A deal not even Hull KR believed would happen: Why Tony Larvin takeover talks fell apart
IN KEEPING with all previous club comments on the matter, Hull KR brought the Tony Larvin investment saga to an end with the briefest of statements yesterday.
In short, it said that despite three months of talks – and promises of a £15m cash injection – the businessman had produced nothing.
First meeting the Mail back on December 13, the 48-year-old insisted his money would transform the club's fortunes.
He promised an improved stadium, an all-star team, major final appearances and a string of trophies – a 'Robins revolution', dare we say.
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Perhaps most significantly though, that very same day almost two months ago, he said he expected his first cash instalment to be in KR's account within a week.
Therefore, Rovers frustrations are easy to understand.
"I want Rovers to be financially secure for years and years to come," Larvin told the Mail in December.
"An eight figure sum sounds a lot, but the plans we have in mind will soon eat into that. This year is going to be our platform-building season. We will go out and start looking at making improvements to the squad and bringing in some marquee players for 2014.
"We will also get the gym done, get the academy up and running properly and start some proper building of the club's future."
It all sounded too good to be true, and it was with that in mind that the Mail took the decision not to publish the interview, or pictures of Larvin taken at MS3 Craven Park the following day, until his money came good.
The days passed and the money failed to materialise, and it was actually Larvin who made the matter public when turning to Twitter to drop hints over his potential takeover, using the hashtag 'robins revolution', shortly before Christmas.
With his identity creeping into the public domain, the Mail ran an extract from the interview on Christmas Eve, confirming he was the man in talks with the Robins.
And by New Year, Larvin was the talk of the town, and in constant dialogue with Rovers fans – a situation KR were uncomfortable with, but one out of their control.
Larvin attended the pre-season friendly at Gateshead, and even held court with fans in the bar at MS3 Craven Park following the friendly with Wigan, as he continued to outline his plans.
Such was his growing public profile, the Mail took the decision to run the full original interview, on January 10.
Larvin agreed to pose for new pictures in East Park, and claimed doubters would be proved wrong as his first £5m cash instalment was 'imminent'.
It was that which led to KR reluctantly making their first public acknowledgement of the talks the following day, but their statement effectively acted as a 'put up or shut up', stressing the club was still awaiting 'proof of funds'.
Rovers hoped the matter would be resolved ahead of a fans forum on January 23, but with it still dragging on, chairman Neil Hudgell announced a deadline for the end of the month had been agreed.
That deadline passed last Thursday, and yesterday, Rovers finally pulled the plug.
"The club can confirm that talks with Tony Larvin have ended regarding his potential investment," said an un-attributed Rovers statement.
"Club officials had been in contact with Mr Larvin during the last three months, but promised funds have not materialised."
And there it was.
From day one, Rovers had worried that anything which sounds too good to be true, usually is.
Yesterday's statement appeared to have marked KR's final acceptance of their long-held fears.
Having to shoulder losses of around £500,000 a year, Hudgell and Rob Crossland can't be criticised for entertaining Larvin, a man was still insisting to the Mail yesterday, after Rovers statement, that his money will come good.
"All I can say at this point is that I'm bitterly disappointed that the proposed investment into Hull KR hasn't transpired on the agreed date, and although I may have appeared to have missed the club's deadline, I'm still confident of investing in the club," Larvin told the Mail.
"None of my intentions have altered since my first meeting with Neil Hudgell and Rob Crossland and I would like to thank them and Hull KR for their patience in these ongoing matters."
Whilst Larvin hopes the matter remains open, KR look to have moved on.
"The club will now actively pursue other avenues of potential new investment," concluded the club's brief statement.
Given all that has happened in recent months, Rovers fans will no doubt be glad to hear the club is moving on.
And they will also hope any future potential investors learn a lesson from Larvin, and let their money do all the talking.