter Mason's Southend United— the official history of the Blues.

In June 1983 Essex butcher Anton Johnson (already chairman at Rotherham) took control of Southend United by agreeing to buy 44.9% of the shares from chairman Mark Rubin and his brother. He inherited a £250 000 overdraft which, during his tenure, increased to £700 000.

Players began missing wage payments and the supporters' loan fund was raided (up to £70 000 had gone missing, the discovery only being made two weeks before Christmas). Following police investigations the bank announced that no-one would be able to buy Mr. Johnson's shares without its authority.

Three years after his departure, following the arrival of Vic Jobson as chairman and a significant cash boost from Ken Bates of Chelsea and Robert Maxwell (then chairman of Oxford United), the team were still chasing him for alleged debts of £25 000 and other creditors were looking for more than five times this amount.

A few days before Christmas 1985 the Football League found Anton Johnson guilty of breaching League regulations and banned him from ever becoming involved in football again. Southend, Rotherham and Bournemouth were all found guilty of being controlled by a person involved with more than one club.

In June 1988 Johnson was declared bankrupt following a difficult search for him by private detectives in the United States.

On 30th October, Mr. Johnson's takeover deal was under investigation by the Football League. League spokesman Chris Hull was reported as saying, We said in the 1980s we'd make enquiries if he was involved in football again. However, he was soon cleared by the League to continue his takeover bid. How this can be is anyone's guess considering the severity of his misconduct while at Southend United.

Johnson buys Scarborough

Anton Johnson became the major shareholder at Scarborough FC on Saturday, 8th August 1998. The timing was splendid as Southend beat his new club within hours of the takeover.

Scarborough fans are reported to be unhappy at the move.

© Luke Bosman Monday, 23 April 2007 at 21:07:10

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