Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
The Way Forward
By: Bill Osborne
The announcement yesterday by Bryan Huxford of the board's intention to bring investment into the club via an international private investment bank is probably the biggest venture that Grimsby Town Football Club have entered into.
If it succeeds, it could herald the beginning of a new era in the club's fortunes. If it fails, the club will continue as it does today, stumbling from one financial crisis to another in search of a mystery benefactor who just might appear on the horizon and pump millions of pounds into the club. That could happen in time but so far, it has taken over 100 years and that mystery benefactor has yet to appear.
With this announcement It seems that the board are not prepared to wait for a miracle to happen and have initiated moves themselves in stating "It is with this in mind that the current chairman and board will be seeking to bring new investment capital to the business"
No one can disagree with the statement that the assets of first division football clubs are now highly-valued and at Grimsby Town FC the asset value will increase significantly with the building of a new stadium which will provide the necessary equity to attract new investment in the club.
But to attract that new investment in the club there will be a need for drastic changes to its share equity and allocation. Presently there are two factions that hold the greatest numbers of shares due to their holdings being able to block the release of any further share issues. Creating a virtual "closed shop."
In addressing this issue, the current board appear to be willing to relinquish their overall control to some degree in their saying, "It is of paramount importance to the future standing of this business that the capital base of the company be expanded in order to ensure progress to the highest levels of the game. GTFC has to be taken out of the parochial and limited financial base of NE Lincs, for enthusiasm alone cannot and will not achieve the ambitions of our supporters."
The board will be asking the shareholders at the next AGM not only to release those shares but also to increase the total share equity to allow others to invest in the club. This means that current shareholders % holding will decrease unless they are prepared to invest in new shares thereby opening the doors to allow others to invest in the club.
The success or failure of this proposal to the shareholders will without doubt rest in the hands of Mr Bill Carr and his associates who are the immediate past board. One can assume that Mr Carr and his associates have been waiting in the wings with a view that, one day, they might regain control of the club.
If that is the case then these new proposals will, without doubt, make that possibility more remote and they will be aware of that.
Referring to these factional differences between the past and current boards the board have appealed to all shareholders to support this new initiative issuing a call for unity.
"The business of professional football in NE Lincs is of paramount importance to the area and cannot be subjected to any more locally-based personality differences."
"Conflicts, and local personalities who understandably, are not able to support the business at the financial level needed, must not hold back the development and financial future of GTFC."
In other words, the past chairman and board members cannot provide the necessary increased funding the club needs so they should not block the current board's attempts to do so. Bill Carr has stated previously that he will not block the board from doing what is best for the club, therefore one would expect that he would support the proposals at the AGM.
This venture by the board to bring new investment into the club should be applauded. It is too early yet to make a final judgement until all the details of the plan are revealed but, the initiating of this type of project alone is indicative of what the future might be for Grimsby Town Football Club.
As Bryan Huxford said yesterday: "The future is bright so let nobody turn off the light."
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