⚽️⚽️Fan Engagement Forum Notes 06 Feb 2019

Discussion in 'Bulletin Board' started by Gally, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Gally

    Gally Administrator Staff Member Admin

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    Attendees
    Barnsley FC

    Paul Conway (PC)
    Rob Zuk (RZ)
    Daniel Stendel (RS)
    Chris Stern
    Adam Lamping (AL)
    Beth Sefton (BS)

    Fans reps
    Sarah Chadwick - SLO
    Alan Bloore(AB) - SLO
    Ray Brammer(RB) - SLO
    Carlo Van de Watering(AB) - SLO
    Paul Steeples - Atherlsey Reds
    Roy Richardson - Ahtersley Reds
    Keith Trumble - Courthouse Reds
    Steve Curry - Courthouse Reds
    Lyndsey Smith - Manx Reds
    John Howard - East Dene Reds
    Paul McQuillan (PM) - Hoyland Reds
    Gerald Thornton - Hoyland Reds
    Paul Robinson (PR) - Matchday Drinkers
    Fraser Beecroft (FB) - ST holder / regular away supprter
    Andy Wilson- Season ticket holder/ regular away supporter
    Paul Hicks - Redfearn’s Bar
    Paul Gallagher (Gally)- BBS, Supporters’ Trust
    Laurie Handley - Mascot Coordinator
    Steve Croft - Junior Coordinator


    Paul Conway opened the meeting by thanking everyone for coming and talked about the spectacular support we get. A Tuesday night in Oxford, cold rain. You don't see that in many other sports around the world. We are here to thank you but also know as a club we can improve.

    CVdW: What's the profile for a new CEO
    PC:
    There are some general themes in the club even before we got here. We have a young club. We have some very young coaches. From our executives, we also like young, ambitious executives. The average president age in the is USA is 29/30 years old managing very large organizations. We are looking for the best person for the job. That's going to help take the club to the next level and we are well down that path
    Gauthier is still on the board of the club and so we will look to get better synergies in France both for the supporters and on the playing side but you can expect to see someone young, ambitious with a whole lot of energy and hard work


    Gally: What was the motivation for buying the club and how do you manage your success and does it just come down to P&L?
    PC:
    No. We had some success in Nice and we said to ourselves we can do it again in England. We met a bunch of clubs and we didn't realise how poor a lot of clubs are run in England. Its shocking to us. In the championship, we were one of only two clubs that broke even, the other 22 clubs lost on average 8 million pounds. That's not the way we want to run this club. Patrick really saved the club. We want to build on that. We don't want to be one goal from promotion and 2 weeks from bankruptcy. So we met a bunch of clubs and then we met Patrick and James and they shared the same beliefs that we have. That we have to balance a budget. They believe in youth. We have a big academy in France. This club produced John Stones. Nice produced Hugo Lloris, captain of the world cup winning team. We have that commitment to youth. Nice has the first or second youngest team in France. Barnsley has one of the youngest teams in the EFL. This same mindset of running this for the long term. Don't do anything irresponsible in the short term. We also believe in data and James and Patrick did before we got here. We believe that helping to build on what James and Patrick already built by bringing more resources, bringing more data, bringing more international revenue for the club we can help take Barnsley back to, where we believe, should be a stable championship club. Once we do that we'll see where we go.


    Will you be selling more of the squad to balance the books
    PC:
    So we have done a couple of things since we got here. Every player's contract is longer. almost every new player coming in. 4 years, 5 years. This gives us more flexibility with the squad. If the player has one year left on the deal and they don't want to extend we are going to move them out because we have a limited inventory of players if someone doesn't want to commit we'll move them out and bring in someone who wants to take that next journey. Last year we balanced our books in the championship. This year we lose 6m of revenue. So we start with a significant loss. In Nice, we balanced our books for 3 years. We aren't going to run up big losses. We think its a recipe for disaster for the club. We need to find great ways to make the club a long term financially successful organisation with every pound reinvested in the club. So in three years in Nice, we have grown revenue from 42m Euros to 75m Euros and at the same time, each summer we have had an all-time new transfer record for the club. The first year we invested 14m Euros, second 21m, third-year 27m. Every penny goes back into the club. If you are starting the year with a big loss you have to work on that. Everyone at the club has done a good job this year making the team better, moving out a couple of players who didn't want to be here or wouldn't extend their contracts and also reinvesting those proceeds in some really exciting young players.


