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The case for a more robust Board


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I saw a post on Twitter earlier calling into question the Board and the fact it consisted of Mel as owner and chair, Pearce as the CEO and ultimately Mel's lackey, and Roy McFarland as an ex player and kind of fan representative. The premise being that the Derby board wasn't strong or experienced enough to properly run the club with an inability to challenge the decisions being made to ensure they were being done in the best and long term interests of the club and it's supporter base. 

Football is no longer a sport but a business and fans are not always front and center of club owner, Board, or senior management's thoughts. The promise of riches is. This is the disconnect we're now seeing and which ultimately is causing the strife at Derby, and has caused the myriad of issues at other clubs in the EFL.

One way to potentially solve this is by improving board governance. Ensuring there are independent directors appointed with veto voting rights that have a duty to act in the best interests of supporters, but are experienced and knowledgeable enough to understand the business risks associated with the decisions being made and the ability to challenge and push back as needed. 

I'm not saying that this would have solved all issues. But, given the problems with Sam Rush, the seeming ineptitude of Pearce (or his complete inability to stand up to his boss) and the gambling without consequence of Mel Morris, it may lessened the likelihood of administration.

We need to learn from history and do what we can to stop it happening again, or stop it  from happening to others. 

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You're up ending UK company law. 

The Board is appointed by and acts primarily for the owners, ie shareholders. 

Whilst nowadays, the companies act does require directors to CONSIDER the impact of their decisions on other stakeholders (employees, local area etc), there is no legal requirement to give anyone priority over shareholders. 

 

To get to the sort of structure you've described would, I think, need a different legal ownership model, like a Trust. Trouble with that is that trusts typically can't access financial markets easily and won't be attractive to rich benefactors as it's not so easy to limit liability. 

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1 hour ago, San Fran Van Rams said:

I saw a post on Twitter earlier calling into question the Board and the fact it consisted of Mel as owner and chair, Pearce as the CEO and ultimately Mel's lackey, and Roy McFarland as an ex player and kind of fan representative. The premise being that the Derby board wasn't strong or experienced enough to properly run the club with an inability to challenge the decisions being made to ensure they were being done in the best and long term interests of the club and it's supporter base. 

Football is no longer a sport but a business and fans are not always front and center of club owner, Board, or senior management's thoughts. The promise of riches is. This is the disconnect we're now seeing and which ultimately is causing the strife at Derby, and has caused the myriad of issues at other clubs in the EFL.

One way to potentially solve this is by improving board governance. Ensuring there are independent directors appointed with veto voting rights that have a duty to act in the best interests of supporters, but are experienced and knowledgeable enough to understand the business risks associated with the decisions being made and the ability to challenge and push back as needed. 

I'm not saying that this would have solved all issues. But, given the problems with Sam Rush, the seeming ineptitude of Pearce (or his complete inability to stand up to his boss) and the gambling without consequence of Mel Morris, it may lessened the likelihood of administration.

We need to learn from history and do what we can to stop it happening again, or stop it  from happening to others. 

Always my biggest issue with Morris, where we’re the checks and balances.. He was a dictator..

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3 hours ago, San Fran Van Rams said:

I saw a post on Twitter earlier calling into question the Board and the fact it consisted of Mel as owner and chair, Pearce as the CEO and ultimately Mel's lackey, and Roy McFarland as an ex player and kind of fan representative. The premise being that the Derby board wasn't strong or experienced enough to properly run the club with an inability to challenge the decisions being made to ensure they were being done in the best and long term interests of the club and it's supporter base. 

Football is no longer a sport but a business and fans are not always front and center of club owner, Board, or senior management's thoughts. The promise of riches is. This is the disconnect we're now seeing and which ultimately is causing the strife at Derby, and has caused the myriad of issues at other clubs in the EFL.

One way to potentially solve this is by improving board governance. Ensuring there are independent directors appointed with veto voting rights that have a duty to act in the best interests of supporters, but are experienced and knowledgeable enough to understand the business risks associated with the decisions being made and the ability to challenge and push back as needed. 

I'm not saying that this would have solved all issues. But, given the problems with Sam Rush, the seeming ineptitude of Pearce (or his complete inability to stand up to his boss) and the gambling without consequence of Mel Morris, it may lessened the likelihood of administration.

We need to learn from history and do what we can to stop it happening again, or stop it  from happening to others. 

Sounds great, but in the real world simply wouldn't work.

No businessman/woman would want to buy a club, especially one outside the Premier League where they lose money each month then have independent directors holding enough votes to veto their decisions.

As for fan representative(s), that wouldn't work either as NDA's would have to be signed, you only have to look at recent events to know how that will go down. 

They would be seen as one of them, not one of us very quickly.

Fan ownership/seats on the board might work in other countries, but I just don't see it being as welcoming over here as some believe it would be.

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51 minutes ago, David said:

Sounds great, but in the real world simply wouldn't work.

No businessman/woman would want to buy a club, especially one outside the Premier League where they lose money each month then have independent directors holding enough votes to veto their decisions.

As for fan representative(s), that wouldn't work either as NDA's would have to be signed, you only have to look at recent events to know how that will go down. 

They would be seen as one of them, not one of us very quickly.

