Fan on the Board Reports - 2007
5 December 2007 - FA Inquiry
During the early part of the game last night 3 missiles were thrown on the pitch hitting stewards, the board dragged me over the coals about it last night and I have already had a call this morning, it appears there will possibly be an FA inquiry as there have also been problems at Doncaster, Southend and Leeds.
I am constantly onto the club with every issue I am given by fellow fans, the club will now have to spend many man hours writing reports to try and counteract and possibly FA charge, the time spent doing this could be better spent looking into other issues.
How can anyone defend it, imagine worse case scenario we get docked points or fined, the money will come out of any budget that has been set aside for January, so straight away there is an impact on the team.
I am looking for ideas on how we can put a stop to it, maybe people need to be a bit vigilant around them, I am not talking about calling the stewards or police just having a quiet word with someone, someone who's moment of madness could cost us big time.
Any suggestions drop me a line.
1 December 2007
As John Berylson was over this week I arranged a meeting on Saturday to discuss his views and the recent problems regards stewarding/catering in the last couple of games.
I have been constantly asking people to get in touch regards such meetings and no-one has got in touch, so I asked Nick Hart (Trust/HoF) AldoMillwall (Millwall Online) Keith (NOLU Fanzine) Paul Casella (TLR Fanzine) Bob Asprey (MSC) and the father of someone recently banned. (The ban has since been overturned).
The meeting was mainly John Berylson discussing his plans for the future both footballing and Regen.
Nick and Aldo have written some notes reflecting the meeting. Nick's comments are below. Aldo's can be seen here.
People always ask why not all information about players can be put out, the January budget was discussed and JB said that our budget would be above average for this league this alerts people to the fact we have money available and could add the asking price of players, Aldo has mentioned that JB confirmed O'Hara is a target, this can now alert Tottenham who could put the price up if they are willing to let him go, this is the reason some things should be kept hush.
I honestly think JB has his heart in the right place and as long as we keep him on our side he will look after us, I spoke to him last week regards the recent spate of bannings and he took it on himself to meet all the steward section leaders and told them we the fans should be treated with respect, he also said if anybody continually causes problems they should be banned. He took the time to look into the recent bannings leading to 3 being overturned.
If anyone wants to sit down and discuss anything with the club let me know and I will arrange it.
As always email any questions.
Prior to yesterday's game, a group of Millwall fans were invited by Fan Director Peter Garston to meet the new Millwall chair John Berylson and the now vice chair Stewart Till.
In an interesting and wide ranging conversation, John informed the group that the regeneration plans are on course to obtain planning permission for April / May 2008. As anyone who has ever dealt with a local authority planning department will know however, these things are never conclusive.
As part of the planning process, the full plans will be made public. John did though tell us that a high and low rise block of flats will be included as part of the proposal, as well as a hotel and retail units. The Den is a central part of the proposed complex. He stressed that the football club is an integral part of the regeneration. No Millwall, no regeneration was the way that he put it.
The only circumstances in which we will move from The Den will be if we ever needed larger accommodation - for the Premiership, Champions League and so on. Stop laughing at the back please.
Seriously however, I came out of the meeting very reassured. John Berylson is committed to our club and to seeing us through to better days ahead. He is an engaging character, a huge sports fan and someone who has invested heavily into the club. I genuinely think that he deserves the support and backing of all Millwall fans.
The Archbishop +
25 November 2007
At the game yesterday and the last home game I have had many people tell me there has been several instances of over zealous stewarding leading to bans, also that stewards have been placed in the toilets to stop people smoking, the stewards in the toilets is no doubt in response to the amount of letters received complaining about smoking in the toilets at half time, it does raise an issue as to if the stewards have been CRB checked, I will be trying to find out this week. With all bans and problems with stewards it is so crucial you write in to either myself or the MSC with full details getting the stewards name if possible, this way it can be looked into.
The last complaint that had all the right information names and full details led to two people from outside companies being sacked.
On a lighter note, I had a brief chat with Kenny Jackett after the game, my first impression is that he knows what he wants and what he is doing, and I came away from the conversation pleased we have him in charge. The battling result against Yeovil once again has given us breathing space, but we all need to be aware January is a long way away and we have 14 injured players, if we can keep getting behind the team like we did yesterday (especially if we go behind) we can help the team get through, we will need it Tuesday against the Orient who are on a roll.
