As outlined in previous statements to our members, the Supporters Trust can confirm that discussions have continued between the Supporters Trust, senior management of the football club and representatives of the new majority owners.
The Supporters Trust can confirm that our new Supporter Director, Stuart McDonald, has started to engage with the senior management of the football club, and we hope to see that relationship develop over the coming weeks.
The Supporters Trust was yesterday surprised to note that, according to Companies House records, Leigh Dineen had been reappointed as a Director of the football club.
However, after discussions overnight between the Supporters Trust and the new majority owners, it was identified that the appointment was made without approval and has now been removed. It has been agreed that the issue of Leigh Dineen’s position at the club would be discussed at next month’s board meeting, which our Supporters Director will be attending.
Discussions have also continued between representatives of the Supporters Trust and Jason Levien regarding the outstanding issues surrounding the ownership structure of the football club, it being crucial to the Supporters Trust that meaningful protections are guaranteed by the majority owners in order to secure the Trust’s shareholding and influence at the football club. While significant progress has yet to be made in this area, discussions will continue to determine whether a resolution can be found.
An alternative line of discussion has related to a potential partial sale of the Trust shareholding, in order to protect the Trust against any future share issue which could potentially dilute the Trust’s shareholding. Such a share sale could also act as a “nest egg” to protect the football club in case of future financial issues or also further the Trust’s aims of bringing the football club closer to the community.
Unfortunately, Jason Levien has confirmed that the new majority owners have no plans to make an offer at this time for all, or part, of the shareholding of the Supporters Trust.
It is our belief that the interests of all parties should be the same – to see a well-run, solvent, community focused football club continue to grow and succeed in the Premier League. Any actions taken by the Supporters Trust, with the approval of our Members, will be with that goal in mind.
Therefore, in order to best protect the interests of the Supporter Trust and its members, the Trust will be looking at alternative options. Whilst discussions will continue with the new majority owners, the Supporters Trust will also be engaging with a number of other parties to determine whether there are partnership opportunities worth pursuing. Discussions will need to remain confidential until completed, however we will continue to keep our members up to date as new information can be shared.
In parallel, the Supporters Trust will continue to review and progress any legal options open to us. We are conscious that any legal action would create uncertainty, not just in terms of its success, but also our relationship with the new owner and the likelihood of destabilising the football club. This remains a last resort, however we ultimately have a duty to our members and the best long-term interests of the fans.
As previously outlined, if any decisions are to be taken regarding legal action or the Trust’s shareholding in the football club, this would require the full approval of the Trust members via a fans forum or ballot.