Wednesdayite Q&A - Part 2
Continuing our write-up of Tuesday night's discussion with Wednesdayite chairman Darryl Keys...
takeoverneededfast: If you won't name your price, what are you going to do with the shares and how long will this go on for?
DK: We will always be happy to discuss giving up our shares in the context of a serious proposal which offers a material solution for the club - until we get approached with this we cannot do any more - we have done everything we can to be open to such an approach.
takeoverneededfast: Would it take something like administration or relegation for things to change?
DK: Hopefully not - we would hope common sense will prevail and someone to approach us with the assurances we seek - we are fans like all of you and like you we crave success - we do not see Mr Allen's offer as a solution and feel our shares can be used for a much more productive solution.
By the way we do support the Shareholder's Association scheme and will be seeking member's approval.
takeoverneededfast: The process of giving your shares back is clearly not a simple issue. So what about all the other shares? What can be done to make them less sporadic in case a serious investor turns up who wants a quick resolution?
DK: A rights issue would concentrate bigger holdings into fewer hands and we are surprised it has not been done if 51% is so vital.
The Shareholder's Association scheme is trying to achieve the same in a different way and should be supported.
Finally, if someone came with a good plan and addressed our concerns we can organise a member ballot pretty quickly and certainly quicker than a rights issue - but our 10% and the board's 31% still does not equal 51%.
Is Dennis Hobson a supporter of Wednesdayite? And has he ever told you not to give the shares back to Dave Allen?
DK: DH is a supporter of Wednesdayite. He has never told us not to give the shares back but note that 90% of our members voted against selling the shares back in Jan 2006 in an independent ballot - I do not know how DH voted.
mightyowl: When is the next ballot planned for?
DK: I think it is pretty clear that unless Mr Allen engages in proper dialogue and presents a proper proposal to our members (who come what may decide the fate of our shares) then any sale will simply not occur. All we seek is what would normally happen in such circumstances - a normal proposal, the ability to seek clarification and assurances on any concerns and then proceed to ballot.
If Mr Allen refuses to provide a proposal, refuses to have any dialogue and refuses to deal with any concerns in a proper fashion then there is simply no proposal to put to our members. That is not us trying to be power mad or obstructive, but just us asking for pretty standard information and clarification in the usual way these things are dealt with. If our shares were that important (to the board), I am surprised this level of communication is not taking place.
There were a couple of queries about the Paul Gregg takeover..
US Owl: In cases such as the failed takeover from Paul Gregg, is it possible for you to contact the potential buyer once you are aware of it and if so, why do you not contact him/them direct, instead of waiting for a gilt-edged invitation?
We did not want to interfere with any negotiations and it would have been wrong of us to make any approach which might have scuppered them. If people are making serious overtures for the club we have to expect and rely on the fact that they would want to speak to its major shareholders.
US Owl: So you don't think Paul Gregg was serious or DA was trying to play it cute?
We believe PG was serious in his bid for the board's shares - if he wasn't he wouldn't have gone to the trouble and expense of a 6 month process and due diligence. Wednesdayite's 10% was not a hindrance to that part of the deal in our opinion.
As for DA that is a question for him, as we were not party to the talks.
I would stress that we did try and encourage an approach from PG through the questions and results of our spring survey where members indicated they would be happy to sell to an investor who had a material solution - that was deliberate in our survey to try to show him we were serious about wanting to talk to him.
Many of us wanted to know what happens next!
hellboy: With both the board and Wednesdayite locked in some sort of stalemate what do you think needs to be done mend bridges and take the club forward? Do you honestly see this happening?
DK: Disputes can only be solved through communication and it needs both sides to commit to it. We have suggested mediation and on both occasions it has been refused by the club - the latest in the last fortnight.. to solve it we have to keep trying and keep lobbying people on the inside to get the message through. Our survey will hopefully reinforce that the fans want dialogue to take place - we want it for sure and like most of you we are sick of the squabbling.
ozzietheowl: In your opinion what is the best course of action for 'moving the club forward'?
DK: To work in harmony and for the club to talk to the people who might be able to help i.e. the fans - we all have ideas and skills beyond those of a 5 man board and they should be harnessed and encouraged for the good of the club.
northern irelandowl: The debt is keeping us down, but can really only be cleared by success (Premiership). How can Wednesdayite help in this goal, if they are allowed the necessary communication?
DK: We have a number of commercial and financial suggestions - many of which have been proposed to the club but which remain inactive. If the club worked with us we could raise more funds but I will go into this in more detail this week as it will be a long thread.
northern irelandowl: Do you think the state of the club can be pinned on one individual?
DK: The responsibility for the club rests with its board. They inherited a difficult situation and have made great strides in improving certain aspects. It would be wrong for us not to point out where we feel the club could make further improvements - such as ideas and solutions - in a positive way. We note that other similar sized clubs earn commercial revenues of around £3m per annum more than us - we need to be doing things to catch them up and not keep lagging behind.
A general summing up:
fozzyp: Where do you see our club at the start of next year? And in 5 years time?
DK: This is a question for the SWFC board as they are responsible for running the business and making the decisions which affect it. It would be nice for all this 'rubbish' to be over and for us to be sold a plan which we all believe in and which each and every fan can play their part.
Molly.F: Who would you like to replace DA in the future when he eventually leaves?
DK: Someone with the vision, desire, commitment and funds to take the club forward and who has the ability to accept that there will be different views but who can pull them all together in the same direction.
mightyowl: Do you have a contact number for Wednesdayite and any contact details for DA? Home address will do fine!
DK: Wednesdayite is 0845 0091867 - please note this is an answer machine (as we are volunteers) and if you leave a message we will always try and get back to you ASAP. Also try firstname.lastname@example.org - we have had a serious amount of email and still have a small backlog but you will get an answer.
As for DA - we always write to him at S6!
And finally, a few fun questions:
Auckland Owl: Did you vote for the orange away shirt?!
Oh my god no - I personally hate it! It's not something you can easily wear as a fashion item but I believe it won the vote so we are where we are!
the owler: Do you think Carlos Tevez should be given an honorary MBE and did you support Sheff Utd's bid to be reinstated to the premiership?
No it should be a knighthood.. and what about David Unsworth? Whilst we have rivalry - it would be great to have derby matches with us both in the Premier League - the derby matches would be best there and would be missed if we were in different divisions.
Molly.F: Who's your favourite player for Wednesday?
All time for me - Terry Curran, Willie Henderson, Hirsty, Waddle and Di Canio and finally Colin West ;-)
mightyowl: You missed another legend out, Darryl! Larry May.
DK: How will I ever forget his tight shorts... :-)
And that was all.. for now.
DK: Thanks for inviting me and I appreciate having the opportunity to try to answer your questions and perhaps provide a bit of clarity where it did not exist before. I will be on this site regularly in future and will be pleased to answer questions in the usual threads. Up the Owls!
Thanks Darryl, you're always welcome and great that you took so much time out to answer our questions!