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Fenty Shock Statement!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 25/07/2002

DIRECTOR John Fenty has stated his intention to sell his shares in Grimsby Town Football Club and has released the following statement.

I was persuaded to join the Board of Grimsby Town Football Club approximately 14 months ago following the resignation of the previous chairman and vice chairman. During the previous two years to my joining the Board the club made massive losses totalling approximately £3.5 million.

These losses created a total funding requirement of approximately £1.5 million but undeterred I joined the Board knowing that if Grimsby Town Football Club could survive and stay in the First Division, its money problems could be solved courtesy of a wonderful TV deal. Equally relegation would have been disastrous.

As the results of the last season got worse, the Club was approaching serious cash flow problems, it looked as though relegation was inevitable. I decided to assist financing the club shoulder to shoulder with Dudley Ramsden, subject to buying a large block of his shares. About the same time the Chairman and myself rallied Board support for the Club to have a change of manager which could only happen with additional finance.

A new management team in place, twenty games to go and six points adrift the results just got better and it was wonderful for us all. It brought First Division survival in an amazing turn around. Although its not confirmed I think 64% of income was the figure spent on player's wages, less than the Deloitte Touché recommendation. The Club in fact made a profit last season that only served to replace in part losses from previous seasons.

When I returned from holiday about two months ago, I found, to my horror, the back pages of the Grimsby Telegraph reporting that Grimsby Town Football Club could go into administration following the loss of 55% of its income, due to the collapse of ITV Digital, which was no surprise. It could be considered actions were taken hastily probably resulting in reduced income from the sale of season tickets, at the same time sending a desperate message that could scupper potential transfer income.

Understandably the Club had to consider all options, most of the board and staff have worked tirelessly to improve and make the best of a difficult financial situation thrust upon us through no fault of our own.

Obviously the Club must strive to reduce players wages by selling / releasing some of its highest paid players. This I would agree with. However, I think it is wrong to make it a condition to sell / release two players, before bringing in a bare essential number of players to the Club in time for pre season training (this was an individual board members decision). This is just one of the reasons why I have sold most of my shareholding in Grimsby Town Football Club. The proceeds from the sale of my shares will be used to assist Paul Groves.

I intend to stay on the Board and will further assist in funding a reasonable prudent effort at stopping in the First Division. I do believe the Club should be run as a business on a viable basis, however the circumstances that we find ourselves in was unpredicted. And it was not planned for. It is no good panicking. At best our loans will remain in the Club for the foreseeable future, this we have to accept. However, I do feel disappointed that my main counter part on the board will not support the Club in the same way as I gave support to him and the Club last season.

There are many clubs that are all ready in a much worse position than Grimsby Town, which gives me a great deal of hope. One way or another we must provide Paul Groves with a certain level of resources to continue his outstanding work. To not do so would be a dereliction of duty.

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