5 Years on - what have the Americans done for us?
It’s been almost 5 years since the American consortium bought most of the shares and I think it’s a good time to air the things that they’ve done since arriving. I’ve kept this list going of the things they’ve done – some good, some bad. Some of things listed are objective and some are my subjective opinion, and of course I’ve probably missed some things out. Here’s what I’ve got:-
1) Colluded with old directors in not informing and involving the Trust in impending share purchase
2) Didn’t get back with details to the Trust when asked for further details of potential share purchase
3) Prompted the unfair dismissal of Keefe and Penny by HJ
4) No management accounts given to Trust for months after take over
5) Appointment then reversal of Dineen appointment as Director
6) Arguably, the sacking of Guidolin. Opinion was and still is divided on this. But the manner of the sacking was appalling.
7) Appointment of Bob Bradley
8) Very difficult to get hold of and respond to Trust issues – we are just a small part of a larger portfolio – hence lots of delays in dealings and decisions
9) Changed the deal on the table to the Trust– around payment scheduling and gagging clause
10) Pulled out of the proposed settlement deal when season had finished – all due to relegation and potential drop in value of shares
11) Delayed sales and delayed purchases of replacements (and those being inadequate) in the Summer 2017 window – major contribution to getting relegated – we’d have probably stayed up otherwise so relegation firmly placed at their door
12) Made final deal with Council for Stadium lease without involving the Trust – they previously knew of the proposals in general terms only
13) Refused the Trust’s request to provide the names of shareholders of our American major shareholding company when formally asked around Christmas 2017
14) Ignoring repeated demands for HJ to be removed – and public endorsement of his greatness in July 2018
15) Ignorance of fans’ feeling against Jenkins – prolonging the antagonism and widening chasm between the supporters and the club
16) Refusal to provide detailed financial accounts to the Trust Director without him signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement
17) Evicted the Vice Presidents from their Lounge and seats in the West Stand for the purposes of enhanced hospitality packages
18) Some would say lack of investment – I wouldn’t – personally, I’m happy to stay within our means without further share issues or loans from them
19) Bought a piece of land next to the stadium at a time when expansion seemed unlikely
20) Oversaw dramatic increase in club operating costs and staff numbers – since been addressed during Birch tenure
21) Did not consult or inform the Trust of increases in prices for stadium car parking
22) Shirt and shorts sponsorship awarded after production of 2018-2019 and punters made to pay extra for their inclusion on the shirts.
23) Missed the 2 deadlines for responses relating to mediation process with the Trust
24) After firm arrangements had been made for a mediation meeting with the Trust, Levien pulls out at the last minute.
25) Being prepared to let Daniel James go to Leeds on loan, even though it could potentially have resulted in a permanent move.
26) Downgrading the Academy from Cat 1 to Cat 2? Personally, I think was necessary but most think otherwise
27) Delayed maintenance of the steelwork corrosion, thereby increasing costs when it was done (maybe we should put this in Birch’s lap)
28) Apparent imposition of Morris and Arriola loans on SC
(1) Maybe the Stadium Lease – could allow expansion but now unlikely unless we get promoted
(2) Good try with replacing Clement with Carlos – but bad start of the season killed us and that was their fault
(3) Appointment of Pearlman – seemed professional and had a good relationship with the Trust.
(4) Authorised good spending and recruitment in January 2017 window – this was a major contribution in Clement keeping us up in 2017
(5) Appointment of new manager in Graham Potter but he was on HJ’s radar a long time ago so not totally attributable to the Americans
(6) Increased commercial activity and possible future naming rights for stadium
(7) Opening of new club shop in the City Centre – ended up being closed but I thought it was a good idea and at least they tried
(8) Increased use of stadium for good crowd-pulling concerts – subsided due to Covid
(9) Pre-match Fan Zone – this hasn’t been a success and I didn’t think it would be but they’ve tried something different
(10) Decreased the price of stadium parking for disabled blue badge holders
(11) Keeping season ticket prices more or less the same for years and ridiculously low for 2021-2022
(12) Continued with subsidised away ticket prices through these years
(13) Getting rid of Jenkins (or allowed him to resign in lieu of dismissal? Maybe we’ll never know)
(14) Appointment of Birch to replace Jenkins and seemingly leaving him to it with a high degree of autonomy
(15) Getting our finances on an even keel to offset the effect of relegation and loss of parachute payments– heavily helped by Birch here though
(16) Appointment of Andy Scott
(17) Removal of betting company on front of shirts – although this may have been Birch’s decision
(18) Arguably the good appointment of Steve Cooper providing managerial stability and 2 play-offs – more of a Birch thing though. I used the word “arguably” because our style has gone out of the window and I’d say about half would disagree that it was “good”.
(19) Good backing to Cooper in Jan 2021 window – Hourihane, Morris, Arriola, Whittaker, Freeman. Some would argue that he wasn’t backed for an experienced centre forward though.
(20) Seemingly good appointment of new Academy Director and apparent re-invigoration of the Academy