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Mercury calls on new owners to put fan on the board

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Comments

  • cafcfan said:

    I find it sad and bemusing that you can set up a company in this country, become a director with no qualifications or training whatsoever and trundle off and do business with members of the public.

    You can't do that if you want to drive. Nor can you do it if you want to manage a football team (badges) or work in countless other professions. And perhaps, bizarrely in comparison, you can't become a company secretary of a public company without having relevant experience/qualifications. Yet any old tag, rag and bobtail gets to be director!

    This lack of oversight makes the football world's "fit and proper tests" look positively leading edge by comparison.

    The Companies Act 2006 (and that's only one of countless pieces of legislation a company director should be familiar with: Health & Safety, CDDA, etc, etc) alone runs to 47 Parts, 1,300 Sections plus 16 Schedules. The bit about Directors duties, etc features at Part 10 and runs through 9 Chapters and from section 154 through to 259.

    I'm not sure I understand why anyone would want to get involved in this degree of complexity/liability - and how could you possibly do the job properly without such knowledge - on a voluntary basis.

    Check out the legal responsibilities of school governors, which are also absurdly unrealistic. They are also volunteers. Yet people do it.
  • seth plum said:

    To be serious for a moment, and to speculate. If there was ever to be a fan on the board I suppose the new owners would cast around for a fan that could be said to be representative in some way.
    Maybe they would establish a constituency of season ticket holders from which a representative might emerge in some way. On the other hand, the largest most credible group of Charlton fans is the formally established Trust, with all it's perfections and imperfections.

    As things stand, I think the trust would be the most legitimate body to somehow provide fan representation
    I agree but no doubt that would attract its own criticism. I really think the culture of the club is more important than the mechanism. The fans’ forum has never been satisfactory, but partly because it was never allowed to be as recent owners were not really interested in fans’ views or input.
    Absolutely agree with you that the culture of the club is more important than the mechanism. However you have got to separate out discussions on the long term direction of the club from the match day and travel stuff. Both are important but a club owner or director will inevitably not want to sit through meetings involving long heated discussions about the merits of balti pies or real ale. Fans Forum should be part of the dialogue but not the main mechanism, IMO

    I am sure the involvement of a Supporters Trust in the mechanism will attract criticism. The question is whether it is valid in principle or just driven by tedious personal animosity.

    The general approach around the country is that if you join the ST you vote to get your rep. into the boardroom. And that rep has to report back to you regularly on what is really going on, and you discuss it with him/her. You have a voice. So the question might be whether the candidates should already be on the ST Board, or whether they could be any ST member, who then is co-opted onto the ST Board after they are elected. Don't see a rational problem with that myself.

    Unfortunately there is a wider question. If a Supporter on the Board doesn't represent a share of the club's equity ownership, what actual power do they have? To my dismay it turned out that even at Swansea, where they still held 20%, it wasn't enough, and when the owners of the other 80% decided to sell, the Trust rep was in the dark until it was done. That is a serious flaw in the plan. The only way to stop that is for regulation, or ideally legislation, to exist which says that a football club is not just a business like any other, and that the supporters rep. has to be involved in all discussions re change of ownership. Big ask that, though.

    Yes, I wasn’t advocating an improved fans’ forum as a solution, but remember that in 2008 it was precisely the argument of the board that it replaced the elected director. That was nonsense.
  • seth plum said:

    To be serious for a moment, and to speculate. If there was ever to be a fan on the board I suppose the new owners would cast around for a fan that could be said to be representative in some way.
    Maybe they would establish a constituency of season ticket holders from which a representative might emerge in some way. On the other hand, the largest most credible group of Charlton fans is the formally established Trust, with all it's perfections and imperfections.

    As things stand, I think the trust would be the most legitimate body to somehow provide fan representation
    I agree but no doubt that would attract its own criticism. I really think the culture of the club is more important than the mechanism. The fans’ forum has never been satisfactory, but partly because it was never allowed to be as recent owners were not really interested in fans’ views or input.
    Absolutely agree with you that the culture of the club is more important than the mechanism. However you have got to separate out discussions on the long term direction of the club from the match day and travel stuff. Both are important but a club owner or director will inevitably not want to sit through meetings involving long heated discussions about the merits of balti pies or real ale. Fans Forum should be part of the dialogue but not the main mechanism, IMO

    I am sure the involvement of a Supporters Trust in the mechanism will attract criticism. The question is whether it is valid in principle or just driven by tedious personal animosity.

