Friday, December 15, 2006

Our AGM Questions Answered By Alistair Mackintosh

Last week we mentioned the three questions we would like to ask at the AGM. We attended the AGM and Colin Savage has written his report which we published here. As Bobster kindly pointed out re Colin's report we didn't mention if we had asked our questions or not so here's the lowdown.

Colin S asked our first question during the time available to consider the year end accounts. The full question was "Can the board confirm what exactly compromises our Freehold Land & Buildings and also confirm the details of the sale of the Reebok City property? In particular when it was sold, who to, for how much and why this was done? Are there any other plans to sell off further assets in this way?"

Alistair Mackintosh confirmed that the Reebok City shop had been sold to "City investors" and went on to say that whilst these investors were not Manchester City fans they were now. Alistair Mackintosh did also add that the reason why the asset was sold was to get rid of the Council's interest. He did not elaborate what that interest was so we can only presume what it could be. Perhaps it was some sort of revenue sharing situation (like the stadium deal) or maybe the Council were owed monies secured against Reebok City or maybe something else.

Alistair Mackintosh did not give away the names of the new owners of Reebok City or the terms of the deal or indeed if there are plans to sell off further assets in this way.

I asked our second question during the open question session. The full question was "If it wasn't for the sale of Shaun Wight-Phillips the club would have made a significant loss from normal activities and we note that the loan interest due to John Wardle & David Makin continues to be added to their loan balances on an annual basis. What plans have the club put in place to ensure that the club does not have to continue to rely on selling off its best young players to avoid significant losses in the future and start to reduce the loans owing to the club's major shareholders or at least pay the annual loan interest due?"

Alistair Mackintosh said that John Wardle & David Makin had not requested payments of their loans or interest and intimated that if they did it may take away funds from other areas. He praised John Wardle & David Makin's current stance as I am sure we all do. Personally (and I've said this many times before) I feel that John Wardle and David Makin should be applauded for being saviours of our club who have not only risked large sums of money providing finance to the club but in doing so have also brought stability to our club. According to Alistair Mackintosh they do not want payments at the moment as they may affect others areas of the club, that in itself is commendable but it would be nice if the club could afford to at least pay these gentlemen the loan interest due each year.

Alistair Mackintosh did not comment if there were plans in place to start making loan repayments or paying the loan interest in the future. He also did not make any comment about selling off our best young players to avoid significant losses in the future and that was the main thrust of the question. I suppose only time will tell what action the club may take in this regard.

We didn't ask our third question "The current board have overseen a continued decrease in attendances at the ground that not only contributes to a loss of atmosphere but has an affect on matchday income and may affect the marketability of the club when trying to attract new players and/ or new investors. What does the club think is the cause of this alarming slide and what plans has it put in place to deal with this?". There were many questions being asked and some had already been asked touching on areas raised by this question.

All in all, the answers we received weren't satisfactory and would make some politicians envious but that is not to say that there was anything untoward in that. Alistair Mackintosh answered the questions honestly and to the best of his ability appearing to give as much insight and information as he could at that time.

From a personal point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed the AGM. Colin mentioned the comedic fella near the end of the questioning, he stood up and started by saying "I used to be a Manchester United fan" immediately I felt the whole room was against him as numerous comments and noises were made, he then proceeded with what I can only describe as a number of incoherent unplanned personal observations. I don't actually think he was making any point or indeed raising a question and I don't think anyone answered anyway!

I met a lot of shareholders at the AGM many of whom have subscribed to our newsletter or I had exchanged e-mails with or spoken to on the phone. It's always great to meet people face to face and I look forward to meeting and talking with more of you.

Best wishes



At 3:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone ask a question similar to your 3rd one?


At 9:49 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just posted this on the MEN site and on the off chance it doesn't get published I thought I'd put it here to as I am starting to get very tired and emotional about all this take over talk, so apologies in advance!...

I feel extremely sorry for JW. He has pumped a significant amount of his personal wealth into the club - yes it's a loan and is accruing interest, however he is not drawing any of it yet and has no plans to until we are on a suitable footing to do so. However, it was clear from the AGM he is a very shy man and was really uncomfortable heading it up. Alistair Mackintosh fielded the majority of the questions and seems therefore to wield considerable influence at the club. With all that in mind, it does now make you wonder about the timing of the annoincemenent of a take over etc, considering we are being fed by the press that the trail is getting cold - "talks in progress", "funds in Jan", "Unlikely to happen before summer", "very ealry stages" and now "IF it happens". I am not one to threaten withdrawal of my custom lightly. I love City with all my heart and soul. I have put up with/accepted the detritus that has come along the way since I started going in 1975. I understand all our shortcomings and again made the choice to be there through thick and thin. If all this takeover talk is a smokescreen, as has been alleged, I am genuinely not sure if I could go on doing it. It would be one kick in the guts too many from the club. As I have said on other posts, the club is playing with fire.

At 12:28 pm, Anonymous Concerned Blue, Cheadle Hulme said...

With regards to the Trust's showing at the AGM I feel I must note my disappointment in the performance of your nominated speakers.

As a City fan and shareholder I was hoping to hear a strong, professional and articulate speaker expressing the aspirations and concerns that many City fans hold and providing useful suggestion as to how the club can progress.

This, for me, was certainly not the case, more an attempt to discuss minutia or state the obvious. If this trust is to have any useful impact those leading it have to earn the respect and (crucial word this) TRUST of those they seek to represent (fans and small shareholders) and those they wish to work with (the board).

After the bumbling ramblings of Messrs Savage and Goddard I would be extremely dubious about lending my support to the trust and I'm sure the board will (and should) have similar reservations if this was the best the trust has to offer.

I appreciate that speaking in public is not easy. It is no random coincidence that any company worth its salt has a designated PR department. Perhaps the trust, currently limited to four members by their own choice, should consider its need to communicate appropriately and effectively before it puts its head above the parapet again.


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