    Gally: So when we get transfer funds it will be reinvested, it's not the case that there are loans on the purchase of the club that needs repaying or shareholders that will expect dividends.
    We bought 80% of the club. The club is debt free. No debt. Every pound of every ticket, every pound of every sale goes back in the club.

    What is your 5-year plan that you can share with us?

    The immediate plan is to get back into the championship. That's the ancestral home of the club it should be in the championship but we are building a squad today that we believe is competing to be a mid table championship club. If you look at the squad, the way Daniel and Chris have done a phenomenal job developing some players that a year ago to what they are today. You see some dramatic differences in some players. We think the core of the team is a Championship quality club. Obviously, upon promotion, we will reinvest and further supplement the squad as we are gaining some additional revenue. That will then go back into the squad. So that's the immediate goal.
    Longer term we want to bring in other revenue sources for the club. In Nice, we brought in the first year an 18m new academy and training centre. Significant investment for us. But we believe the academy is a good long term investment for the club. So if we can do a better job bringing more facilities here that attract more young players and then also frankly keep our existing players here longer. The better the facilities the longer they will stay and so our longer-term plan is how we take Barnsley to that next level which will help to recruit and generate more revenue that we can invest in the squad.


    Gally: What have you learnt from the Nice experience?
    It's been interesting. We've made some mistakes. We've had some successes. The commitment to youth is not an easy thing. Its really easy to go away from that but we have stayed committed to youth in Nice and that's paying dividends on the field. So our first year as part of increasing the revenue of the club, all that revenue going back into the squad, allowing us to spend more money in the transfer window, getting some higher level players but still having that commitment to youth we got to the champions league for the first time in the teams history. So that was a good experience but we've also made some mistakes too. Sometimes that has been with older more expensive players. It's good to make some mistakes because when we come here we have some experience. We'll still make some mistakes here but it makes it less likely

    AB: How would you sum up your first year?

    There was some drama for sure.. but that's ok. Nobody wants relegation but I think there was a cleansing process to allow us to really build what we want to build. When we went searching for a new coach Daniel was top of our list. I'm sure he wasn't so sure about Barnsley but when he presented to us in Heathrow last year we knew immediately that this guy will take Barnsley to the next level and not just for the first team but through the Academy. We interviewed 3 coaches. When we asked about their strategies. One said to win the league, that's not a strategy, one said to play good football and Daniel came in with the presentation, his strategy, his belief in his style (i believe you have seen his presentation). It was unfortunate last year but it has put us in a better place.

    Have you got him on a good contract to keep him then?
    We want to keep him as long as possible. As long as he wants to stay. I think Daniel is a very ambitious person and he wants the challenge of the Championship and we want to upon that give all the resources the club can afford to not just survive but to compete up the table.

    CVdW: I suppose as Barnsley fans we are always very nervous so at the beginning of the transfer window Bradd Potts went and we thought why are selling him and now we've forgotten who is. Andreas Winkler left out of the blue..

    Press conference today was mentioned (Dale Tonge announced as assistant
    DS: Would have liked Andreas to stay, he translates for me, and i trust him. On the other side after the first 2 weeks, I have liked working with Tongey I have learned more about Barnsley and the academy and we can more share opinions on style, from questions from the academy, learn more about English football.

    Gally: How is it going rolling out Daniels way of playing down through the academy.
    DS: Not all teams are at the moment but when you watch, especially the U18s its very similar to our side. U23s there is a lot of changes in the squad but I think in the last weeks months this has improved. U18s closest of the other teams. I am convinced with the style. I think we can have a lot of success but we want to improve. SHowing how successful it can helps and Tongy is at the moment the best example of us working together with the academy Coach's
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  2. Gally

    Gally Administrator Staff Member Admin

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    CVdW: Are you surprised by the success as we've seen this team last season struggling and at times it wasn't very pretty (in a higher league)? The same players seem to give the extra 20/30%. How important is having a relationship with them to bring that out?