I have asked several times if anyone wants to come in and meet with people from the club to discuss any issues they have, the offer is still open.
As always email any questions.
Here is the club response regards CRB checking from Rick Bradbrook General Manager.
My understanding that not all stewards are CRB cleared as this is not a requirement.However the ones that are required to patrol the toilets to stop illegal smoking are S I A and this qualification involves a CRB check.
7 November 2007 - Kenny Jackett
After several very stressful weeks we now have a new manager, we all had our favourites, one thing I am pleased with, although there was a lot of pressure on the board to kneejerk and take on someone that did not fully fulfill our criteria, we held on and got what I think is a good result, how long we could have held on for is another story!
One thing that I need to clear up is the suggestion that the board had their heads in the sand for the last few weeks, the amount of meetings, conference calls and the like during the last few weeks have been incredible, just because it is not publicised daily please don't think it isn't happening, if people were sitting with their heads in the sand I would make sure everyone knew!"
Prior to process the I collated the views of over 500 fellow fans, naming 28 different managers, this proves we all have different ideas as to whom should be manager, the one common thread running through the managers chosen by us was their ability to get teams out of the lower leagues, so although you may have not got your favourite at least the criteria has been adhered to.
I found the whole process very stressful, the search wasn't easy with people counting themselves out for one reason or another this obviously narrowed down who was available, Kenny Jackett was the first target and due to the situation at Maine Rd changing in the last few days we have landed a good manager.
I would say now it is time to forget whoever your personal choice was and get 100% behind Kenny Jackett, it will take time for him to take stock at the club, then make any changes required should he deem them necessary either in the squad or backroom staff.
25 October 2007 - Managerial Update
Just a brief note to let everyone know that the managerial search is ongoing, several candidates have been interviewed already, as soon as any decision has been made I will make sure it is made public ASAP.
Chris Bethel and myself have been busy sorting out the dockers day event, we hope it will rival last years and we will be getting the team that played in the unbeaten 59 game run along to join in the celebrations of our clubs heritage, if you are an old docker and you wish to attend write in to Chris Bethel C/O Millwall FC, The Den, Zampa Rd, London SE16 3LN we would like to get a short piece form all applicants giving a little bit of history as to how it was following Millwall as a docker, if your piece is selected then you will be invited along to as a VIP guest, the day will be held on Saturday February 23rd against Port Vale |
Just to clarify my role here are the objectives given to me by the MSC when I begun, I realise it is very frustrating when people want me to give more information than I can, but as I have said many time I am restricted in what I can say, I try to put out as much info as I can.
If you have any ideas how I can improve things email either the MSC or myself, I really don’t have the time to trawl the message boards looking for questions so emails really make this a lot easier for me;
- to enable MFC to build and sustain the closest possible relationship with its current fan base
- to enable the views, interest and aspirations of the fan base to be taken into the fullest possible account
- to provide a stronger foundation for growth of the fan base, both in the local community and across the adjacent region
9 October 2007 - Managerial Update
Willie Donachie as we all now has now left, the search for a new manager begins, I have put forward our views as the type of manger we need, one with a proven track record in the lower leagues, one with good man management skills and the ability to spot a good player to bring in.
I have now been through the departure of 2 managers and it isn’t easy with Willie it was harder than the last time as no matter what anyone says Willie wanted success as much as we all did, so doubt his team selections and tactics by all means but believe me he passionately wanted us to do well.
Since I took on this role I have met lots of people I would not normally have come into contact with Willie being one, he topped the list as a man with stung morals, beliefs and he stuck by those beliefs to the end.
During the recent period people have been "on my case" saying why am I not doing this, doing that, saying this, saying that, I have no problem with criticism where due but as I have said before I cannot give people a running commentary on what is going on, I ensure the MSC and Trust chair people are aware and that’s it, if there are things I can put in the public domain I do, when this happens I think people are doubting me and that leads me to sleepless nights!
Also people saying the board are trying to destroy this club so we can play at a smaller ground and the board are lining their pockets, I can tell you 100% no one on the board wants Millwall to struggle and get relegated, no-one on the board is lining their pockets in fact since my time in post they only ever put their hands in their pockets, no-one on the board even takes expenses myself included.
