John Ryan has bid Doncaster Rovers fans “a fond farewell” - fuelling speculation he is about to cut his ties with the club.
Former chairman Ryan posted the message on his Facebook account on Sunday following an interview with Insider magazine in which he broke his silence on his and Louis Tomlinson’s failed takeover attempt last summer.
When the Free Press contacted him this morning, Ryan denied he was about to sell his 24 per cent stake in Rovers.
Asked to clarify his post, he added: “I did an interview with Insider saying I wouldn’t be back in football, and that is the case.
“I won’t be back [at Doncaster Rovers].
“The response I’ve had from people on Facebook has been quite overwhelming.”
On Facebook he wrote: “To the fans of Doncaster Rovers, I want to thank you for an amazing journey and an unforgettable experience.
“I have so many happy memories at Rovers and want to thank the past and present players, managers, all the staff and you the fans.
“It would make my day if we win promotion to the Championship, as we were cruelly relegated.
“I will always support my home team DRFC and wish them all the best! Thanks again, JR.”
His post attracted hundreds of ‘likes’ and comments, to which Ryan responded this morning: “Thank you for your kind messages, I’m overwhelmed. I bid you all a fond farewell.”
Ryan, chairman of cosmetic surgery business MYA, said he was “finished with football” after his and Tomlinson’s takeover attempt was blocked by the Football League last July.
He told Insider last week that the deal fell through when investors pulled out at the last minute.
“I rescued Doncaster Rovers from the junkyard in 1998 and owned it virtually outright until 2006,” Ryan said.
“Then I brought two shareholders in who were directors of Keepmoat which had just sold out for £800m and the three of us beat Leeds at Wembley, got in the Championship and got a £30m stadium built.
“But to be honest, I’d done 15 years as chairman and did all the work in the club because the others were shareholders, so with MYA getting busier and busier I decided to resign.
“That was in 2013, but I still kept my shareholding which was about 30 per cent. Then Louis approached me and an offshore organisation had said they would put £12m into the club.
“Louis and I were ecstatic because we would run the club and we got on very well. But right at the last minute, the investors pulled out. They’d already paid a deposit of £500,000 but right at the death they pulled out.”