Club ownership: The world according to Baz

Cod Almighty | Article

by Barry Whittleton

4 February 2021

There's a nightmare scenario: Fenty has all his money, but we have no ground, no cash and no-League status. Baz views our prospects of avoiding it

Club ownership: The world according to Baz

There has been much speculation amongst the Twitterati that the deal to end the Fenty era would finally take place. At the time of writing it hasn't. On Monday I received a message from a match-going mate which simply said "Never thought it would take three years". Attached was an audio file of myself ranting to Radio Humberside from the car as we began the five-hour journey back from a midweek surrender to Yeovil.

Without the car park protests the following weekend, there is no question in my mind that Russell Slade would have kept his job and Town slipped back into the hole which is the Conference. The same applies with the May saga; an event that has impacted on the non-chairman's dreams of eventually replacing Martin Vickers in Westminster. He would've ridden the storm out as he has previously, safe in the knowledge his board of apologists would toe the party line. Holloway would still be here. They would still be claiming the Shutes consortium were tyre-kickers and who knows what would have transpired.

This particular dystopian nightmare had been replaced by another prior to the receipt of the message. It was one in which Mr Fenty sailed off into the sunset, his pockets stuffed with cash as Town slid out of the league, with Paul Hurst not having sufficient time to turn around the shitshow he was bequeathed.

If we weren't in need of that new super docklands stadium, would the consortium cut their losses and place us into receivership leaving us as a Conference North club with no ground, no cash and unwanted? The threat that kept John Fenty in post for at least 10 years, a reality

Now there are those who would have us believe that is not such a bad thing. That the Conference isn't that bad. To a degree they're right of course. Attendances would probably improve. Anyone who doubts me take a look at the crowds Buckley's successful division four sides attracted compared to those who punched above their weight, playing football easy on the eye to finish mid-table in division two. The fickle love a winner.

However, my nightmare runs, supposing Town aren't even as successful (for want of a better word) as our previous stint. Suppose a league stuffed with ambitious ex-League clubs means that rather than doing a Bristol Rovers we do a York or Chesterfield. I have no evidence to back this up but if it happened and we weren't in need of that new super docklands stadium, would the consortium cut their losses and place us into receivership leaving us as a Conference North club with no ground, no cash and unwanted? The threat that kept John Fenty in post for at least 10 years, a reality. Only in this scenario, he also got every penny back.

Now this was roughly the position I was in at 6am Sunday morning. The message a day later gave me hope. If Jolley could come in with just 11 games to go with no opportunity to make wholesale changes and save us then Hurst can as well surely. That the nightmare scenario would have a slender silver lining as we'd get a fan-owned club at last was no comfort. I will hang onto my hope and in Hurst we trust. Let's pray it's not forlorn.

This links in to my other theme for the month. The club have announced there will be no shareholder attendance at the AGM this year. Instead a two-person AGM will take place to cover matters which need to be dealt with. These include election of directors.

The first thing is why can there be no AGM? Are the club unaware of the multitude of online platforms which have sprung up to facilitate such things during the pandemic? Why can't those shareholders who invested in GTFC have the opportunity to question the board whose decisions could cost us our cherished league place?

Why can't we question the true reasons behind Ian Holloway's departure. Who knew what and when? What happened to the £100k we were told had been invested and, in some cases, invested ourselves on the back of. Why can't we ask the board why we were the only club to impose a covid clause in contracts. Who made the decision to allow Vernam's contract to run down allowing him to leave for free?

The answer is of course because they don't want to be held to account. Sadly - and I know there are some that believe this site and myself have an agenda when it comes to them - once again the Mariners Trust do not cover themselves in glory. I do appreciate the hours of voluntary work goes into the trust and I recognise the great people involved, but it would be hypocritical to ignore the issues the club statement highlighted.

The statement informed shareholders that two club directors were up for re-election. Stephen Marley, he of the notorious fans' forum fame, will not be standing to recaim his position. This is obviously welcome. The man who, in his words, knows "lots of high wealth people" singularly failed over many years in his primary task of getting them to invest in GTFC. Unless of course you include those whose wealth was accumulated by questionable means.

The other director whose three-year term has ended is Jon Wood. Mr Wood is one of the two trust representatives on the board and will be seeking re-election. Really? When did trust members vote for this? When were we even consulted. As Mr Wood is there to represent the fans I would encourage an open primary in which any interested party could stand. What I don't like are undemocratic backroom decisions taken on behalf of those supposedly represented. I certainly don't like being presented with it as a fait accompli in a statement from a Chairman I have absolutely no confidence in, or respect for.

The trust exists to best represent the views of the fans. It encourages fans to subscribe in order to continue to do so. Maybe, just maybe, if they consulted those fans a little more openly on key decisions, supporters would be more inclined to do so. Give it a go.

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