If the board did want the club to fold surely they would have kept Spackman in post or not taken swift action this time, the board may at times make wrong decisions but they are always taken with the club at heart, you will have to take my word on that.
So now begins the search for a replacement, I need people to start coming up with suggestions so I can take the "fans choice" to the board, if people can start either emailing me or starting polls on line it will be a great help.
30 August 2007 - August Update
DB has finally left the club and the search for a striker continues a search that has been going on for weeks.
I am in a very sticky position as to what I say, I cant disclose what clubs or players we are talking to I can only try and put peoples minds at rest that discussions are ongoing and will be until the window shuts, then a week later the loan window opens, there is a very strong possibility something will happen before Friday.
I am involved/informed all along as to what has been happening regards every signing/departure more recently Darren Byfield and his replacement, people are talking about 48 hours to save our season, the search for a striker has been going on for weeks with a few not coming off after getting very close, there are 2 options at the moment that are nearing completion, but as I am learning things can change very quickly, the manager will have targets that he will be after but so will other clubs, so we could be virtually signing someone and the deal fall through at the last minute due to a counter bid.
We are getting more information than ever that is part of the problem, it has now become expected and at times I just cant pass it on, when I cant its not because I don’t want to its because I cant.
The club has brought in players during the window like Ryan Smith and Danny Spiller who are good additions to the squad, Ryan once fully fit should improve even further. All I can do is make sure the board knows our feelings and I do that week in week out.
I am frustrated as anyone at our mediocre start, but we are only 3 games in and there is time to turn it around, after 10 games last season at this point we had 5 points and Willie turned our season around, so I believe he deserves time.
This season I hope to run mini forums at the club before certain home games to discuss whatever areas of the club we want to discuss, bringing in people from the club to answer questions regarding their area not just the footballing side the forums will be based on what people want to talk about, I also want to get feedback on how I carry out the role and if anyone can see ways of improving it.
My biggest challenge is to also reach the non internet community so any ideas will help. I have tried the local papers, radio stations etc but to no avail. So if you have something you want discussed drop me a line and I will arrange everything.
The Lions Trust/MSC have helped by handing out leaflets to fans coming into the ground to get feedback perhaps that can happen again.
I must repeat all I can do is take the feeling of the fans to the board as I do, as I did with Nigel Spackman and others, I know I am giving this 100% effort, it does get a bit gutty at times like this but I knew that when I took on the role.
Any suggestions how I can improve how I am doing it, let me know, if you want a quick response it is best to email me, if you feel you can help me in any way drop me a line also as it is hard work flying solo at times. email@example.com
18 July 2007 - Sierra Leone Game
Fellow fans and the MSC have been in touch with me regards the Sierra Leone game, both the MSC and myself have been trying to get answers, sometimes things seem quiet but there is always lots going on in the background.
Therefore I have been in touch the club regards the game I have asked why it was decided to use the game to celebrate the abolishment of slavery, I explained that all fans would agree with that, but Millwall FC or its fans have no links with slavery at all, slavery was abolished over 100 years before we were even founded, many fans see the association as our club being used as a political football.
What is in it for Millwall?
The main aim is to show Millwall off as a professionally run club with the ability to stage international events, with the 2012 Olympics getting closer games like this can only strengthen our position for the ground to be used for the Olympics in some way this will generate income and good publicity.
The club are actively seeking to engage in various high profile projects to raise our standing and bring in the needed capital to fulfill our ambitious goals to get out of Division 1 and make a challenge in the Championship.
Why have Millwall decided to mark the abolition of slavery when our club has no links with slavery whatsoever?
Originally the game was arranged as a friendly against an international team it was felt it would be a great opportunity for the team to play against an international team during their preparations for the season, however the promoter of his own back decided to get in touch with the local councils and arranged for it to be linked with the abolition of slavery, this the promoter felt would increase the publicity for his event and generate more interest for the game, it is part of a number events planned nationwide.
The club organised it originally as a pre season football match nothing more.
I will also find out about the difference regards OAP prices and let everyone know.
