Dear fellow supporters
Running a football club is difficult at the best of times. During the last two years it has been made doubly difficult when individuals professing to want to acquire the club have done so in the public domain but have not progressed their intentions with actions.
Acquiring a football club like ours which is financially sound is not difficult. First a prospective purchaser has to acquire a controlling shareholding. Secondly a purchaser must satisfy the EFL Future Financial Information requirements. Thirdly an owner and director will have to satisfy the EFL fit and proper person test.
Grimsby Town Football Club is a Public Limited Company. Acquisition of control can be achieved in one of the following ways which are alternatives and not cumulative:
- Apply to the Club to purchase a controlling block of shares. The Board with it’s fiduciary duty would not turn down such an investment and the purchaser would then control the Club without involving any other shareholder
- Seek to acquire a controlling share from a single shareholder
- Seek to acquire shares from a group of shareholders to obtain control
If Messrs Shutes, Stockwood and Pettit wish to obtain control of the Club they can choose any one of these alternatives. To date they have certainly not chosen to utilise alternative 1. Each of the alternatives would then oblige them under Rule 9 of the Take Over code to offer to buy all other shareholders shares at the same price.
The satisfaction of the EFL fit and proper person rule and the Future Financial Information requirement would not be difficult for persons of good standing with the necessary means.
The Future Financial Information must include details of how any existing liabilities are to be dealt with and satisfied. The only liability which the Club has is the Directors loans and proper provision has to be made for the repayment.
The most important question now is who is to be appointed as manager. To that end I have reached out to the prospective purchasers to involve them in this decision if they can reach agreement with John Fenty notwithstanding the fact that they will not have completed the EFL requirements. It merely means agreeing a share price and the repayment of loans (which as I say is in any event part of the EFL Future Financial Information).
The share price is straightforward as shares have been issued this year at par and that is therefore the market price. I understand that the sticking point is the repayment of loans and the conditionality attached to it. Historically the Club has always been underpinned by Directors loans and these have been repaid when a Director leaves the Board. This situation with the repayment of the loans is no different.
We are aware that the appointment of a manager must be made without delay. The transfer window opens in little over a week and we all agree that there needs to be changes in the playing squad and a reduction in it’s size. In the interim Ben Davies and Dave Moore are in charge for the forthcoming games and we all wish them well.
This uncertainty which has been hanging over the Club for more than two years must cease. I have set out the three alternative ways of gaining control. It is for prospective purchasers to choose which one they will adopt. All I can say is please get on with it or confirm no further interest.
As I stated earlier the Club is in a sound financial condition and I pay tribute yet again to you the fans for your help in this. I would go so far as to say that there are few clubs in our league in such a sound financial condition and that makes the acquisition so easy.