JA.net Meets The Board

Tuesday, 24 September 2002, 0:01
5 mins read

Both myself and “Bryan Evans” were invited to appear at the meeting and I duly turned up this afternoon to put my questions but Bryan declined. The members of the board accepted my word that I am not Bryan and I thank them for that. Understandably, they would have liked to be able to answer his questions to his face but were denied that opportunity.

Anyway, we sat down in the Swansea boardroom for a chat (I would have liked to say over coffee but no-one offered!!!) and this is what we discussed. Regulars to the site will know that last week, following the appointment of Brian Flynn as director of football, I asked several questions which I felt needed answering. The first point that Huw Jenkins made was that this could be done via a phone call and all three directors present (Huw was joined by Dave Morgan and Leigh Dineen) agreed on this point. Of course, not every fan will have the ability to pick up direct lines to these three people but it shows that the lines of communication to the Vetch are very much open as far as these three people are concerned and that has to be welcomed in all quarters.

My personal feelings about the timing of the change have no possibly changed but that is my belief. On talking to Leigh, Huw and Dave I can see their reasoning behind making the change when they did. They were clearly concerned about the drop in attendances and of course, like the rest of us, our league position. They felt that this change was a necessity now and, although I can disagree, I respect them for ‘taking the bull by the horns’ They have, as we are aware, talked to Brian Flynn in the past and they state that he was their first option. They are also all confident that Flynn is the man to take us away from the foot of the football league and we can only hope that their confidence is justified with a change around of results on the pitch.

The second of my gripes on Thursday concerned the lack of a chairman in place at the club. If you want a personal opinion on this one, then I would not want to be chairman if I had invested in the club and it was noticeable that three heads were nodding in agreement when I said this. Huw was quick to point out that the three of them tend to agree on most things which is always a bonus although Leigh did add at the end that when the Morfa is finished then a chairman is likely to be appointed. The other issue on this front concerns their business interests outside of the football club. We should remember (me more than most!) that Dave, Leigh and Huw are unpaid directors of a football club. All three earn their living outside of the club and therefore cannot offer the club the time that possibly a chairmanship demands. Huw pointed out that appointing a chairman would give the press a constant contact point and the three of them like to share this duty around wherever possible. Again, my belief is that we need a chairman but I can see the other side of this argument in what they are saying and I respect them for that.

Dave was particularly keen to clear up some of the points raised in Bryan’s article last Saturday particularly the presence of club solicitor, Steve Penney in the directors box. Steve has been appointed a non-executive director of the football club and has undertaken vast work for the club since the consortium was first formed. Whilst Steve is receiving fees for this it was pointed out that the hours he works for the club is nowhere in relation to the fees that he is receiving and that someone had worked out an approximate figure of what the fees could be and it is frightening costs. John Collins, the firm that Steve Penney is a senior partner in also advertise in the programme and any new income that the adverts generate for the firm see a proportion being passed back to the supporter’s trust which is a commendable action.

Onto the presence of people in the directors box. All three directors were speaking with one voice when they said that they would all rather sit/stand where they had done for years before becoming directors. Leigh was particularly keen to point out that he is now unable to sit with his son at matches and would rather enjoy a pint or two before the game as he has done for years rather than don the shirt and tie as he now has to do. Following on from comments on the Message Board as well, I asked Leigh what he reported back to the Supporter’s Trust and whether he had to ask the trust board before decisions were made. The answer was a simple “Not on everything, but the trust board is well aware of the general state of the football club and what in general the board is thinking” I was also surprised to hear at this point that the membership of the trust was lower than I believed it to be due to non-renewal of some memberships which must be a disappointment to those that work hard there behind the scenes and Leigh was quick to add that any member who wants to be kept aware of more aspects of the club should put themselves up for nomination to the trust board. With regards to Bryan’s accusation of a club investor being offered a seat in the director’s box, this was denied quickly by Dave Morgan with the words “No-one has been offered that” Dave also added that if the supporters were in anyway concerned about their representative on the board then they shouldn’t be and that Leigh puts more into the football club than they would have expected of anyone.

A discussion was also held around the silent investors at the club. Huw stated that some people had invested at the time of the takeover but had no control over club matters and that the three people in the boardroom made the day to day decisions without the need to consult these silent investors.

The meeting drew to a close with Huw Jenkins stating that all supporters were entitled to their opinion no matter what it was. None of the three people were claiming to be perfect in the way that they were running the club and they are prepared to make mistakes and learn from them.

No-one can, or I don’t believe ever has, denied that these people are Swansea fans, just as much as you or I. You have to give them credit for sticking themselves into the public limelight which is not an easy thing to do. When you are in a position of controlling something that means so much to so many you are going to get criticism and they seem to accept that. However, they have re-iterated that the lines of communication are open and that for the first time we have a board that will listen to what the fans are saying. Much criticism has been thrown at recent owners for their lack of communication with the fans so we have taken a step in the right direction.

Whether Brian Flynn is the man to save our football league status then I remain to be convinced but I keep my fingers crossed that he is and until he proves otherwise he should have the support of the fans whatever their opinions. This football club should not head for Conference football and we should unite behind those working to stop it happening.

I thank the board of Huw, Leigh and Dave for taking time in their schedules to answer some of the questions that I had and it is clear that all the people in the room (Peter Owen as well) have one common objective and that is the best for the football club. Sure there will be mistakes and misjudgements on the way but the common goal is something never to lose control of.

Hull, here we come?

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

League Table

Next Up

Forum Latest

Threads: 16,847

Messages: 247,855

Members: 4,661

Latest member: Magicpads01

Latest from Blog

Swans TV: Swansea City v Bristol Rovers | Highlights | Men’s

. . .Watch the best of the action with our short highlights package as Swansea City face Bristol Rovers at Fairwood. For more information, as well as all the latest Swansea City AFC news, log onto the club's official website at http://www.swanseacity.com Subscribe on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/SWANSPLAYER Like us on Facebook:…

Swans TV: Luke Williams on Bristol Rovers | Reaction | Men’s

. . .Luke Williams talks to SwansTV following his side's behind closed doors pre-season game against Bristol Rovers at the Fairwood Training Ground. For more information, as well as all the latest Swansea City AFC news, log onto the club's official website at http://www.swanseacity.com Subscribe on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/SWANSPLAYER Like us…

Swans TV: Swansea City U9’s v First Team | Men’s

. . .Swansea City's Under-nines were recently given an unforgettable experience as they had the opportunity to go head-to-head with the first team at Fairwood. The newest recruits and their families were welcomed to the first-team facility by academy manager Gavin Levey before going to watch the first team continue…