    He likes the way we play and sometimes he surprised how good we play. He didn't really know League one at the beginning. We have played every team in the league. I think we are the best team, we play the best football but we are not the best in the table. This is what we want. When we see the improvement in Jacob Brown, Cameron McGheeham. Alex Mowatt, top player. I'm happier when we win games. We all want to win games but I'm more happy about the development of the players. I also learn new things.


    PR: Rob what has your experience been at the club and how its improved around the club.

    RZ: I been here 4 years and have had a few different roles, seen a few CEOs come in and there have been some gaps in those periods and I have picked up a few matters that you wouldn't normally get as an accountant or FD. When I came in 4 years ago, off the pitch, and on the pitch, we are in a lot stronger position. I think looking around the stadium it has improved. The fan experience has improved, retailing we are in a better place and its just starting really.


    AB: Whats happened about the option of buying the ground from Patrick

    PC: Still looking at that but its complicated. Looking at buying the councils share. We are very focused on it.


    AB: There are rumours flying around about you looking at the old brewery and school and other sites near the stadium. People say you are interested in those as well.

    PC: We re spending a tremendous amount of money with U23s, U18s (accommodation) all around town (on accommodation). It's not good from a financial point of view or a footballing perspective so we are trying to bring them close to the club. We've seen big benefits doing this in Nice on the pitch and off the pitch. Even from a character and development point of view. If you have the players near the HQ, its better on the football side, better on the nutrition side, better on the safe side and then on the recruiting side, imagine we are recruiting a hot 18-year-old and the parents see they are living close to the ground instead of 4 miles away with a landlady


    Gally: Any other planned ground changes?

    PC:We don't yet control the land so that is our first step, it's just like promotion, once we get there we have a plan. We have different ideas on the ground but we are not going to do anything radical. Its how can we improve the fan experience. How can we turn Oakwell into a 365-day experience? Better hospitality functions, better banqueting, maybe a nice all year sports bar. You guys do a good job with Redfearns but something thats open all year. People are currently showing up 20 odd times a year but this is at the centre of the town and with all the development down the road at the glassworks we need to do a better job of really of turning this into an all year community

    DZ: I think as Paul said when the stadium comes back into the clubs control we can look at bigger projects. In the short term, we are looking at a fan zone that should be available for next year.


    PR: Is there still a plan to move the offices?


    RZ: We did have some plans drawn up to move the offices to the mezzanine in the East stand but that is dependant on the ground purchase.


    Gally:Where would the fanzone be?

    DZ: Looking at a few different sites around the East Stand. Working with the council in that respect.

    PC: we have a big fan zone in Nice and especially during the holidays, for over a month, it becomes part of the community. We have santa clause there, we have all these type of things so guess what? Families come out. We need to do a better job as a club so families come out. We need giving enough options for, especially for younger fans. That's part of having the kids zone and that was one of the first things on the checklist to do and I think that is going very well.


    PM: Will we ever sign an experienced player? The reason I ask is I think we need a leader on the pitch? I don't see a leader

    PC: I let Daniel talk about leadership. On your first question obviously we believe in youth, we believe in academy, we believe in promoting players. Its the same strategy we have at Nice. There is no magical "we can't recruit anyone over a certain age". On the experience side, experience is not always age. We look at games played at a high level. Before we got here and you see a player like Hourihane who had 150 off games at a high level at a young age. That's more of our math. Regarding leadership on the pitch...

    DS: I'm going to paraphrase this quite long answer :) Daniel agreed that leaders who have played at a higher level is a good thing. They didn't think they had leaders to start with. The player's characters have improved as the season had progressed and Cameron McGeehan coming into the team has provided a leader on the pitch. Also said we have a good heart in the middle of the park with McGeehan, Mowett and Dougall (and the centre backs). Happy not only with the results but the development of the character and responsibility within the team.

    PC: Talked about the hard work of Daniel and Chris and team that means there is an amazing team spirit that he didn't see at all last season

    Daniel talked about persuading players to stay after relegation. Looking back on the careers you can say I was relegated with Barnsley and moved on or you can say I was relegated from Barnsley and was promoted with Barnsley.


    (As an aside from this, I was talking to one of the staff at the club recently and they were telling me what a phenomenal club captain Adam Davis is. Best one they have dealt with in years. Meticulous in organising the players with community commitments, discipline etc etc. Not the sort of thing we see I guess but I thought it was interesting)


    CVdW: How hard has it been, I came from Holland and it took me 5 years to understand these people. I still struggle after 20 odd years. How has it been to settle in this area?

