Huw Jenkins In Pole Position At Newport County . . . But Michael Duff In Danger Of Stalling At Swansea City

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 09: Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Huw Jenkins In Pole Position At Newport County . . . But Michael Duff In Danger Of Stalling At Swansea City

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By Paul Jones

Former Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins has been named as the preferred bidder to take a majority shareholding in League Two club Newport County.

The man who steered the Swans from near Football League oblivion to a seven-year stint in the Premier League and a trip into Europe is set to meet the Newport County Supporters’ Trust on Thursday to make his proposal.

A USA-based consortium led by Dan Donoghue and Jon Pratt have also put forward a take-over bid, but Jenkins is in pole position to make a return to football.

He first became involved in football club management and administration with Briton Ferry FC in the Welsh non-league pyramid and was chairman and chief executive of Swansea City between 2002-2019.

Since making around £12m from the initial sale of his shares in Swansea, Jenkins has become chairman of the Welsh based Cobalt Sports Management company and has been looking to get back into football.

He expressed interest in investing in Charlton Athletic last year, but a move to closer-to-home Newport looks like his best opportunity.

“The Board of Directors of Newport County AFC is pleased to announce that the preferred bidder to become the new majority shareholder of the football club is Huw Jenkins,” announced a club statement from Newport County.

“The Newport County Supporters’ Trust members will vote on whether to accept the proposal made by Huw Jenkins at a Special General Meeting next week. We can confirm that second bidder is a US-based consortium of Dan Donoghue and Jon Pratt.”

Jenkins’ bid is offering an initial payment of £500,000 for a 52% stake in the fan-owned club.

The first goal will be “to make the club successful, sustainable and profitable over the medium-term”.

Awarded an OBE for his services to sport in Wales in 2015, and named the CEO of the year at the Football Business Awards he same year, Jenkins is offering hands on management to secure a bright future for the club that fought its way back into the Football League after dropping to the ninth tier and being forced into exile.

Newport will host Bradford City on Saturday with County manager Graham Coughlan at the centre of speculation linking him with the managerial vacancy at Cheltenham Town.

Newport are currently 12th in League Two.

Coughlan said: “I don’t know much about it and would rather concentrate on Bradford. We have 24 hours to prepare for a big game and that is where my focus is.”

While Jenkins re-emerges, current Swansea City head coach Michael Duff is in danger of sinking fast.

The former Northern Ireland international has yet to win a Championship match this season and knows the pressure is mounting with the Swans in the relegation zone.

On Saturday, the club host fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday.

Duff admitted: “We need a win. The players need a win. I want to win more than anyone.

“I have been given a massive responsibility at this football club and I want to leave it in a better place than I found it.

“At the minute we are nowhere near where we want to get to. But you can’t stick the cherry on top before building the foundations.”

It may have been a slip of the tongue, but Duff admitted after defeat at QPR that managers who go 10 games without winning often end up being sacked.

He’s already up to seven.

Swansea will be without the suspended Ollie Cooper and injured Joe Allen, Liam Walsh and Kyle Naughton.

Wrexham could move into the automatic promotion places in League Two if they win away at Stockport County on Saturday.

Phil Parkinson’s team are currently fourth – three points behind leaders Gillingham – and are unbeaten in seven games after losing their opening game at home to MK Dons.

https://twitter.com/BBCSportWales/status/1705276311239827641?s=20

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