Fan ownership/seats on the board might work in other countries, but I just don't see it being as welcoming over here as some believe it would be.

What's so different about us/the UK vs say Germany, where it appears to work well then David? It was enough to ensure no German clubs signed up to the abortive attempt to form the European Super League at least. We always say that ultimately the fans are the club. Why shouldn't that essential truth be reflected in the ownership structure of the club and the way it's run?

Genuinely interested to hear more about what the basis is for this 'British Exceptionalism' you allude to. Surely, given where we find ourselves this morning, it's pretty hard to make the case that the existing British model 'works'?

Optimistically, the next iteration of Derby, with a set-up something along the lines of the German model, could ultimately be a template for a new and better way of running English football clubs. Derby County as an exemplar and a shining light rather than a basket case and a laughing stock. Long term stability rather than perpetual crisis. Imagine that!

 

Edited by Red Ram
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1 minute ago, Red Ram said:

What's so different about us/the UK Vs say Germany, where it appears to work well then David? It was enough to ensure no German clubs signed up to the abortive attempt to form the European Super League at least. We always say that ultimately the fans are the club. Why shouldn't that essential truth be reflected in the ownership structure of the club and the way it's run?

Genuinely interested to hear more about what the basis is for this 'British Exceptionalism' you allude to. Surely, given where we find ourselves this morning, it's pretty hard to make the case that the existing British model 'works'?

Optimistically, the next iteration of Derby, with a set-up something along the lines of the German model, could ultimately be a template for a new and better way of running English football clubs. Derby County as an exemplar and a shining light rather than a basket case and a laughing stock. Long term stability rather than perpetual crisis. Imagine that!

How many clubs at this level or above have shown to be running successfully with this model?

You can argue that doesn't matter and we could be the example, the club to follow, but having been a part of this fan base for the best part of say 30 years, I just can't see it.

There is no factual evidence I can provide, it's just my opinion and to be honest, I don't see it ever being voted through by the clubs anyway.

German clubs have been run as not for profit for a number of years now, it's the culture over there, where as the Premier League is seen as a huge pay day which is why the Championship is in the mess it is. 

The likes of Abramovich would pack his bags which the Premier League do not want as it would have an impact on their cushty wages.

The Government would have to overrule them, but this won't ever happen as it funds the HMRC Christmas party.

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4 hours ago, David said:

How many clubs at this level or above have shown to be running successfully with this model?

You can argue that doesn't matter and we could be the example, the club to follow, but having been a part of this fan base for the best part of say 30 years, I just can't see it.

There is no factual evidence I can provide, it's just my opinion and to be honest, I don't see it ever being voted through by the clubs anyway.

German clubs have been run as not for profit for a number of years now, it's the culture over there, where as the Premier League is seen as a huge pay day which is why the Championship is in the mess it is. 

The likes of Abramovich would pack his bags which the Premier League do not want as it would have an impact on their cushty wages.

The Government would have to overrule them, but this won't ever happen as it funds the HMRC Christmas party.

Completely agree that is the riches of the prem which make it extremely difficult for clubs below to adopt a partially fan owned structure.

However, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be. The Prem is what is wrecking English football and our pyramid. It will turn into a US type league at some point soon with franchise clubs who can't get relegated and the rest left to fend for themselves, probably much more like football was pre Premier league. 

8 hours ago, Van der MoodHoover said:

You're up ending UK company law. 

The Board is appointed by and acts primarily for the owners, ie shareholders. 

Whilst nowadays, the companies act does require directors to CONSIDER the impact of their decisions on other stakeholders (employees, local area etc), there is no legal requirement to give anyone priority over shareholders. 

 

To get to the sort of structure you've described would, I think, need a different legal ownership model, like a Trust. Trouble with that is that trusts typically can't access financial markets easily and won't be attractive to rich benefactors as it's not so easy to limit liability. 

And I think this is exactly why football is broken. It governed as a business. It shouldn't be subject to the same rules as private companies who have little public utility. Football clubs are more like local infrastructure and need protecting on behalf of the communities they are so vital for. 

It'll take a wide reaching change with new regs and agreement from premiership clubs for fan ownership and for boards to run clubs in the interests of fans as opposed to their millionaire shareholders but I'm starting to think it's the only option.

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Even some German clubs are basically owned by huge corporate entities with a very thin veneer of fan ownership..and don't forget they are all based on the concept of sports clubs so they have handball team basketball teams etc etc..

Edited by Yani P
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7 hours ago, David said:

How many clubs at this level or above have shown to be running successfully with this model?

You can argue that doesn't matter and we could be the example, the club to follow, but having been a part of this fan base for the best part of say 30 years, I just can't see it.

There is no factual evidence I can provide, it's just my opinion and to be honest, I don't see it ever being voted through by the clubs anyway.

German clubs have been run as not for profit for a number of years now, it's the culture over there, where as the Premier League is seen as a huge pay day which is why the Championship is in the mess it is. 

The likes of Abramovich would pack his bags which the Premier League do not want as it would have an impact on their cushty wages.

The Government would have to overrule them, but this won't ever happen as it funds the HMRC Christmas party.

Nottingham Forest won 2 European cups whilst being run by a fan committee, the members of which were regularly renewed. Since it was sold off, the club has been poo.

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