In a letter to Manton residents earlier today (Friday 16 August) landlord Howard Spooner announced that The Outside Chance ‘will have to close soon’.
He added that it was with sadness that the announcement had to be made but that it had been running at a loss for some years ‘- a situation we can no longer sustain’, and he thanked those who had supported the pub over the years.
He took over the Outside Chance eleven years ago (in partnership with then-local racehorse owner, Guy Sangster), investing the winnings from his lucky horse ‘Only Dreams’ that won against the odds as an outside chance. Guy Sangster sold his shares in the Outside Chance to Howard Spooner several years ago.
His letter explained that as a rented pub the financial constraints imposed by the owners, Wadworth on the tenant and licensee, in his view made it ‘impossible to run the pub as a buoyant business’.
This is the third of Howard Spooner’s pubs in this area to close. Most recently Lockeridge’s famous ‘Who’d A Thought It’ shut, eighteen months after being taken over and turned into a more upmarket top-end steak and gastro pub. Marlborough.news understand that The ‘Who’d A’ will likely be re-opening in the near future. This followed the ‘The Triple Crown’ in Marden which closed in 2011 after a year or so trading, which then reopened under its former name of The Millstream.
Freeholders Wadworth see a clear future for Manton’s Outside Chance although it is too early to say when it will reopen. Wadworth Operations Director for Tenanted Trade, Lloyd Stephens iussued the following statement:
‘We are disappointed that Howard Spooner has decided to cease trading at the Outside Chance Manton. Over the last month we have been in discussions with Howard Spooner, the current licensee of the Outside Chance pub in Manton and have tried to arrive at a solution that will both support Mr Spooner in continuing to operate the pub and benefit local suppliers and customers, but this has proved unsuccessful. Therefore we have not been able to agree a mutual way forward and the future of the Outside Chance as currently operated by Mr Spooner is unknown. As soon as we are able, we will update the community.’
Whether it will reopen as The Outside Chance, or it’s former name of ‘The Oddfellows Arms’, or something new is open to speculation but new licensees will be selected in due course and the pub re-opened, still under the Wadworth banner and serving the community of Manton and West Marlborough.