    Cue Daniel demonstrating some choice Barnsley phrases the club staff have taught him.

    He explained 2 years ago he wouldn't have believed you if you'd told him he'd be working in England, speaking English as someone who only spoke Germany and liked where he lived. Explained he is happy here and it's not so difficult. He lives in Barnsley and loves it.


    Question about players that don't want to be here.

    Daniel talked about players leaving. One door closes another opens. He liked Brad Potts but Jacob Brown has taken the opportunity. We made the best decision for this club.

    PC: We have no plans to sell players. We can't stop other teams bidding on players. Bradshaw all-time biggest in Millwall's history. Bradd Potss all-time biggest purchase and so in both those situations, we had replacements ready to go. Bradshaw/Woodrow, Potts/Brown. We must have turned down 10 bids on both those players and also with the players been told they are being offered triple the wages it gets more complicated.


    PR: How busy was your phone on deadline day

    PC: Well Gauthier's phone was busy not mine. We gave Gauthier one mission before he left for Nice and that was to wrap up business here before he leaves. This summer and this January was the same thing we are keeping the squad together but if we have ways to improve the squad we are going to do that. There was a big focus on getting George Miller and he was the top target of the window and Gauthier worked till 9 pm on the last day.


    Can we recall him back from Bradford?

    PC: Good question. He was the top target of the window. Middlesborough did not have a recall clause on his loan which is unusual so we got a deal done with Middlesborough early in the window and worked until the last hour to try to work with Bradford to get a deal done to get him back. But we'd rather get the bigger deal done.


    AB: It's been good to have 11 of our own players on the pitch (rather than loans)

    PC: We've learned from making mistakes. At Nice, we don't bring in loan players everything is through what we have. If someone will give us loan + option we will consider that but we look at that player as we are buying that player. We are bringing the same thing here. Gauthier going to Nice creates an opportunity for Barnsley because we believe some that some players at Nice in a promoted Barnsley team either permanent/loan or loan + option could be smart. Watford stayed in the premier league the first couple of years to stabilise them in the premier league. Upon promotion we are thinking of creative ways, how can we establish ourselves as mid table championship right from day one.


    Gally: Gauthier recently explained the process for identifying players. Is there ever a situation where Daniel can actually sign someone who is not identified by data?

    PC: So we are big believers in German players in the squad. The reason Barhe is here is because of his relationship with Daniel. If we said to him, hey come to Barnsley, he wouldn't take our call. We're excited about the potential for promotion because last January we made bids on 6 different German players. They all turned us down. They like being in Germany. We like the fact that with Daniel being here expands out recruiting.


    PM: I know you realise you come to one of the most deprived areas of the country. Can you do any offers for people?

    PC: Average season ticket price is 14 pounds. We want to be smarter about attracting concessions
     
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  3. Gally

    Gally Administrator Staff Member Admin

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    Gally: The company accounts of Barnsley Football Club (2002) Ltd for the year to 31 May 2018 (the first accounts covering the new ownership) will not be published until the end of February 2019. In the mean-time, can Mr Conway confirm that Mr Cryne’s loan was repaid from a second call on share capital, and not from profits on the sale of players, as many fans seem to believe?
    PS:
    Yes I can confirm we bought the club and all the debt was cancelled. Patrick cared about the legacy of this club. As part of his legacy, he made decisions that I think obviously financially hurt his family. We see some of this news out there that Patrick or us are taking player sales. Everything, even before we got here, went back into the club. So as we say in America, FAKE NEWS! :)
    DZ: What you will see in the accounts when they are published at the end of the month is the balance sheet in a stronger position post take over. Equity in it now is roughly 9million now as opposed to 3m before the takeover. There was a debt owed on the balance sheet, a soft debt, which has been tidied up.