To show we are not against playing Sierra Leone but against the games association with a political event/statement I thought we could try and arrange a match between the MSC/Fans versus a group of Sierra Leone fans. Just a thought if enough people mail me I will set it up
13 July 2007 - Season's Review
My First Year
Firstly I want to thank everyone who voted for me, a lot of mates voted for me just because they were mates, I hope I have done enough to prove I have taken it seriously and got involved where I can. Today I am presenting the Player of the Year trophy to Richard Shaw, you cannot believe how proud I am to be able to do it, so thanks again for having faith in me. I have written a few notes on how my season has gone. I probably forgot tons!
The first major decision I was involved in was the employment of Nigel Spackman. I put across the fans views regarding his credentials - it was an overwhelming no, but I obviously only have one voice on the board and the majority decided to go with him. Once the decision had been made I firmly got behind Spackman and gave support where possible.
Nigel Spackman (Departure)
At times hard decisions have to be made. I have been involved in such decisions throughout my career. As long as such decisions are made for business reasons and not personal reasons I am comfortable taking them.
All I had to do was put forward our views as fans to the fact that we had seen nothing in the ten games in charge that looked like the team could improve enough to take us to safety rather than to Division Four. By that time I think Spackman realised he had gone as far as he could and the decision taken was best all round.
20 players brought in
The board gave Spackman a free reign and a large budget for a team that had just been relegated. With hindsight, I think the board were naïve at the time to bring in as many players in one go and expect them to gel. Especially as we got rid of the few remaining senior pros at the club prior to the 20 arriving.
This was a huge learning curve for the board. Lessons have been learned and the signings of the Willie Donachie era have been well thought through. They have ensured that not only have we escaped relegation, but we have finished off comfortably in the top 10. If Willie's record was transferred to the first ten games we would have been candidates for automatic promotion. Let's hope he carries on the good work next season.
Then came many board meetings. Three in a fourteen day period. A list of available managers was collated. I put forward Dave Penney as the fans' first choice as he came out well ahead in on-line polls and mails I received. It really opens your eyes to how many differing views there are!
Willie did well enough to be given the role as a caretaker. It was then his job to lose. Willie, as we all know, made the decision very easy and he has been rightfully rewarded with a two year deal.
On behalf of the majority of fans I backed the decision.
Many people write to me asking why the club are losing so much money month in month out. The main reason is that the club is still operating as if it were a Championship set-up. To attract better players and staff we need to offer the appropriate salaries and match day receipts do not cover the outgoings.
Now that we have new investment and the hope of the regeneration, the club appears more financially stable. The board can now look at ways of streamlining the way the club is run, making savings where possible.
The Lionesses got in touch with me regarding their fund raising issues. I was able to go to the board and ask for personal donations. They donated £1,200. The Lionesses are self funded and need all the help and support they can get.
Helping the Junior Lions was one of my main aims. There is a major problem in this department because the Junior Lions do everything for themselves and ask for nothing. I have made myself available at all times. I set up a meeting that gave them the possibility of using the Lions Centre on match days. This was not possible previously. The only problem is the Junior Lions now need to arrange the cost of hiring it, which is approximately £60. I arranged meetings between the MSC and JL's to try and get them to work closer together. I attended the Junior Lions quiz, Christmas Party and Fun Day. There were a few problems regarding what players the Junior Lions expected to attend.I arranged a meeting between Terry Burnett and the chairman. This now means we now know exactly what players attend their events. This worked well as there was full attendance from the players at the Christmas Party.
This was the greatest day since starting the Fan on the Board role. It may have originally been my idea, without the help of Chris Bethell, it would not have got off the ground and been the success it was. To see how, we the fans, all pulled together to raise the money really meant a lot. And to see the faces of the Dockers and old players was also great. I hope we can reproduce the event next year.
Attending board meetings is really a minor part of the role, as I have said elsewhere, the majority of the discussions take place on match days well away from the boardroom. Although talks are often finalised at official board meetings, impromptu meetings and discussions are commonplace. It has been a real eye opener for me. Getting involved in players' salaries, contract lengths, discussing all aspects of the playing side, even discussing the type of lawn-mowers used.
There were heated discussions early on. The catering and ticketing arrangements for the Yeovil game didn't make for a good start at the beginning of the season, but the club agreed to undertake a review and although not perfect, they are improving in this area.
I am a strong believer in people being accountable for their actions. If people do well they should be commended, but if they cannot cope with pressure, action should be taken to ensure improvement. I have been party to board discussions that has led to several changes at the club for one reason or another. At all times the board have made decisions for the right reasons - business reasons.
