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Shareholders Positive About New Share Issue!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 22/11/2001

OVER 90 per cent of the club's shareholders gave a positive response when canvassed about the board's plans to offer for sale the remaining £350,000 of the club's £600,000 in share capital.

The plan will now be put to the vote at an extraordinary general meeting at Blundell Park on Monday - but the outcome, which is crucial to Mariners' future, is not cut and dried said the Grimsby Telegraph because the club needs a 75 per cent majority of the shareholding to get the move through.

And that means, the decison will hinge on which way the big shareholders, including some former directors, decide to vote. There is a history of power struggles at the club and moves to release shares in the past have been strangled at birth.

However Chairman Peter Furneaux issued a plea for unity saying "Now is the time for everyone to get behind the club."

The Telegraph also reports that the Mariners, who lost £2.5million last season, are battling to compete in a league where the majority of their rivals have far greater resources. In November the club had a gate income of just £20,000 - not enough to pay the monthly wages of one of its loan players.

It was revealed also that Manager Lennie Lawrence, orginally given a £2.4million playing costs budget for this season, has since been handed a further £800,000. This money, generated by loans and guarantees from the board and increased support from the bankers, has gone on signings, loan deals, and renegotiated con tracts for key players.

In addition, the board has spent £200,000 on development costs for the new stadium.

Mr Furneaux wants everyone with Town's interest at heart to back the share release: "We need to move forward for the sake of the club."

"I would appeal to all of the company's shareholders to allow the directors to be able to allot shares to those who wish to assist us with the future development of the football club."

He pledged that applications, large or small, would be given equal consideration.

"Should applications for shares be less than the amount available all applications will be honoured in full. Should they exceed the unissued share capital these will be scaled down pro rata," he said.

Billo Says:

Speaking as a small shareholder I think there will be some problems unless the option for current shareholders to gain additional shares is voted for. I cannot see people with major shareholdings agreeing to lose their percentage holding just to bring $350,000 into the club which is hardly likely to bring any major changes apart from taking a little pressure off the wages bill.

A far better move, in my opinion, would have been to increase the share equity to one million shares, allowing a one for one issue to current shareholders and then selling the rest to those who apply.

However I am not opposed to any proposal regarding the share issue and the board have made a most positive move in trying to break the shares deadlock and fans will appreciate the opportunity to hold some equity in the club they support. I have given the chairman my proxies for the few shares I hold to help him to do what he thinks is best for the club.

Whichever option is voted for will be a huge step in opening up the closed shop that has existed for many years. It will be a most welcome change.

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