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Frustration aside... what about the investment?

By Jamie Rowland :  05/09/2008 :  Comments (9) :
In one of the posts I read recently, Laurence Hart shows that even without the clout of Messrs Kenwright, Earl and Woods, the the EGM poll vote would have been 3000+ against and still only 622 for. (Approx? I can?t remember the exact figures). There is a follow-up post that says this is due to the other larger shareholders (Grantchester and Abercromby) and that they are apparently pro-Kirkby. Tthis was given as a criticism but correct me if I am wrong? wasn?t the whole point of the EGM to cause a vote relating to the support of Kirkby?

People are calling it [the EGM poll] unfair because the show of hands gave a different story. That was the case but this is business and not a public business. The business is run by those who have the most at stake and as a result they get to say exactly how their money is invested ? so a show of hands is hardly applicable.

In the main room on the night, there were business men, workers and, unfortunately those of limited education (in comparison) that were completely led by their heart and what information they could read on websites etc. So why should these people be able to govern, equally, what happens to Bill Kenwright?s (or more importantly, my) investment? It's simply not fair.

To argue that it's all for Mr Kenwright?s own hidden agenda is also not fair. Why? Because of course it is for his own agenda! He?s a business man and he has to make money. He is looking after Everton FC (because of his love for the club) but he also has to look after his investment and you CANNOT criticise him for that unless you are extremely stupid and are happy with people taking money off you for nothing!

Just to bring it down to the minnows level? How many times have you faced redundancy and looked for new jobs with the notation of ?as long as the mortgage is paid and food is on the table?? If you haven?t realised yet ? that?s called protecting your investment (its just a different type of investment). Nobody criticises you for that. Nobody criticises Alan Sugar when he speculates on the oil market, pushing the prices up further ? protecting his investment!? We often confuse this for greed when talking about people who have it better than us.

The state of the club is not in our hands and we have to accept that. Calling EGMs is not a bad thing if we use them correctly. We should be using these opportunities to voice concerns rather than to object against something that can be easily batted down. My concern is not with the stadium move/redevelopment because I am fed up of hearing about the problem with nobody offering real solutions. I am fed up of fans (and the Board) using it as a tool to argue (yes argue, not debate).

I would rather have focused on the fact that the Board has agreed that they cannot continue in the current climate. Millionaires vs Billionaires. This concerns me greatly ? it?s shocking that we are in this kind of predicament and there is no real plan to get us out of it. The Board has effectively said that this summer was the worst and it's only going to deteriorate further. To me this is a much bigger problem that needs addressing much quicker.

We can debate that the stadium is all part of the plan to attract investment (and it is) but a billionaire wouldn?t be phased by a £230m stadium plan. The stadium is only part of a plan to keep the club afloat. The real cause has to be to attract a buy-out and I feel that efforts should be concentrated on achieving this as a priority.

We should have really hit them hard about Mr Kenwright?s comments on this issue and put them on the spot. We should have come away with clear actions on searching for investment and divulging those opportunities to the shareholders. We should had forced promises that it will be actively searched (with targets) and forced good communication regarding new investment and investors.

I posted in frustration about the EGM being a waste of time but I aimed my frustration at a different reasoning. I am clearing that up here. The EGM wasn?t a waste of time but it did miss the point. The stadium and exclusivity with the current partners is no longer an issue ? it?s a done deal and always was going to be done deal. There was little point raising the issue again and there?s absolutely no point raising it in the future (unless the inquiry is unsuccessful).

We should no concentrate upon pushing for investment and having any opportunities presented to the shareholders (and fans) for agreement. We can?t force Mr Kenwright to sell (well, we can... but it's difficult) his property but we can apply pressure to him and his Board.

Stadium aside? Investment is the ONLY way forward and I, for one, am sorry that we missed a great opportunity to ask the questions and set clear actions and targets for finding and securing future investment.

I apologise for aiming my criticism at Mark Grayson but I feel he missed a fantastic opportunity to apply pressure where it would have really counted. Perhaps I also failed by not provoking the discussion myself.

Reader Comments

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Kev Wainwright
1   Posted 05/09/2008 at 16:11:50

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I think that the nature of this post is regrettable have the main points are correct. Some, not all, of the people going to the EGM were a little misguided and perhaps out of their depth. An example is the question that was asked on a 999 year leasehold meaning that we didn’t own the ground. All that happens when a question like this is asked is that a people laugh off the issue in the way that you have and that is not right.

For me the ground move question, appear almost as if Kenwright and KEIOC are working together to stop the real questions being asked. The real questions should be around the debt of True Blue and where that went, the level of investment in the compnay by the directors, adn the cash position of the compnay going forward over the next five years.

The real pressure should be around the gross undercapitiasion of the company and all pressure exerted in trying to force the raising of capital by a share issue.

