Ebbsfleet United’s prospective new owner received the backing of supporters at a public meeting on Wednesday night.
Carlos Karani Kabir, 38, spoke to fans about his vision for the Fleet, which would see a group of talented young Spanish players join the club, relegated from the Blue Square Bet Premier, for next season.
The meeting heard that Karani would pay wages owed to the club’s non-playing staff, debts owed to creditors and running costs from the day of his takeover until the start of next season.
Fleet Trust members voted in favour of his proposal, which must now be put to a vote by the club’s current owners, MyFootballClub. The Trust also voted not to purchase £25,000 worth of MyFC shares.
Around 200 fans packed the club’s bar at Stonebridge Road to attend the meeting. They listened to an emotional address by Fleet chairman Jessica McQueen, who admitted the Fleet were on the verge of administration and needed to raise £100,000 in the next fortnight.
The future of the club will be decided by MyFC, who will only hand over control to Karani if their members agree to do so via a vote. Karani spoke passionately about wanting to be part of the club’s long-term plans but admitted he could not wait indefinitely.
He said: “I’m starting to get fed up. They should have already gone to a vote. I don’t know how long I can wait. My investors are a little bit worried about the situation. They’re putting pressure on me.
We have investors in England who are pushing very hard. After a couple of meetings and today’s meeting, I’ll take a risk to wait. But tomorrow, if I receive a call from my investors, they’ll move forward.”
There were cheers when Karani told supporters he would change the club’s name back to Gravesend & Northfleet if the majority of supporters were behind the switch.
But Mrs McQueen’s reminder of the acute financial difficulties facing Ebbsfleet silenced the room.
She said: “Administration is a reality. We need £100,000 in two weeks.
“The club owes £100,000 to suppliers and PAYE. If we go into administration, the players’ and manager’s wages will be the first to be paid and then anything owed to HM Revenue & Customs. Then everyone else is a creditor, including the staff and ex-directors.
“We’re dealing with people who we owe money to. We are negotiating because we still need them to be on board.”
Karani claimed the players he would bring to the club are valued by FIFA at £150,000-£200,000 each. He insisted several times that he was not seeking to make money and promised to change the way the club was run.
He said: “Next season, someone will come over and restructure the club in all aspects. Commercial, football, relations with supporters and relations with the council.
“Everything is a disaster. Maybe you need someone fresh from the outside who doesn’t want to make money. I want to work with football players. I’m not making money, I’m reinvesting money.”