I have attended as many MSC meetings as possible. With the knowledge I pick up as a member of the board I am often able to give a different slant to things. I have also been able to act as Devil's Advocate. This, I believe, has helped ensure good healthy debate within the committee and is also a key benefit of my role to supporters.
Hopefully the club are now in a better financial position than when I started. John Berylson and Demos Kouvaris started the ball rolling. I have met them numerous times and my impression of them is that they want to win and see the Millwall Football Club succeed.
Then, along came Graham Ferguson Lacey. A late runner and a 'dark horse.' The whole episode was to cause a great deal of fear and suspicion among supporters.
A deal was brokered between the two groups and financially we are a lot better off. I believe that Berylson and Kouvaris will ensure that The Den will always be the home of Millwall Football Club and not the Smith family. Whisperings of the same have come from Graham Ferguson Lacey. Let's hope they all keep to their word.The Lions Trust supported by MSC members, managed to rally the troops and start a publicity campaign that was to bring everything and everyone into the open - this was another show of how the fans uniting together can only be a good thing.
I have had many people write to me to help out if they have been banned for one reason or the other. All I can do is set up meetings and mediate. Quite a few times I have been given incorrect information at the outset. The club have then shown me evidence proving the bans have been valid. On a couple of occasions the club have agreed the decision they took was wrong and reversed the decision, but it is never as clear cut as some would have you believe. All I ask is that the club look at all the evidence from both sides, rather than taking the side of the club employees/stewards without looking at the fans' side of things. I have had many other letters complaining that I spend far too much time on trying to get bans lifted for the small percentage of fans that do get banned when I should be focusing on the 99% that go to games week in week out without causing any problems. Although I can understand their point I must deal with all requests I get. All I need to focus on is what is right.
The role has taken up a lot more time than I could ever have expected. The financial cost, telephone bills, days off work to attend board meetings. It is a big commitment. But the pay off I receive at times is well worth it. I am honoured to carry out the role. It can be stressful at times. Especially if I am privy to information I cannot divulge. As I have always said, I can only pass on to the board the feelings of the fans, nothing else. We may not like what comes back, but I carry out the role for the benefit of the fans using the information I gain.
When I took on the role I thought I would be able to continue attending games as I always had. How it has panned out is completely different. There is no way I could have achieved all I have from a distance, or not taking a full interest. The majority of the information I have picked up has been in the Directors' lounge. You see who is talking to who and I can push my way into conversations to make sure I know what is going on. I suppose the best way to explain it is that I try to be a constant pest to ensure every decision taken is done so with the fans input via me.
I believe that if I had done it any other way I would have not been as successful. I have asked advice from people from the MSC, The Lions Trust, TLR, NOLU, various websites, and the overwhelming view is for the role to succeed I need to be as close to the board as I can. As the position is up for grabs in a year's time my successor may feel that it is better doing it a different way.
Overview of my remit as I see it
The role has evolved over the year. The main aim, as always, will be to continue to improve communications between the fans and the club. I am confident I have made a difference in this area as communications are at a level never experienced at the club before. The club will meet and discuss any subject with anyone. The discussions may not always go the way people want but at least the club are now willing to listen and at times make changes if appropriate. Thanks everyone and as always you can reach me by email.
30 May 2007 - Meeting with John Berylson
John Berylson was recently at the club, I set up a meeting to ask a few questions that I felt were relevant to us the fans.
John's first comment to me was "what do the fans want from me"?
As I told him the first time I met him we want honesty, transparency, to be treated with the respect we deserve and to be part of any major decisions taken affecting our club. We covered a lot of ground and here are the main points.
What would happen if any other major shareholder withdraws their cash/commitment?
JB made it clear he does not like anything he is involved in to fail, therefore where possible he would ensure there was not knock on effect on the team this may involve more investment.
What would happen should the regeneration plans fail or not materialise?
The regen is a great idea and if it comes to fruition it will bring in well needed revenue for the club and local area, John stated that the aim is to make Millwall FC self sufficient by improving the way it works currently, this will be helped now the club has invested in Andy Ambler who will ensure the club is run cost effectively.
The regen is not in any future forecasts for Millwall FC so if it does come off it will bring in additional revenue that has not been factored in already
Do you envisage any forced changes within the board i.e. members?