It is frustrating that people are just not thinking.
Jamie Rowland
2   Posted 05/09/2008 at 16:30:26

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Kev Wainwright - Your being a little unfair to say that I laugh off the issue of the stadium. (unless I am understanding your meaning incorrectly). You have approaced my point from a slightly different angle, talking about the debt.

But my point is that the Stadium, barring the government disallowing it, is a done deal.

The real questions we have to focus on relates to future (Both short and long term) finances and for me, investment.

Bill Kenwright basically blames the transfer frustration on the inability to raise any more funding. He has gone past his limit and from what I read and see, the club cannot borrow anymore.

So the questions that need to be raised NOW relate to obtaining sufficient investment. We, as a collective group of share holders, should have hit hard on investment as the PRIORITY and not used the stadium as a battering ram to ruffle the feathers of the board.

I liked your comment. Again - a thought provoking response - what debate is all about. (many posts seem to turn into an arguement at the moment).
Ivor Keyes
3   Posted 05/09/2008 at 17:03:16

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If the majority of the individuals present at the EGM were representative of the average fan, and therefore the show of hands is merely and expresion of their concerns regarding the site of a new stadium, what has changed since last year when evidently there was a majority of fans in favour of the move?

Everyone must know who owns and therefore governs the Club by virtue of their share holding. But the fans who walk through the turnstiles etc are the customers and felt the need to be heard. They are collectively important to the future of the club.

On the investment front I wish I knew why no one out there thinks that Everton FC is as worth investing in as say Manchester City, Aston Villa or Newcastle United given the recent success by way of the Premier League table. What does the Club/team have to do to win over the type of investor the Board believes we must have?

Richard Harris
4   Posted 05/09/2008 at 17:15:36

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Jamie Rowland wrote "To argue that it?s all for Mr Kenwright?s own hidden agenda is also not fair. Why? Because of course it is for his own agenda! He?s a business man and he has to make money. He is looking after Everton FC (because of his love for the club) but he also has to look after his investment and you CANNOT criticise him for that unless you are extremely stupid and are happy with people taking money off you for nothing!"

That would be fine just to judge Bill Kenwright on his performance as a business man but when the going gets tough we get all the misty eyed nostalgia and the "I?m just a fan like everyone else" talk. Imagine if Bill Kenwright had been Doug Ellis instead (who was a better business man and ran Aston Villa better than Bill Kenwright or Peter Johnson). Would we have been as sympathetic if Doug Ellis had run our club like Bill Kenwright has? I very much doubt it!!
James Asquith
5   Posted 05/09/2008 at 19:59:00

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Jamie,

I don?t think anyone (at least not anyone with any sense) is, as you suggest, calling the poll vote itself unfair. It is certainly being spun by the club as a massive backing for the move by the shareholders. Which, given the minority of individual shareholders who actually voted with the board, is you must agree a little misleading to say the least.

"So why should these people be able to govern, equally, what happens to Bill Kenwright?s (or more importantly, my) investment? It?s simply not fair."

I oppose the move. I was there on Wednesday. I asked questions, and (sometimes) I even got answers.

But I wasn?t trying to "govern" your investment or anyone else?s. I was exercising my rights, as a shareholder, to be given information on how my investment is being used.

You say that the EGM was a wasted opportunity to push for investment, but prior to the meeting, the board had let it be known that any divergence from the specific topics mentioned on the requisition would allow them to call a halt and send us all home.

No wonder then that many people felt beforehand they needed to focus on what was on the agenda and try to clear up some of the confusion surrounding aspects of the project. In the end, the board themselves departed majorly from the tight confines of that agenda, leaving many people unprepared to question them closely on other matters rasied.

If I had known beforehand that they would bring up redevelopment of Goodison, I may have prepared questions on the detail of their presentation. Redeveloping Goodison was not on the agenda, so I didn?t for fear of giving the board an opportunity to close the meeting and duck out of any further questions at all.

Maybe that just shows I?m not good enough at thinking on my feet, but please don?t criticise me for trying honestly to elicit information about a project which will have a huge impact on my financial and, much more importantly my emotional, investment in Everton.
Neil Adderley
6   Posted 06/09/2008 at 00:56:54

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Jamie Rowland and Kev Wainwright;

Given your article and reply, I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention. If you had then you would have been aware that the shareholders who called for Wednesday’s EGM actually pre-empted the poll vote with a new requisition for a further EGM in regards to amongst other things the finances of the club under the current chairman’s tenure. The resolution I believe is for a show-of-hands vote of no confidence in Kenwright and the board, specifically regarding their ability to take Everton Football Club forward.