    Gally: Has the Puma contract been renewed?
    RZ:
    We're under contract next season and the season after. There was an extension on that two seasons ago

    Gally: We can't really have one of these without asking about having a bigger scoreboard (I've scrubbed off the bottle tops off the agenda)
    RZ:
    From a commercial point of view, the scoreboard makes a lot less sense than an LED permimeter. They are the same sort of supplier so you'd probably see a scoreboard following shortly after.
    PC: With the way Daniel's team play you don't need a scoreboard
    Gally: Replays would be nice I suppose...
    PC: Focus on the pitch. Dont be looking at the scoreboard :) Every game you'll see something amazing :)

    AB: Daniel who was the best team we've played.
    Watching one game I think it was Doncaster. Over several games, I think Luton
    Gally: Some fans have become increasingly frustrated by the lazy and ineffective ball boys...
    PC: We actually talked about this today at the academy level and it is important. In Daniels and Chris's system, we need the ball back in quickly so we have been assured that this will be fixed.


    Discipline in younger footballers was discussed in general and PC talked about bringing more of the facilities into the club helping here. At Nice, everything is yes sir, no sir. That will be addressed.

    There was some discussion about what happens if the Donny game is rearranged due to the FA Cup. (and the Sky payment)

    PR: Can I check there is no appetite to change the club crest.
    No that's not our thing. We are professional people. We aren't going to dabble with the clubs history. However, we do want to improve the merchandise and better get the brands out to other parts of the world that are looking for football clubs. We want Barnsley to be their football club.


    Is there any chance of bringing the catering in-house considering the issues with this and the previous 2 catering companies
    RZ:
    yes its a common theme isn't it. We've got the remainder of this season and then next season under contract and then a break clause. We'll look at all options then including bringing it in house. Ups and downs for both. Derisking it but losing some control. If its ours.

    PC: As part of the fan zone we are looking at food trucks to give people more options.

    Have you seen who's reffing this Saturday at Gillingham Daniel? What do you think of the standard of refereeing?
    DS:
    The standard is way different. Lot of inconsistency which is what I don't understand sometimes. DS was told not that many refs, don't get paid much money, 15 refs for league one. Watched a second league game in Germany and it wasn't as fast flowing as in England. Stop/start. We got 5 yellows against Oxford but were fouled so many times.
    Well, it will get worse on Saturday Daniel :)

    AB: What do you think of the standard of grounds you have visited and our all-seater policy?
    DS: I watched Arsenal v Liverpool and sat with the Arsenal fans. Everyone was stood clapping at the beginning and the match kicked off and no one sat down. I had paid for a seat! :)
    We have 45 homes games, maybe not Sunderland but we have so many away fans that it feels like a home game every game. Accrington there were more of our fans there (and Peterborough). Yes, very good. For me, it's not really different. I like it that the supporters are more, in my opinion, are more honest. For hard work, the players get support and I say to the players, better players make mistakes but people forget but people celebrate a good pass. When a player makes a big mistake in Germany they might have to substitute the player as they get booed etc. This is very different. This I like.


    RB: You said in Germany players cant play Saturday/Tuesday. You have a settled team now have you come to the conclusion that they can do this?
    I do not know how they do this. Look at Alex Mowett. Train every time. 100% run every time. play every game. I don't know. Unbelievable. In Germany too many games, too much rain every time too much. They like to play and train. When we finish training they say can we do 20 minutes shooting. Unbelievable

    Gally: Would it be for the owners to update the club via official channels?
    We are a professional organisation here. I think the last thing we want is board members going out there talking about whatever. We have really good staff here who are the front line. Secondly, we are very confidential. We not going to say a word about transfer policy or targets because any leak is going to hurt the club. At the very least it's going to cost the club more. We've tried to do it in a different way, you'll see the board a lot. You can come and talk to us, we'll be honest but we want the leadership of the club to be front of the club.


    Gally: I guess some of what you have shared tonight are the sorts of things they the wanting to hear. They haven't heard a lot from you in your first year is what they were getting at with the question.
    That's why we had tonight :)
    I've met many of you on the road and I've spoken to you. We have people who work here and love this club. If something is needed we will do it but...
    AL: I think we talk quite a lot but I think people don't always read and listen.
    PC: We're aren't changing our plan, its the same plan we described in the press conference but we will be very confidential about other things because have some special things in the club. Why should we make it harder to acquire players? Towards the end of the window when other clubs are out of ideas they look at a club like ours to see what we are up to.
     