The current board work really well together and have picked up a lot over the last season, any lessons learnt can only strengthen the board, so I current see no need for change.
What are your thoughts on Willie Donachie?
The more I meet Willie the more I like him, personally and as a manager, Willie is the right person to take us forward and I will abide by any team related decisions he takes. I am sure with Willie in charge and support from the board there are good time ahead.
How do you deal with Millwall's reputation?
The passion I saw and heard during the games I have seen showed me the fans are hungry for success, we need to harness that passion to make the Den a fortress, the passion of the fans can be like a goal start, there is nothing wrong with being passionate about your team and getting behind them. The problems I have read about in the past appear to be just a memory that the tabloids bring up when they have nothing else to report on.
A worst case scenario question, what would you do if we were to get relegated next season?
We wont, I will not allow it to happen, now I am involved this club will succeed, I will do everything in my powers to make sure of that.
Do you foresee further investment in the near future?
Any business I am involved with must have good stable financial management, it is key in all business, with Andy Ambler and Demos Kouvaris looking at the financial side I am sure the club will become on a level keel in the next 6 months, should the team need strengthening to push for promotion I will ensure funds are available.
What do you think about the Leeds administration "fiasco"?
It really annoyed me that we as a club fought through our financial problems to work within the legal and moral rules of the game, we could have done the same and I could have picked the club up on the cheap, but I had committed to you personally Pete and the board that I would ensure the club would survive. I therefore think Leeds did not act in the spirit of the game, I also made my feelings known to the football league. I would like to thank the fans, MSC and Lions trust for their support in trying to highlight the issue.
What are your views on the FOTB role?
I feel the role is key in bringing harmony between club and fans, we need to be as one, as we all shout for the same team and wants what best, having a Fan Director ensures there is a certain amount of transparency on issues that need discretion at board level, I read all the FOTB reports and feel you are cutting a good balance, I want to ensure that any major rumours that are started about the board/club can be squashed by you putting out reports that give the truth as opposed to speculation.
Would you ever see the FOTB sitting on the Holdings Board?
As you know this has been discussed on the Holdings Board, the board would be 100% behind it if the person were as discreet as you and added value to the board, with the FOTB re-election due this year we would need to evaluate any such decision on a person by person basis.
The MSC are trying to up their game for next season, what do you want from them?
I really want the MSC and yourself to be a check and balance for the fans views and help us drive toward a better club, I want to make sure that no-one out there is spreading unfounded rumours about the club and myself, I want to speak regularly with the MSC to ensure we can build a solid relationship for the future.
As John Berylson has now converted his loan into shares I called him to ask why, this is his reply.
I converted some early because I thought it the right thing to do, as I perceived many fans felt bad about me as I had all this debt but no actual stake in the club. Now I have about 12% and still of course a lot of debt .outstanding, but. I am now in same boat with other stockholders so no one should be unhappy. If I convert all outstanding I will have approx 50% of the club, I have also a number of close friends who have shown interest in investing. By converting I know I have done the best for all involved, the club, stockholders and fans. Mr Lacey is also due to put in the monies he agreed at the AGM, if this happens it can only mean further stability for the club.
10 May 2007 - Leeds
As you know it looks like Leeds will start next season with the same points as us, no debt, and a bigger average crowd and be clear favourites to clinch one of the automatic promotion places.
How can this be right, we could have done the same thing when things were tight prior to the EGM but it is not the right thing to do.
So why should Leeds get away with it, whilst we struggle to keep within the rules?
Not sure how we can do it but we need to make sure the authorities know our displeasure, I am going to ask the MSC and Trust to get some thing going to make our feelings known.
I know the club feels the same way.
29 March 2007 - Notes from the EGM
Well the EGM went through without the expected fireworks, the amicable agreement between John Berylson and Graham Ferguson Lacey made proceedings a bit of a one horse walk over!
There was a definite air of relief amongst the board members after the EGM, it has been a really long and stressful process. Heather and the club advisors worked hard to get this through, love them or hate them, we live to fight another day, lets hope in the future we can have a structure put in place so we do not keep having to get bailed out at the last minute, so we are in control of our own destiny and not at the mercy of speculators.
What does it mean to us the fans?
