Tom Piatak wants his Carlisle United takeover to be completed by mid-October – and has publicly called on Purepay to resolve the club’s debt situation once and for all.

The American businessman plus five family members received a hugely positive response when they set out their plans to supporters’ trust members today.

And Piatak, speaking to the News & Star after the CUOSC meeting in Carlisle, said he is keen to get things over the line soon – including a conclusion to the long-running debt saga.

“We want this to happen, we’re committed to this happening,” he said.

“Around October 14-20 is when I would like to see this done.”

Piatak told trust members he was “confident” the debt situation – previously described as a significant hurdle to the deal – could be resolved.

United’s repeated efforts in recent months to agree a repayment plan on their seven-figure debt has not yet been successful.

The meeting, attended by nearly 200 people in person and a further 200 CUOSC members via an online stream, heard that “a text message” has been received by the club in recent days to say a reply to the club’s recent correspondence is expected from Purepay “in the next few days”.

LISTEN: Tom Piatak on the Carlisle United takeover

Piatak said the prospect of a new dawn for Carlisle United should bring all parties to the table to settle the matter.

“They put money into the club – whether that was EWM [Edinburgh Woollen Mill], whoever…money came into the club, and [now] it needs to be resolved," he said.

“You have to talk. They [Purepay] have goals and objectives, the club does, we do…I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.

“And we just need to have the communication to move it forward.

“I am confident that it will get solved. I can’t understand how it cannot get solved when you have a party here willing to say, ‘Let’s figure this out collectively’.

“They were supporters that put money in. I assume they’re supporters today – we just need to have a dialogue. My message is let’s just talk, let’s bring this to closure.

“The time is right – let’s not let this moment slip by. I won’t let it, my family won’t let it. We are committed to bringing this over the finish line.”

Piatak said that it could “present a problem” should there remain no communication with Purepay.

News and Star: Tom Piatak, third left, was joined at the meeting by wife Patty, fourth left, son Tom II and his wife Alice, second and first right, and daughter Jenna and her fiance Nick DeMasi, second and first leftTom Piatak, third left, was joined at the meeting by wife Patty, fourth left, son Tom II and his wife Alice, second and first right, and daughter Jenna and her fiance Nick DeMasi, second and first left (Image: Barbara Abbott)

He added: “Right now the shareholders and the club have the responsibility to talk to them. If for some reason they can’t bring that to a conclusion, I would like to talk to them.

“I have not had any discussions with Purepay to this point. But I would if we can’t get it resolved.

“I’m confident that if I can have conversations with Purepay or representatives, I can figure this out. Whatever their demands are, I think we can get it resolved.

“I don’t want to hold up this transaction. I’m committed to not letting it. But if there’s absolutely no communication, there’s just too much unknown there and that could present a problem.

“How do we get them to talk, to come and just say, ‘this is what we want, what we need, what we’re willing to do’? How do we make that happen?

“I 110 per cent want to push this through and we’ll work with whatever parties – I don’t have the history, I just need to have that dialogue.

“It’s the right thing for the club – that should be the goal. How do we move the club forward? There’s a conflict here, let’s get together and resolve it as amicably as we can. And let’s move forward [to a] bright future.”

Piatak also revealed that information was submitted to the EFL last month to satisfy the league’s owners and directors test, adding: “It’s a pretty simple one, we’re not a complicated organisation.

“I believe the EFL will move through that pretty rapidly. There are early indications and the questions they’ve asked have been small, so I’m confident that’s going to be resolved.

“They’ve kind of told us a target date of when they’re going to make a decision. I’m expecting approval on that probably early October. Other than that, it’s just getting somebody to talk to us from Purepay.”

Piatak’s comments came after he led the family’s lengthy presentation on their interest in and plans for the club.

The businessman, who is the head of Magellan Transport Logistics and four other connected businesses in Florida, said the Piataks were in it for the long-term at Carlisle and wanted to grow the club rather than provide a “band-aid” short-term fix.

News and Star: Tom Piatak talks to CUOSC membersTom Piatak talks to CUOSC members (Image: Barbara Abbott)

After detailing his family's business background and approach, he explained the methodical process by which they settled on United as the target for their investment, saying the idea of investing into a professional sports club had been in the family's sights for some time given their "passion" for sport.

He said they narrowed things down in a businesslike fashion, preferring an English football club over an American franchise because they preferred to watch the English game.

They said they wanted to "build into" a club rather than buy into one already at high levels, and added that they were seeking a club that was the biggest in its geographical area, had grounds for commercial and infrastructure improvement, had strong fan representation and was open to dialogue.

