Petty Statement

Sunday, 2 December 2001, 0:01
3 mins read

” Since taking over Swansea City, my first job has been to help stabilise the Club’s finances. When I arrived, they were in a disastrous state and if things had carried on as they were there would have been no way for the Club to survive. In addition, this situation meant that no potential investors were prepared to inject new investment into the Club, given the shape it was in.

” In the first instance, this meant taking serious cost cutting measures in all areas of the Club, and paring down the Club’s enormous wage bill was our first task. I’ve already said that in terms of the way we were looking at losing players we made a mistake. But the fact is, not one player has been sacked from the Club, and all the players’ contracts are being honoured. What we have done, however, is to drastically reduce the costs of the Club overall, and we’ve already managed to cut the Club’s projected loss for this year, from £700,000 to £240,000. By June next year, I believe this projected loss will have actually fallen to zero.

” What we have done has been essential in order to start bringing the Club’s finances back to a healthier position, and begin the task of attracting new investment to the Club. This remains my aim, and has always been my aim right from the time I first read about the difficulties the Swans were having in finding a new owner, whilst visiting relatives in Swansea, in July, during the period of Mike Lewis’ temporary ownership. Attracting new investment and returning the club to success both on and off the pitch remains my key priority.

” I’, equally aware that the fans want to have an input into the Club. This was recognised too late by the Club’s previous owners, towards the end of their ownership of the Club, but is something we recognised from day one.

” The Supporters Trust, in particular, have made it clear that they want me to sell them the Club. However, I want to go much further. I want to give all the supporters of the Club a chance to have ownership in the Club, and I want to do it responsibly. Events at Chesterfield Football Club have shown how things can go badly wrong if such a process is not handled with care.

” To this end, I am going to give away, without charge, up to a third of the Club. I want this to be on an equal basis, which favours all fans alike, and the best way of ensuring this equality is to hand these shares directly to Swansea City season ticket holders. Due to the events of the past few weeks, our focus has not been where it should have been. For this reason, I am going to give any existing season ticket holder, or anyone who buys a season ticket before January 1st 2002, free shares in Swansea City. There will be no charge whatsoever for these shares, contrary to some reports, and these shares will also give fans full voting rights in the Club, without any financial liability at all. Altogether, when divided between season ticket holders, these shares will amount to one third of the entire Club. This is a unique give-away which will not only reward loyal supporters of the Swans but, I hope, will generate new season ticket holders, and most importantly, give supporters a real stake in their Club without any strings attached.

” I have appointed a highly respected and recognised specialist company to act as the Club’s registrars to apportion the Club’s shares. All supporters need to do in order to get their shares is complete the information sheet to be distributed by the registrars after January 1st 2002.

” I also intend to bring a supporter onto the Board of the Club, following the share allocation, to represent shareholding fans at Board level. I have been approached in recent weeks, by a number of fans that would like to develop a constructive supporter driven organisation to have positive dialogue with the Club, and give reasonable input on the Club’s activities. In addition, I think it only right and proper that a body representing the voice of the Club’s new shareholding supporters advises the club of its views on an ongoing basis. For this reason, I am currently discussing, at the invitation of fans, the formation of a Supporters Board. I would be delighted to have the constructive input of the Supporters Trust, and any other grouping of Swans fans in the process. I hope to have further news on this organisation, and the mechanism for appointing a supporter on to the club’s main Board shortly.

” In the meantime, I will be continuing discussions with groups who have already expressed an opinion in investing in the Club, and using the best of my abilities to bring fresh investment into the Club. These investors would also become shareholders of the Club.

” A time may well come where I am no longer the majority shareholder in the Club. If that time comes, I, and all my fellow Directors will have to seek re-election to the Board as per the legal practice in company law. If fans are unhappy with the running of the Club, they will have the power, through their block of shares, to exercise their democratic right to choose new Directors. This time, however, will not come before fresh investment has been secured, and Swansea City is, once again, a thriving football club.

” The whole club is now focused on the future success and stability of Swansea City, and that includes a move sometime in the future, to the new Morfa Stadium.” (All information at www.swanseacity.net is under copyright to Swansea City FC. Articles may only be reproduced, in part or whole, with due credit to this site)

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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