Multi-millionaire fan John Wallis last night insisted he is determined to go ahead with his bid to buy Fulham.
The internet-gambling tycoon has employed a company to examine the club’s finances with a view to mounting a formal bid this week.
Wallis’ interest was revealed last week by the News of the World, but Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed issued a denial that the club is for sale.
Now his statement has been flatly contradicted by a senior member of Wallis’ firm.
Mike Caselli, head of communication and PR at Casino Fortune, said: “The group of people put in place to pursue Fulham Football Club are still working on it.
“John may be a little embarrassed because Al Fayed put up a stonewall and said ‘We’re not selling. You guys don’t have the £130million I want.’ But that doesn’t suggest to me he’s not selling, more like £130m is the figure he wants.
“If we offered him $2billion he’d sell. So saying the club’s not for sale is kind of a ridiculous statement.”
Wallis was in the directors’ box at Craven Cottage last Saturday and is a long-standing fan of the club.
Brought up in Hammersmith, he has been a supporter for more than 40 years.
He owns businesses worldwide within the leisure, education, restaurant and jewellery industries and has casinos in Barbados and Estonia. Caselli added: “This week our company may come back and say ‘here’s our bid, we’re offering Al Fayed this much.’ That is not unlikely.
“The intention was for a bid for Fulham. We showed up with brokers to help us broker a deal.
“We employed a company to go for the purchase of the club, we were in the initial stages of compiling reports, taking photographs of Craven Cottage and had a friendly face-to-face with the directors.
“We told the directors that we were interested in shirt sponsorship because we were advised by the brokers NOT to say ‘we’re here to buy your club.’
“I believe we are still in negotiations, I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.
“I know we’ve contracted a company to do a certain amount of work on that-I think the retainer was three months-and I’m sure Mohamed’s going to sell for a certain amount.
“We will see what happens.”