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Unjustified Expectations

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 30/01/2005

I think now would be the best time to clear up a misunderstanding that some people still have despite John Fenty making it quite clear in his question and answer session with the trust.

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Some people are still espousing the view that as John Fenty is a 'millionaire' he should pay the tax bill.

In recent years, we have had two 'millionaires' sitting on the Town board. Mr Dudley Ramsden, current Life President and ex-Chairman, and Mr John Fenty, the current Chairman.

It is established custom at Grimsby Town Football Club for persons joining the board to make a financial commitment to the club.

(That is not always a good thing. It automatically discounts people with skills and expertise who could help the club in its future development and sometimes brings non-desirables to the board, and we have had a few of those.)

Mr Ramsden and Mr John Fenty followed that custom and made significant financial commitments which proved, in both cases, to be the 'saving' of the club.

That is where the story should have ended but unfortunately that was not the case.

Because these two gentlemen were seen by the community to be persons of means, there came an unjustifiable expectation that they would become the benefactors and 'Saviours' of the club. (They both came somewhere near to that as, at the time both made their commitments, the club was in dire financial straits.)

But both Mr Ramsden and Mr Fenty made their position clear on a number of occasions. They were prepared to be directors of the club, assist the club financially and use their business skills in the running of the club.

Nothing more!

Neither ever wanted to own the club and have never owned more than 29.5% of the club shares.

Neither of them ever hinted or suggested that they would be the benefactors of the club.

In an article I wrote almost 5 years ago I said;

"Grimsby Town Football Club is a community resource. It is one of the community's greatest assets. It does not matter who holds the shares. The biggest stakeholders in the club are the community, it matters not who owns it."

"Grimsby has what many other towns and cities envy us for. A club in the Football League. But the club cannot survive without the support of the community and the community would be a poorer place without it. It is the flagship of the town."

Mr Fenty, in his recent statement, said almost the same in different words. Dudley Ramsden said almost the same when he was the chairman.

Dudley Ramsden and John Fenty, as leaders and employers in the community, have fulfilled all their commitments, and more, to Grimsby Town Football Club and the community in general.

To expect that either of these two gentlemen would continually pour money into the club was an unjustified expectation.

Few football clubs have benefactors. If Grimsby Town wants any, they will have to find people like the Moore's family at Liverpool, the late Jack Walker at Blackburn or a paid up member of the Russian Mafia.

The past and current directors and chairmen of Grimsby Town have fulfilled all their promises. Now it is up to the community to fulfil theirs.

As for the tax bill, the current board have declared their significant contribution towards it.

We cannot ask for more than that!

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