Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fan On The Board Our Opinion

We’ve seen and heard a few things in the press and on the message-boards about a main aim of the proposed trust to put a “fan” on the board. As you all know, the trust has not been formed yet and we are working towards a public Open Meeting early next year where we will present our proposals for the potential membership to vote on.

We have five aims for the trust which are currently in draft form which we expect to finalise over the next week or so, at that stage we will publicise an aim at a time and explain our rationale for each aim. In the meantime, we want to clarify the “Fan on the Board” issue as it is important that we continue to be clear on this subject.

However there seem to be a couple of myths around the issue of supporters as directors.

(1) Supporters don’t belong on the board.

We don’t believe this and neither do Supporters Direct. Chairmen, directors, managers and players come and go but fans are here for the long term. Who is better equipped to influence the long-term direction of the club? Who really has the long-term interest of the club at heart? Who will put that long-term interest before worrying how they are going to maximise or recover the value of their investment? Our fans, that’s who.

Of course any representative of the trust put forward for such a role must have the appropriate background and skills that will complement and enhance the current board. Any representative of the trust must not be there just to be the voice of the fans but to add something to the existing board. Many supporters of Manchester City probably have the requisite skills and experience. So do many supporters at other clubs.

Of course there are issues with having a trust representative on the board. The most obvious one is who their loyalty is to. Confidential matters discussed clearly can’t go out the boardroom. There needs to be agreement between all parties as to what can and can’t be reported to the trust. It’s not easy but it can be achieved and has been at a number of clubs.

(2) You have to have a lot of shares or put in a lot of money to be on the board.

Of the current board, John Wardle has around 16% of the shares in his own name and another 13% in trust with David Makin. They have put in a lot of money, which they’ve not received a penny of back. They are also undoubtedly fans. Mark Boler represents the shareholding of 18.75% built up by his late father. In both these circumstances, it is natural that they should have a seat on the board. The other three directors are there for their skills rather than their investment in either shares or cash.

The supporters of Manchester City have invested a lot of money in the club over many years. We pay for season tickets and buy club merchandise. We also own shares. The big four shareholders own two thirds of the shares so we can assume that fans hold the other third, in various quantities. That’s more than double the holding of John Wardle.

From when we started in earnest three months ago and more recently on Thursday 2 November 2006 on this blog we have made our views known. The formation of the trust is a good few months off and it is too early to tell how much support or funds will be raised.

We have already said that representation on the board of Manchester City plc will depend upon the amount of shares under the direct and indirect control of the trust and the views of the trust membership. It will also depend, as we’ve already said on having potential representatives with the appropriate experience. However, we're not worrying about that at the moment as it's a long way off.

Until the appropriate time, discussion about representation on the board is premature but we do feel that when the trust has a significant shareholding either directly and/ or indirectly it will be an important issue for the board of the trust and it’s membership, at that time, to debate internally before approaching Manchester City plc.

One thing that we can be sure of, is that not one of us feels that we have the requisite skills or experience to be able to represent the trust on the board of Manchester City Plc should or when that time comes.

4 Comments:

At 10:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a lot more credence would be given to the trust if contributions went to shareholdings. I fully believe in what you and others are trying to achieve, if only to have a voice and view on decisions the club takes because as fans ultimately all we care about is the wellbeing of the club.

If as a fan I knew by contributing £100 or £200 (whatever sum) that 80% of that contribution would go to purchasing shares to help our cause (and I as a contributer would retain my value in the trust) then I would pay this. In time we could become a shareholder with rights to really effect decisions and maybe also get a real insight into the workings of our club.

Good luck you deserve it.

 
At 10:55 pm, Blogger Ollie said...

Anonymous, how the trust spends the funds it raises will be determined by the membership by vote and the board will have to put forward the proposals in that respect. I can honestly say that we have not discussed this between ourselves or with Supporters Direct or the many people/ organisations we have been using for feedback & advice. What I am about to say is my personal opinion and not that of the trust working party. I agree with what you say and would back 75 to 80% of funds raised being spent to purchase shares in the club, with the rest set aside for other projects like community based projects for example. Best wishes Ollie

 
At 2:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Ollie



great work on setting up the trust

im a life long city fan living in New zealand and was shocked to here this year my old could not afford to go to the games any longer as discounted tickets for OAPS HAVE BEEN STOPPEd the cheapest they can get is$15. not fair on some one who has followed the club for 60 years. the club they has the cheek to ask why fans dont come to game ill give you 10'000 reasons PRICE

any way what im offering ollie is my Vote at the AGM from now on. I am a share holder have been for 10 years.if you contact me on private email ill jack this up
thats if you want the vote

i also run the City centenial suporters club for nz

my emai is mcfcnz@slingshot.co.nz


cheers Mark

 
At 4:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

City do community stuff. So do charities. That should not be a goal of the Trust. Every penny should be spent in shares or in support of the Trust per se. Don't weaken the objective or dilute the message.

 

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