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The King is Dead!
By: Bill Osborne
THE king is dead, long live the king! Or so they say in Royal circles. It seems that with the resignation of Messrs Ramsden and Graves it now applies to Grimsby Town Football Club.
The club have said that an official statement will be issued soon. The uninitiated amongst us may well accept the official statement as the correct version of events but the more cynical amongst us will know better.
Unfortunately Mr Ramsden appears to have entered into a confidentiality agreement with Messrs Fenty and Co so declined an offer to make a statement to the Fishy. Now why would a confidentiality agreement be necessary in a simple process of a person resigning from the board?
But one can see from events leading up to the resignations that the parting was far from amicable, regardless of what the official statement might say.
John Fenty and Michael Rouse were members of the previous Bill Carr board and at that time there were serious factional differences between the Huxford/Ramsden/Furneaux group and the Carr group.
Notwithstanding those differences, when Brian Huxford and Doug Everitt resigned, Fenty and Rouse were invited to join the Ramsden board. When Brian Huxford sold his shares, he sold them to a friend of Ramsden's in Hull and Ramsden arranged for Fenty to buy them from him.
(I asked Ramsden at the time why he had not purchased the shares himself. His reply to me was that he held 26% of the club shares and it was not a good thing for one person to have overall control as that could prevent other people from offering financial assistance.)
Fenty bought the shares on the understanding that he would join with Ramsden in funding the club, which he did. They also signed an agreement that neither could use their shares to vote each other off the board.
An agreement that was not worth the paper it was written on!
After a disagreement between them, Fenty was alleged to have sold his shares to Rouse, in order to make some money available to Paul Groves. Or so it was claimed.
I have never believed that any money ever changed hands and I also believe that the transfer of shares was a "technical" transfer and have good reasons for holding that belief.
But whatever, it served its purpose. Because within a week of obtaining Fenty's shares Rouse demanded the resignation of Ramsden and Graves.
At a later board meeting, Rouse was talking of an EGM to have them voted off the board but the chairman and the company solicitor intervened and the matter was not raised again until a later date when Ramsden's solicitor received an offer to repay Ramsden's loans at a rate of about Â£10 a week.
Colin Graves, on the other hand, had no axes to grind. He was brought on to the board by Dudley Ramsden and despite having no connection with Grimsby, joined the board and was a prospective sponsor of the new stadium.
He paid for the pre-season tour and in addition put Â£50,000 into the kitty. His resignation was allegedly sought, as he was a friend of Ramsden. A great pity as Mr Graves has put more money into Grimsby Town than Michael Rouse who was demanding the resignations.
Mr Rouse was asked what financial support he would be giving the club now that he was a major shareholder and he offered to buy visiting directors fish and chips. I am not sure if his generous offer was accepted!
According to the information I have from two different sources, the following eventuated:
"Some weeks ago the Club heard that Â£800,000 was going to be made available to the First Division clubs - Â£300,000 grant and a Â£500,000 loan to be paid back in years three and four.
At the following Board Meeting Fenty stated that he was going to leave the Board or Ramsden and Graves were. He then offered to ensure that both Graves and Ramsden would receive their combined loans back of Â£350,000 plus Ramsden's guarantee of Â£100,000, but in return, Ramsden had to donate his shares to Fenty.
On the other hand, if Ramsden and Graves did not accept the offer, he would resign from the Board leaving Ramsden and Graves to pay back his Â£300,000+ and fund the club on their own.
As it is expected that the club would need Â£500,000 over the next twelve months in addition to the Â£800,000 promised by the League/FA plus the repayment of the Fenty loans, Ramsden and Graves accepted the offer and Mr Fenty thereby obtained Ramsden's shares at no cost."
Mr Fenty therefore holds 47% of the clubs shares (If you include the ones held by Michael Rouse) and is now left holding the baby with the only two directors who have any serious money departing.
But Mr Fenty knew that so he must have a contingency plan. Or has he? Where do we go from here?
continued in part two Where To Now?.
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