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Share Issue Failure Blow To Stadium?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 07/12/2001

THE GRIMSBY TELEGRAPH today published a story regarding the share issue failure with chairman Peter Furneaux calling it "a blow" in regard to the new stadium. The new share issue was blocked by some of the major shareholders including members of the previous board.

The report, by Stuart Rowson of the Grimsby Telegraph, states

GrimsbyTown chairman Peter Furneaux has vowed the board will not waiver in their pursuit of a new stadium despite a group of former directors vetoing their plans to inject £360,000 into the club kitty.

Furneaux admitted that the rejection of the share issue was a massive blow to the plans.

But he and the board will hold a meeting with the stadium developers on Monday as they look at the best way to push on with the project which goes before a public inquiry in the New Year.

"The stadium is the greatest way forward. The share issue was a blow but we have to find a way around it," he said.

The club must raise £14-mil lion for the proposed new stadium near Great Coates and had hoped to raise some cash by unlocking the capital in 360,000 unissued shares.

That move was blocked at an emergency general meeting a fortnight ago but the club are still desperate to move from the outdated facilities at Blundell Park - especially with the prospect of a breakaway Premier League Two on the horizon.

"If we can't issue 360,000 shares, it makes it difficult when we need £4-million to get the stadium underway.

"But we're not putting it on hold and this football club is 100 per cent behind a new stadium. I want to make that clear."

The share release was rejected after previous chairman Bill Carr and former directors Clive Aspinall and Stephen Bygott, backed by some other share holders, voted against.

Furneaux held talks in a bid to ease the in-fighting which has plagued the club for years, but says that the Carr group has yet to take the olive branch.

"There are no applications to join the board before us."

"I've made the overtures for them to come aboard but, as yet, nothing has happened. We'll just continue to get on with making this club successful.

"We must have the resolve to take this club forward and we do have it. It's been made difficult, but that doesn't mean the problem is insurmountable and that we won't succeed.

"We need a break - on the pitch and off it."

Billo says: I admit to being a little puzzled. I may have been mistaken but I believe that a statement earlier this year indicated that the share issue would raise additional funds to assist the club through its present financial difficulties.

My understanding was that the stadium project was a separate issue to the rest of the club's business problems and that sponsorships, grants, advertising and the sale of Blundell Park were all part of the funding effort for the new stadium.

If one is talking of a £14 million stadium, £340,000, which will help, is hardly a sufficient amount to cast doubt on, or jeopardise the project a great deal.

But the chairman is right in worrying about the shareholders not voting in favour of the new rights issue. If the stadium project is to be successful, it will need every shareholder and supporter to back the board.

An olive branch has been proffered to those who baulked the move but no response has been received so far. Let us hope that the past board are not going to play political games at the expense of the club.

Maybe the time has come for Bill Carr and Co to state their position and give some indication of their future intentions.

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