Piatak said the family narrowed their search down to five clubs but Carlisle was comfortably top of the list, and their visits to watch the Blues emphasised the passion for the club which duly hooked them as negotiations with United owners, directors and CUOSC got under way.

The businessman, explaining their vision for the club, stressed the importance of building the Blues' infrastructure, including new training facilities and modernising Brunton Park – pledging that remaining at Carlisle’s current ground, rather than moving grounds, was the priority.

Piatak also repeated several times the promise that the takeover, with a newly-formed UK company Castle Sports Group as the vehicle, would be funded by equity investment, not debt, and said the first two years of their ownership would see more than twice the amount of equity invested than has happened in the history of the club.

He also spoke in glowing terms about Paul Simpson and said the manager would receive a “step change” budget for the January transfer window and also next season.

The takeover also requires a majority vote from CUOSC members on a resolution which will be put to them between tonight and next Wednesday. The trust board have urged members to vote in favour.

Asked about the response they received from fans at the meeting, Piatak said: “I thought the response was positive. [What we said] came from the heart – we’ve done a lot of analysis on the process that brought us to Carlisle.

“We believe in the club and what the club can be. I hope I answered the question ‘why Carlisle?’ because everybody’s been asking that and I wanted to get that [across] – while we love Carlisle now, it was a process we went through that brought us to Carlisle, and then after the discussions with the shareholders, then coming here, seeing the facilities, the people, we had such a warm welcome…I thought we would get a positive response.

News and Star: Tom Piatak gave a detailed presentation to CUOSC membersTom Piatak gave a detailed presentation to CUOSC members (Image: Barbara Abbott)

“I wanted to make it clear we’re putting equity in. We’re here for the long-term. I tried to emphasise to everyone, we’re zero debt. Sometimes from a business perspective, zero debt is not the smartest thing to do. But this is important to us – we want people to understand we’re jumping in and we’re in here for the long haul.

“I think it was well received and we’ll see how the vote turns out. I think they saw us as a family that is committed to what they do, and not venture capitalists or private equity…it was positive from the feedback I’ve seen so far, I’m hoping the vote goes our way but we’ll see.”

Piatak, who answered questions from members after the presentation, said it had been essential to explain how the family wanted to improve United for the long run.

“There was an interesting question about the teams that have struggled financially [after takeovers] and I fully understand that,” he said. “I hope I got across that we want to build the infrastructure.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure investment that’s been missing over the last five, ten, maybe 15 years that needs to happen. Once that’s in place and we’re committed to doing that, and the infrastructure is strong, that enables us to continue to move up.

“It’s not a quick win. It’s not a band-aid where we throw money at a player budget and just say ‘let’s buy it’. That’s not responsible in my mind.

“We need to work with Paul and the management team – what is the budget that’s necessary to compete in League One? That’s what we’re going to support, plus we can do the capital investment to move forward.

“Next year, what’s required to be at the top of the table in League One?

“We know he’s a great manager. We know he can do things with players that maybe other managers can’t.

News and Star: CUOSC members at the Piataks meetingCUOSC members at the Piataks meeting (Image: Barbara Abbott)

“I hope I set the expectation. We’re not saying ‘Premier League in two years’. I think that would be an absolute disaster for Carlisle and for us.

“But if we build the infrastructure, I think if we move up to the top tier of League One, [and aim to reach] the Championship, we’ll have the base and strength to continue to do that.

“I’m committed to the training facilities. We don’t have the training facilities. I don’t have that answer yet. But I know there’s a solution here. I know others in the community have some ideas of where might be a good facility.

“We need to work with the council, the developers, the businesses here, and say, ‘Ok, that’s it, let’s start executing phase one, two, three and move it forward’."

Piatak said that, while running a sustainable club is vital, "the sky's the limit" for Carlisle if they progress under the kind of owners the family intend to be.

Piatak was joined by wife Patty, son Tom II and his wife Alice, and daughter Jenna and her fiancé Nick DeMasi at the meeting in the Halston Hotel.

The former USA Army captain said that, while he and Patty are soon to go on holiday, that will not hold up the deal being concluded.

He added: “I would say ‘excited’ would be an understatement. We want this to happen, we’re committed to this happening.

“We’ve told everybody we have to leave for two to three weeks on a two-year-planned vacation that I wish wasn’t planned now, but it is…but this is our number one priority to get this done.

“We are more than excited. We want to hit the ground running. We want to do it methodically.

“I’ve communicated that if I’m not here, we’re fine with the representation we have that we can execute things as necessary. Our being on vacation won’t hold this up.”