Well how I see it is in the short term the club is sorted and we can go into next season with the knowledge we are a viable company, this certainty will enable the team to focus on the football without the worry of if their wages are going to get paid. Mid term I would think the promise of the regen will draw more investment in, I think that GFL's main drive will be the regen, this I think will make it more likely to happen, the only issue I can see is how will the money will get into the football side, this is the question I have been asking for ages. I think John Berylson will make sure the football side is well catered for, it is in both their interests and ours that the regen succeeds, so with them both driving it I hope we get a result.
I was pleased Berylson lost his temper a bit when someone questioned his commitment to Millwall, it showed passion, the fact he committed publicly that he was going to transfer the debt into shares is another sign he is in for the long term.
I didn't really get much time to speak to GFL afterwards, he mentioned to me that PdeS spoke highly of me, not sure if that is a good or bad thing, so for me the jury is still out, I need a time to make my mind up on him. Both GFL and John Berylson said the club needed better financial management, I have thought that for ages, the only problem is, if cuts are made it will have an impact somewhere, so the decisions have to be well thought through.
One thing that has come out of this is some very frank discussions between the Trust and MSC, hopefully there can be more working together in time to come, we all need to be united, the Trust and MSC both have individual strengths in different areas, we need to make sure they are used for the benefit of us the fans.
Well that's my lot, Nick Hart (Trust) and Graeme Smale (MSC) both put together a great report explaining the factual events of the day. Although I am not on the holdings board I will make sure I get to know what's going on, at the moment I am relieved it's all over, BUT the political board room gesturing starts from now.
20 March 2007
Hi all I have been unable to get on line for nearly 2 weeks now, I have been getting quite several emails daily letting me know what's going on, until I get full access it is best to email me. I feel pretty cut off with no access so please make sure you email me if you have any issues.
I have posted a couple of times my views on the current situation and that I back the American bid, as you know that my view doesn't really matter as I have to take the views of the wider fan base to the board, I have had numerous mails in support of the American bid and no support for the Graham Lacey Ferguson "bid", I have put these views to the board firmly. All information I have seen about GLF strengthens my personal view, although I am not aware of his intentions for Millwall FC I can only go on information I can get from the internet. My fear is the American bid will get blocked and GLF will come in and offer to "save" the club on his terms, this is obviously only my opinion.
I applaud the trust for their open show of support for the American deal.
You should all know by now that Willie has been offered a new deal, the board decision was unanimous, I put forward what I had picked up from fellow fans that Willy was the correct choice.
I have collated all the different choices of kit for next season, I have done this by monitoring the webs sites, emails and speaking to other fans.
There were so many different idea put forward from the sublime to the ridiculous!
Gold was put forward as gold is the colour of Lions, was one that was sent in!
Of the serious ones it all boiled down to two colours blue and white, at home a big majority wanted blue and white, away it was all white.
I have put these forward and have been told I will know more in the next few weeks.
I have lobbied the board to try and get OAP prices for women reduced to 60, currently both men and women get a reduction but not until they are 65.
The club inform me that men and women’s reductions have to be given at the same age due to an equal opportunity law, the financial impact to reduce both prices at 60 would be too great for the club to bear, I argued that Charlton give both men and women the reduction at 60, the club informed me that Charlton are able to do this due to the amount of people through the gates.
17 March 2007 - GFL and New Investors
As you must all know there's been a lot going on regarding shares etc. All discussions of financial matters like these (as opposed to player’s contracts) are done so via the Holdings board, therefore I am not privy to all information. All that I can tell you is the following.
I have met the American investors and, in my personal opinion their involvement is not purely business. The fact that left the ground on Tuesday with memorabilia for their families tells me that they are beginning to have an emotional attachment to Millwall FC. John Berylson is in constant communication with myself. I believe their involvement will be good for the club and will benefit Millwall FC and us, the fans. Obviously there is a business side to the deal but, during my meetings with them I sense they are genuine and not a threat to the future of Millwall FC. To make up my mind on the American deal, I sought independent financial advice away from the club from a source I trust wholeheartedly. I was told that the deal as proposed can only be of benefit Millwall FC.
During the last few days I have been asked a lot of question regarding Theo selling a large percentage of his shares, and a large number being bought by Graham Ferguson Lacy. I have tried to find out what I can about GFL via the internet and contacts in finance. I have not found any links connecting GFL to sport in any way which I find quite worrying. Most of the information on the internet points to the fact that he is a corporate raider, acquiring companies that are in trouble at a low cost and creaming off what he can.