Given, as pointed out by Jamie Rowland, Kenwright and the board have "agreed that they cannot continue in the current climate. Millionaires vs Billionaires. This concerns me greatly ? it?s shocking that we are in this kind of predicament and there is no real plan to get us out of it. The Board has effectively said that this summer was the worst and it’s only going to deteriorate further. To me this is a much bigger problem that needs addressing much quicker." And Kev Wainwright’s suggestion that "The real questions should be around the debt of True Blue and where that went, the level of investment in the compnay by the directors, adn the cash position of the compnay going forward over the next five years."

I’m hoping both will give their full backing to the convening of a further EGM;

Shareholders letter;

http://www.scribd.com/doc/5363883/Fellow-shareholder-letter

And new EGM petition;

The Directors/Company Secretary
Everton Football Club Limited ("the Company")
Goodison Park
Liverpool
L4 4EL


REQUISITION BY MEMBERS OF EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

(Section 303 Companies Act 2006 and Article 10.3 of the Company?s Articles of Association)

Dear Sirs

We, the undersigned, being not less than one-fifth in number of members of the company as at the date of this notice REQUIRE you forthwith to proceed to convene a general meeting of the Company for the purpose of

1. Obtaining from the Board of Directors their comments on the financial performance of the club over the past eight years and under the chairmanship of Mr Kenwright and his fellow directors, specifically;

1.1 the effect on the football club of the decision to implement a policy of outsourcing commercial activities.

1.2 the effect and current status of implementing a policy of asset disposal and utilization.

1.3 the current level of debt and the club?s ability to service that debt whilst operating as a football club in the English Premier League.

1.4 the effect of relocating or not relocating in respect of the club?s ability to generate sufficient funds to meet current financial commitments.

1.5 the ability of the board to generate sufficient revenue to enable Everton Football Club to be competitive in a transfer market dominated by wealthy football club benefactors.

1.6 clarification concerning the sudden departure of both Trevor Birch and Keith Wyness from their role as CEO of Everton Football Club.

2. Obtaining from the Board of Directors actual details and a full account of past, present and future investment in the football club, specifically;

2.1 the level of actual investment into the club made by each individual member of the board directors above and beyond their acquisition of shareholding.

2.2 actual details and a full account of the search for additional outside investment undertaken in recent years in relation to the aforementioned financial performance of the football club.

2.3 clarification of approaches made to the board concerning any interest to acquire a major shareholding in the club and also clarification of the board?s interpretation of investment and whether or not the club is genuinely open to offers of external investment.

2.4 the extent of Sir Philip Green?s involvement in Everton Football Club.

2.5 an overview of the financial strategy that the club intends to implement over the next three years in relation to the aforementioned financial performance in recent years

3. Obtaining from the Board of Directors clarification of the situation to secure the services of David Moyes beyond his current contract in light of media statements that Mr Moyes wishes to work at a club that can match his ambition.

4. Obtaining from the Board of Directors further comments on the stadium issue, specifically;

4.1 the benefits of the exclusivity deal that is preventing the club from fully exploring alternative solutions to the stadium issue.

4.2 the concerns raised and potential effects on the clubs business strategy due to anticipated problems with the proposed transport plan at Kirkby which may deter supporters from attending football matches.

4.3 in light of the chairman?s comments that Goodison Park may soon struggle to attain a safety certificate.

5. To have a show of hands to pass a resolution, on receipt of the answers given by the board to the aforementioned questions, in relation to the shareholders confidence in the ability of the board to act in and secure the best long term interests of Everton Football Club.


http://www.scribd.com/doc/5363857/New-EGM-Petition
Ste Barton
7   Posted 06/09/2008 at 05:50:13

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Thanks for the links Neil,

very interesting and worrying.

Anybody know what is the latest regarding the "new EGM petition" ?
Alan Ross
8   Posted 06/09/2008 at 08:29:26

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Jamie

"the state of the club is not in our hands and we have to accept that"

For one thing, the fanbase is the club and vice versa. No fans, No club. No club, no fans. The state of the club is VERY MUCH in our hands. Accepting the obverse is mearly accepting Kenwright's propaganda line.

The exclusivity agreement is all part of that propaganda line. A smokescreen to exclude the ordinary fan from participation and other alternatives from consideration. Whatever deal Kenwright and Tesco have going financially the fanbase was the last on their list of considerations. It also detracts from from looking into a real alternative, namely Walton Hall Park.

The cost of Kirkby to Everton now runs at nearer £100m. If anything illustrates the sham of this scheme its the ever spiralling costs that started out at zero for a World class stadium to £100m for a gloryfied cowshed.

To simply turn away from ever looking at alternatives while the mounting evidence suggests it would be the more prudent route not only smacks of mismanagement but of a hidden agenda.
Alan Ross
9   Posted 06/09/2008 at 09:15:57

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I would add a footnote to what I’ve just written. When people say that BK is a true blue and his instincts would avoid causing harm to EFC I would entirely agree. But I would also argue that Mike Ashley is a true Newcastle fan and look what a fuckup he’s made of things.


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