Dear club sponsors, supporters, employees and volunteers,
I thought I’d let the dust settle from yesterday’s announcement before following up today. I particularly wanted to see what the reaction was from the announcement and I am overwhelmed by the kind thoughts and messages from the vast majority of sensible people associated with the club. It is very heartwarming and shows that this club has a lot of very good people supporting it.
Now the beauty of stepping down (although I am still the Chairman at the moment) means that I don’t have to be measured or diplomatic about what I say anymore. One thing I have noticed is that there is a tiny proportion of crazies out there who have nothing good to say about our club, some of them who should know better, having been in the same position at the club as I am now. One example of craziness is a statement that I ran off with the money from the Bradford Bulls game on March 11th! Having had only one home game that month I wonder how that individual thought the players payroll and other club running costs were met in March? And why did I wait until 2nd May, some 7 weeks later, after having had only 4 home games and 6 away games so far, to step down? Whoever made that statement is up to mischief and their motives should not be trusted.
Another very strange statement was that I had resigned from my own company which I wasn’t able to do. Anyone who has a smattering of knowledge of company law will know that the shareholders appoint the directors to run the company. Anyone who is allowed to be a company director (which, de facto, I am – contrary to some of the crazies opinions) can be appointed by the shareholders to run the company in the best interests of the shareholders. I can still be a shareholder and creditor of the club (which I am and will continue to be until someone buys the club from the existing shareholders) and not a director. Due to many personal (I have a six month old son) and business (my other business interests are growing so fast I can’t spend the time I need to at the club) reasons I decided it was time for a change for the club and I wished someone else to be a director, rather than myself. To expect me to be a director until the end of my days is unrealistic and would be a grim outlook for anyone! The one certainty of life is change.
The shareholders and the Board will announce the new director, or directors, that are replacing me, before 26th May.
Now, some people have an opinion that I should have waited until the end of the season before stepping down. That opinion is conventional but completely wrong. In the off season the work is about renewing sponsorships, recruiting the last 5 or 6 key members of the new squad and preparing for the new season. Preparation in particular takes a lot of effort and it is difficult to know what to prepare unless you have experienced the season running. It takes experience to rev the club up for the first game after the 3 or 4 month down period. As I’m stepping down and was instrumental in the preparation for the new seasons over the years, it makes sense for me to step down during the season so that the new director, or directors, can see how the club works (i.e. they have a template in their mind so they can use it for revving up the following season), they can build relationships with the coaching staff and the players and select which players they want to go forward with for the following season, and finally, during the season they can build relationships with the sponsors and fans. Accordingly, it makes sense to step down at about this point in the season, which I have.
Another minor point, which was said on Facebook, is that the club appears to have around £8k unsatisfied CCJs. A club like ours will always have periods of low, or no, cash and CCJs are sometimes inevitable. However, the level of unsatisfied CCJs is only around £600 with all other CCJs having been settled but the final court paperwork not being processed because, quite simply, it’s yet more money the club has to find in paying for the administration of the paperwork and, once you have one CCJ, satisfied or not, no bank will invest in you. To be clear, no bank will invest in a League 1 rugby league club without a CCJ, let alone with one!
The point of the paragraph above is to provide some fact behind dispelling any concern that the club is going into administration. The club ALWAYS has cash challenges but it is far from Armaggedon at the moment.
Penultimately, a word for the small self serving band of keyboard tappers who post on Cougarmania FaceBook but seem to be supporters of a rival club, rather than our own supporters. Frankly, I think it’s disgusting that you are incredibly quick to blame and criticise the coach and players when we lose and say absolutely nothing when we win. I don’t mind criticism but it must be balanced with praise, where praise is due. To only spout negativity is very lazy thinking (it’s a lot easier to think of something negative than positive, try the opposite sometime soon tappers) and I am confounded as to what pleasure it can bring you, tapping away lines of vitriol to upset the players and wear away at their confidence when you are supposed to be supporters of the club. Go type on another club’s page, or better still, get off your backsides and come down to Cougar Park, watch a game and talk to our players, coaching staff, directors, etc. Rugby league is unique in the level of accessibility to people at the club and, when used properly, it is a gift and one the sport should be proud of. Self serving keyboard tappers, stop throwing low punches and cheap shots and appreciate the work our players put in for a change.
And finally, for a town the size of Keighley the attendances on match days are less than desirable despite our brand of rugby being very exciting. I meet a lot of people who say “I used to come down to Cougar Park”. So what, get yourself down NOW! Being part of this club is a great experience. Support it and the new Board.