    The general approach around the country is that if you join the ST you vote to get your rep. into the boardroom. And that rep has to report back to you regularly on what is really going on, and you discuss it with him/her. You have a voice. So the question might be whether the candidates should already be on the ST Board, or whether they could be any ST member, who then is co-opted onto the ST Board after they are elected. Don't see a rational problem with that myself.

    Unfortunately there is a wider question. If a Supporter on the Board doesn't represent a share of the club's equity ownership, what actual power do they have? To my dismay it turned out that even at Swansea, where they still held 20%, it wasn't enough, and when the owners of the other 80% decided to sell, the Trust rep was in the dark until it was done. That is a serious flaw in the plan. The only way to stop that is for regulation, or ideally legislation, to exist which says that a football club is not just a business like any other, and that the supporters rep. has to be involved in all discussions re change of ownership. Big ask that, though.

    It would of course be completely unrealistic to expect a fan's representative to have any executive role. Nevertheless, it would offer the opportunity to bring fan's concerns to the attention of the executive, and to influence decisions by arguing the case.

    If the new owners do encourage fan representation, I believe the trust membership should decide on the mechanism for such an appointment.

  • seth plum said:

    To be serious for a moment, and to speculate. If there was ever to be a fan on the board I suppose the new owners would cast around for a fan that could be said to be representative in some way.
    Maybe they would establish a constituency of season ticket holders from which a representative might emerge in some way. On the other hand, the largest most credible group of Charlton fans is the formally established Trust, with all it's perfections and imperfections.

    As things stand, I think the trust would be the most legitimate body to somehow provide fan representation
    I agree but no doubt that would attract its own criticism. I really think the culture of the club is more important than the mechanism. The fans’ forum has never been satisfactory, but partly because it was never allowed to be as recent owners were not really interested in fans’ views or input.
    Absolutely agree with you that the culture of the club is more important than the mechanism. However you have got to separate out discussions on the long term direction of the club from the match day and travel stuff. Both are important but a club owner or director will inevitably not want to sit through meetings involving long heated discussions about the merits of balti pies or real ale. Fans Forum should be part of the dialogue but not the main mechanism, IMO

    I am sure the involvement of a Supporters Trust in the mechanism will attract criticism. The question is whether it is valid in principle or just driven by tedious personal animosity.

    The general approach around the country is that if you join the ST you vote to get your rep. into the boardroom. And that rep has to report back to you regularly on what is really going on, and you discuss it with him/her. You have a voice. So the question might be whether the candidates should already be on the ST Board, or whether they could be any ST member, who then is co-opted onto the ST Board after they are elected. Don't see a rational problem with that myself.

    Unfortunately there is a wider question. If a Supporter on the Board doesn't represent a share of the club's equity ownership, what actual power do they have? To my dismay it turned out that even at Swansea, where they still held 20%, it wasn't enough, and when the owners of the other 80% decided to sell, the Trust rep was in the dark until it was done. That is a serious flaw in the plan. The only way to stop that is for regulation, or ideally legislation, to exist which says that a football club is not just a business like any other, and that the supporters rep. has to be involved in all discussions re change of ownership. Big ask that, though.

    It would of course be completely unrealistic to expect a fan's representative to have any executive role. Nevertheless, it would offer the opportunity to bring fan's concerns to the attention of the executive, and to influence decisions by arguing the case.

    If the new owners do encourage fan representation, I believe the trust membership should decide on the mechanism for such an appointment.

    As part of that I think it would be useful for us to consult Supporters Direct and other Trusts, many of whom we have friendly relations with.

    On the London scene, Brentford Trust are on the board. AFCW are 100% fan owned. Fulham have very regular meetings without formal Board role. Chelsea similar, regular meetings with Bruce Buck, took them a long time to get there, though. Until recently Spurs had the same, but they have fallen out with Levy over something, probably the need to take out a mortgage in order to buy a season ticket at the new WHL. Not sure how it works at Palace , especially since the Yanks appeared. Arsenal, too busy rowing with each other through two fan orgs which seemed to split along pro or anti Wenger lines. West Ham is in complete and public disarray.

    There is one other club in London that has a supporter on the board. Prepare yourselves for this, it took me quite a while to take this in...

    Millwall...

  • edited June 19

    Jimmy Seed would be good but he's a Millwall fan.

    Oi, just seen that. Bloody cheek! Flag! Flag!
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