  4. Skryptic

    Skryptic Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic read, really great to hear all of that. Excited at the prospect of a link with Nice. I was initially cautious regarding the takeover, I didn't want some chancer like Chansiri to come in and try to cheat our way into the Prem. Delighted that they seem to be setting about it the right way.
     
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  5. EdinburghRed

    EdinburghRed Active Member

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    Well done Gally, and thanks for taking the time - how many keyboards did you wear out.....:D
     
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  6. Sna

    Snaptin Member

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    Great read that Gally. Well done and thanks for all your efforts here!
     
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  7. Bak

    Baka Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this! It must have taken you ages!
     
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  8. Tyk

    Tyke91 Active Member

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    I am excited for the future of this club!
     
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  9. Can

    Cantley_Tyke Active Member

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    Brilliant this. All sounds very positive and great to hear that contrary to 1001 bbs threads in January, they don't want to sell the players and they rejected a lot of bids, but like it was said, they got rid of players who didn't want to be at Barnsley and 2 clubs had to break their transfer records to get them.

    Thanks Gally.
     
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  10. Fon

    Fonzie Well-Known Member

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    Good read that.

    Many thanks.
     
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  11. Mac

    Macks40 Member

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    Fantastic read. I think we’re in good hands here and what Patrick did by writing off his debt was remarkable
     
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  12. Car

    CarltonRed Active Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this up, very much appreciated.
    There are exciting and motivating messages from the owners and I bet not many clubs can say that.
     
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  13. churtonred

    churtonred Well-Known Member

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    Cheers Gally. Much appreciated.
     
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  14. Bossman

    Bossman Well-Known Member

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    Cheers for that Gally,
     
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  15. tinatyke

    tinatyke Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic read. Thanks so much Gally.
     
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  16. Sha

    Shat tyke Member

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    Greatly appreciated Gally, very positive and enlightening.
    All comforting for the future
     
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  17. Con

    Connor Well-Known Member

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    Thanks gally . Great read
     
  18. Dod

    Dodgy Back Tyke Active Member

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    Brilliant stuff - thanks!
     
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  19. wombwell-red

    wombwell-red Well-Known Member

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    Cheers Gally much appreciated!
     
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  20. Dan

    DannyWilsonLovechild Well-Known Member

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    Some interesting points in there, with slightly more flesh on the bones of some of the nominal content that they've shared to date.

    The main point for me still comes down to why they bought the club, for what ends. And having been asked numerous times, they've not answered it. Its a really simple question to answer, but the implications are in what the answer is.

    So all we are left to do is look at the vacuum of information in that respect and speculate.

    There are certainly some positives, but there is a lack of clarity in the ownership structure and the actual ownership being offshore and opaque. There are 8 Directors. Some operational, like James Cryne and Robert Zuk. GG, who will remain but has another job, and then seemingly some or all of the people, BB aside, who are in the investment vehicle.

    We still don't know why the investment vehicle is in Hong Kong, or how they expect to generate return for themselves. They aren't philanthropists. Which is all fine. They don't seem to be asset strippers, and there is nothing wrong in a capital world of seeing opportunity that fits with personal and company ambitions and looking to generate return and profit.

    If they generate better football product, better facilities, grow revenue, improve quality of products, improve commerciality and revenue streams to wider more international audiences and as a result profit and natural investment swell, nobody has issue with them saying, thanks, we've done well, lets take some reward. I wouldn't at least.

    Seeing as they don't want to throw personal money at it (and from their backgrounds, I didn't expect that at all), we can rule out this as a vanity project that some owners get sucked into. Chansiri a prime example. So if it's a business decision, then there has to be something owning a british football club allows them to do which they otherwise wouldn't be able to do, or do less effectively.

    My instinct at the moment makes me think it's not so much about football and a straight transactional profit, its wider than that and a conduit to generate growth in their other businesses in the UK, or other target markets which may benefit from a bit of glamourised football involvement.

    When you look at the ownership nationalities, America, China and India... you have massive audiences that if engaged with could generate significant revenue. India is the interesting one with a huge population that if an Indian part owner could be leveraged could be highly fruitful and distinctly different to many ownership structures.

    We'll just have to watch this space, but I certainly don't see business disposal on their horizon in the next decade when you look at the younger directors involved.
     

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