Saturday, February 09, 2008

Give it a rest, Blues

"I think the supporters would be horrified if Carson Yeung had a representative on the board of directors, given what has already taken place," says David Sullivan. He's referring to the fact that Grandtop International, which purchased 29.9 per cent of the club for £15m from our current owners to become the club's largest single shareholder, has proposed to appoint two of its own non-executive directors to the club's board.

Perhaps before our directors start throwing rocks around the greenhouse, they should consider the following "horrifying" facts:
1. Having told fans they wouldn't sell the club to anyone who would put its future at risk, they allowed Carson Yeung to make a bid for the club without verifying how he intended to fund the acquisition of the club. Had Yeung found the funds before the board's imposed December deadline, they would now be sailing off into the sunset with a cool £30m while we sweated over our club's future.
2. Our directors have already pocketed £15m from this deal. Astute businessmen that they are, they have no intention of putting that money back into the club directly, which would be fair enough if - while telling us they don't want to jeopardise their children's inheritance in one breath, they push up prices and ask all season ticket holders with children to jeopardise their own children's future in the next breath.
3. Having decided they would not sell to Yeung, the directors made assurances they would increase their own holdings to regain a combined majority shareholding in the club (they currently own around 47 per cent between them). This has not happened, so while Yeung's bid for representation on the board will almost certainly fail, it's not a given.

I would welcome a seat on the board for Mr Yeung. He is the club's largest single shareholder and has invested £15m into purchasing that shareholding. Perhaps if the board had given Yeung a place on the board back in August there would have been no communication issues that resulted in the situation descending into farce over the following months. Perhaps Yeung would have found it easier to raise the cash he needed to complete the deal.

No, I have no sympathy for our owners. They've spun things out one too many times for me, with their empty promises ("We'll dip into our own pockets" said Chairman Gold prior to this transfer window opening, but in the end he had no need to. Besides, when our owners say they'll pay out of their own pockets, they actually mean they'll lend the money before recouping it in the following transfer window). It was their dithering in 2005-6 - neither backing Bruce in the transfer market because they no longer trusted him, or sacking him to give us a fighting chance of survival - that cost us our Premiership spot in the first place. This season has been overshadowed by the whole Yeung thing, which gave them the perfect excuse to keep their hands firmly out of their pockets while distracting everyone again from the main task at hand. It led to Bruce's departure and the appointment of a manager who may well come good in the months to come, but who currently appears to have been a "flavour of the month" appointment. Our board's judgement has been well and truly shot to pieces over the last few years, and the sooner they leave us to either our own devices (they could walk away tomorrow and the club wouldn't fold because in financial terms, it's very well run) or find some suitable seller the better for all of us.

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