An insolvency firm has chosen a £1.8million bid to save the troubled Fulham British Legion club - despite it being £100,000 less than a rival offer.
The club, in New King's Road, went into voluntary liquidation with debts in June and called in liquidators Recovery HJS.
Car dealer Robert Bentley, who owns a flat above the club and has been heavily involved with it for decades, offered to buy the building and allow the Legion to remain at a peppercorn rent.
But rival bidder Richard Hickie (pictured), a Battersea property developer, put in an offer of £1.9m for the club, which presented similar terms to the Legion as well as, he says, increased cash-flow and security for members in the longer term.
To the amazement of Mr Hickie and some members, the liquidator chose Mr Bentley's lower bid on the recommendation of key committee members, including its president.
A Recovery HJS spokesman said "one offer was £100,000 higher than the other" and that club officers "resolved to accept the lower offer" at a meeting.
Mr Hickie said: "I can see no logical reason why we were turned down as we offered more money, the surplus of which would have benefited the club and without which it will probably fold within three years.
"The committee members are very close to Mr Bentley, but it's not been put to other members at all. It should be them making the decision."
Mr Bentley admitted club members were not widely consulted about the decision and that there had not been an AGM in some time.
He added: "At a meeting when the insolvency firm was appointed they voted unanimously for three committee members to make decisions on their behalf. I acted honourably."
Margaret Dearan has been club secretary for more than 15 years and was one of the members who accepted Mr Bentley's bid.
She refused to comment about the deal.