These are just my thoughts, I have no idea what his actual intentions are to Millwall FC. I suggest that any fan, especially those that are shareholders, research themselves to make their own informed decision. My personal leaning is to hope the American deal goes through, we gain a bit of stability and build for the championship.
11 March 2007 - Dockers Day
Hi all just thought I would run through how the day went:
Firstly I need to make it clear that the majority of the work was carried out by Chrissy Bethell, although he didn't do the lot on his own he did the lions share (pardon the pun) Dave Coates, Mick Thurbin, Terry Burnett (junior lions) all did their bit, also the fans that donated money and bits, not forgetting the people at the club who arrange the parking, catering and all the in house stuff it has been a real joint effort.
Once Chris has sorted out the final total of donations I will put of a financial statement so everyone is clear what has happened to the money...
The day started at before 11am with all the Dockers and Players meeting in the press lounge having a drink looking through the photographic memorabilia dating back to the 50's, then everyone was given a tour of the stadium, comparisons were made regards the amount of room in the changing rooms, how clean they were, the individual baths, how the kits had no holes and the players salaries!
Then it was back down to the press lounge for a bit to eat and drink, all the board of directors came down for a chat along with Willie Donachie.
The 2 funny things, firstly seeing Bethel losing pounds in weight every time he had to run down to the foyer one more time, and secondly seeing all the Dockers huddled in groups trying to work out who the old players were, once they had worked it out they jumped up to get their autograph, someone remarked it was just like the junior lions fun day 50 years late!
Then it was off into the car park for a group photo by the big blue bus (it does have a use I suppose!) The finally onto the pitch to be presented to the crowd and receive their mementos, great day had by all, hopefully it can happen again next year, in fact every year Millwall History Day every year!
It just goes to show how we the fans together can get things done.
24 February 2007 - Queues for the Orient Game
I raised the issue of the lengthy queues at a board meeting on Wednesday.
I argued that after the Yeovil game the club gave an undertaking to ensure the long queues would not happen again, the Orient game had similar size queues.
We had a lengthy discussion and the following points came out.
The Yeovil game was different as there were issues with the ticketing system and a lot of people turning up did not have there ST's this lengthened the queues.
If the Orient game was an ordinary game with no £5 special tickets the queues would not have occurred, the main reason for delay was that ST holders buying their guests £5 tickets obviously wanted to get their seats as close to them as possible, this extended the length of transaction time.
As this was a night game the time of people arriving was condensed into an approx 2 hour window, although all windows were open the ticket office struggled from approx 7:15 when there was a walk up of over 1000 meaning each window had to carry out 100 transactions in 30 minutes.
The tickets had been on sale for approx 4 weeks if people took the offer up within that period it would have lessened the problem, I pointed out that an offer like this that was payable on the night could lead to floating fans attending at the last minute, that is why I felt it was key to continue to allow tickets to be bought on the night.
I along with other fans felt the original apology put out by the club was trying to apportion blame on the MSC and fans, I asked if a further statement could be put out explaining the events of the night and clarifying when tickets for future special games would be on sale, the club put out a statement titled Q Tips (naff name if you ask me).
We discussed how to overcome the problem.
In future stop sale of the cheap tickets in a day in advance, I argued this will stop fans who want to walk up on the day, therefore it was agreed that the tickets will go off sale at approx 90 minutes before special offer games.
Some ideas and responses how to shorten the queues were discussed as below
- More windows open
- All windows were open and manned
- Window in the marketing dept open
- There are no ticket machines available
- Cash at the turnstiles (For security reasons this cant happen)
If anyone has any good ideas as to how we can tackle the problem drop me a line and I will pass the ideas on.
I also had several letters complaining about customer service from the ticket office on the night, the correct procedure is to write to Rick Bradbrook C/O The Den, Zampa Road, London SE16 3LN.
As I have had a fair few I have passed them on directly, obviously we as fans deserve to be treated with courtesy when dealing with the club, on the flip side staff at the club work under extreme pressure at times especially just before kick off, so if there are any issues I believe it is best to raise them in the correct way.
Millwall Supporters Club, c/o The Den,
London SE16 3LN -
phone: 07895 022 325 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org