Members’ meeting: December

December 14, 2019

Sunset Suite, Brunton Park

Frank Beattie as Chair introduced the Board members present. Nigel Davidson sent his apologies. Jack Oddie was introduced as the newest board member.

Questions were invited.

Q: John Kukuc resignation – what proposal was he ‘forced’ to agree with?

A: John agreed with the objective of the proposal. He didn’t accept the ‘process’. He wasn’t ‘forced’ to vote in any way. Jim Mitchell said the proposal was concerned with succession. It was part of that process. The process has since advanced a bit and he was optimistic there would be more news soon.

Q: An assurance was requested that the CUOSC shareholding was not for sale.

A: We would consider reducing our shareholding if the right party came along. Nothing is being given away. Frank commented that it was CUOSC’s duty to ensure future owners are ‘fit and proper’. Yahya Kirdi was an example of someone who we deemed did not meet that standard.

Q: Have CUOSC met the interested party (in CUFC)?

A: Billy stated that reprensentatives had been met. When it was suggested that it was only the wealth of this individual that was attracting CUOSC’s backing, it was stated that there was a plan/vision outlined that CUOSC were party to. More information was still being sought, however.

Q: Any more information on the ‘proposal’ that led John Kukuc to resign?

A: Billy refuted the suggestion that John did not know enough about the proposal to make a decision. He was unable to go into details due to confidentiality.

Q: Has dilution been asked for?

A: Our board reps Billy and Jim said that ALL approaches have asked for dilution. While we wished it wasn’t like that, that was the reality. Billy said no-one has asked us to ‘give up’ shares.

Q: Would CUOSC agree to dilute as a Board or consult members?

A: There are no guarantees. It would depend on the circumstances of any specific offer. Norman reminded members present that the 2006 SGM agreed on the parameters of the final share purchase. Ideally, it would again. The Board had legal right within the constitution to agree to dilution without a member vote. (Note: actual dilution of CUOSC’s shareholding has taken place in the last two years, without a member vote, although the voting percentage remains unchanged at 25.4%)

Q: Is a third party who doesn’t seek or want fans’ approval for a takeover, someone who doesn’t care for fans?

A: Too early to say that about anyone. Organisation talked to doesn’t want to exclude supporters. CUOSC confident of taking it forward and being in a position to give more details soon.

Q: Sharp practices are still around in football. Do we need 25.4% today?

A: Billy said a shareholding of over 25% can deter investors. This can hold the club back. However CUOSC are not giving up shares. He said other shareholders in Holdings ‘would’ give them up if approached to do so. Any major shareholder/investor would want more than 75%. The people currently interested will work with supporters.

Q: Can CUOSC bring in more funds?

A: Jack Oddie said that while CUOSC were not as relevant, in his opinion, as they could be, he had been ‘pleasantly surprised’ by the positive reaction he got at his first board meeting earlier this week. He said there was an opportunity to become more relevant. Norman stated there were still four potential vacancies for new board members.

Some ideas from members mentioned to help promote CUOSC included: basic merchandise, a more active social media presence and more info provided by Board reps. Up until now, the majority of news from within CUFC came out via the regular CUSG meetings. Billy agreed more info could be provided.

Q: Could more info be given about recent ‘failed’ approaches to the club?

A: The ‘Lumsdon’ bid had gone via the ‘back door’. The Chair of CUFC and EWM had jointly drawn up the statement that the club released in response. Jim said that, in his opinion, there was insufficient ‘werewithal’ in the earlier Andrew Lapping and Robin Brown deals to take the club forward.

Billy was asked about recent speculation concerning ‘sell-on’ bonuses. He confirmed there were sell-on clauses for both Sam Cosgrove and Dean Henderson. Already some money had come in for Henderson and also for Liam McCarron, who was sold to Leeds United in the summer. He said the club would do well out of all these deals. Billy also said there would be funds available to strengthen the squad in January.

Billy was asked about the departure of Steven Pressley. He said there had been a Holdings meeting a fortnight earlier in which SP’s position was discussed. There was some disagreement about his future but he was assessed thereafter and the decision eventually taken to part ways. His replacement Chris Beech was someone the club had earmarked and he was appointed following a vote of the Holdings Board, following recommendation from Director of Football David Holdsworth. Michael Bridges had not been interviewed by the Holdings Board. There was some disagreement about whether the now departed Nathan Rooney’s ‘loan’ from Fleetwood Town had already been made public.

CUOSC were urged to apply pressure for more initiatives like last season’s ‘8kforMK’ which had generated a lot of goodwill.
It was suggested from the floor that the club occasionally ‘pinch’ ideas from CUOSC.

It was suggested that CUOSC should ‘get away from the tent’ in the minds of supporters by stating ambitions more regularly for change and progression within CUFC.

It was stated to wind up the meeting that regular members meetings would be held to keep people updated.