- On February 9, 2017
Firstly, it is worth saying that the interim board of the Shrimps Trust is as baffled by the circus surrounding Morecambe Football Club as every supporter.
In every statement or interview given by just about everyone involved in this sad scenario the words almost never mentioned are fans or supporters. Without its supporters a professional football club is nothing.
Supporters created Morecambe Football Club and have sustained it for 96 years whether on the terraces, in the boardroom or through commercial support. We’ve raised money whenever asked and never asked for anything in return. From our great founder JB Christie who gifted land to the club to those who stood on a bleak terrace at Leek watching us get thrashed we only did it for the love of our club.
Ours has also been a friendly community-centred club with no grand illusions about itself and we’ve gained respect across the football world for the fun we have and the friends we’ve made. Those now dragging our club through the courts and the mud are making a mockery of that reputation. They need to understand that they can’t take our loyalty to Morecambe FC for granted.
So what can we do about the ownership situation? Sadly, very little.
The owners of a company appoint a board of directors to manage and operate the company on their behalf. As it stands, the board of Morecambe FC is still as it was, and they have oversight of the club’s finances and manage operations. It remains their legal duty to operate Morecambe FC to the best of their abilities. The Shrimps Trust have spoken to directors and offered our help and support with anything that helps us deliver a sustainable and well-managed future for Morecambe FC. We’ll also be writing to the board, once we receive FCA approval, to spell out exactly how the Shrimps Trust can help and provide examples of what has been successfully achieved at other clubs.
Additionally, the EFL are also a guardian of Football League clubs through its Owners and Directors Test. The test can’t work on the basis of reputation and rumour, instead it sets out a series of points that count as a failure, which you pass or fail on a yes / no basis. There is no halfway house. Details www.efl.com/global/appendix3.aspx.
The Shrimps Trust understands that a number of individuals and organisations have made representations to the EFL regarding Mr Joseph Cala, his company and his associates as it makes its deliberations this week. The Shrimps Trust has not agreed any formal position or made any representation to the EFL about Mr Cala. However, we remain seriously concerned about both his past history with other football clubs and his intentions for Morecambe FC. We have spoken at length with Supporters Direct, who share those concerns, and we’re also approaching Portsmouth FC to understand their dealings with Mr Cala. The decision of the EFL either way may not resolve the ownership crisis at Morecambe FC.
The third element is the legal process. We understand that there is a legal process in place to decide ownership of G50 Holdings, the company that acquired the majority holding in Morecambe Football Club. If true, then it further delays the process of deciding the future of Morecambe FC and may put the club further in jeopardy. Again The Shrimps Trust, like the board of directors of Morecambe FC and all ordinary supporters are largely helpless until this process reaches its conclusion.
We’re also in communication with the administrators to PMG Leisure to ensure we understand developments there, which can directly affect the future of the club.
So what can be done?
Firstly, we need to be better organised, better planned and better financed than we are now and ready to pick up the pieces after the dust has settled, whether that be the worst outcome of administration or the best where we support a beneficial new owner.
We’re now urgently looking for people to come forward to join the Trust board either as a Trustee or as an advisor or in any capacity where you feel you can help. Please email email@example.com with your contact details and a brief summary of yourself.
We’re also in the process of undertaking a planning process to understand all the scenarios and how the Shrimps Trust can play a part in securing the future of the club. Once this is completed and approved we’ll then share this at an open meeting of Shrimps Trust members in the very near future.
We’re also determined to make sure that every member of staff at Morecambe FC is paid what is owed to them. There is very little we can do as it is the duty of others to pay them and we have no legal means to pay or loan money currently. However, we say to every member of staff that you are not forgotten in this awful sorry mess and should the worst come to the worst then we will be there for you and we will attempt to find the means to ensure that you are paid.
We all feel helpless but we can prepare and be ready. Your support in that is vital when the time comes. If you can support in any way, time, money or resources then please contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, we urge all supporters who can to get to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday 4th February and get behind Jim and the team. Fans are planning to meet the team bus as it arrives to show that we’re all in this together. Because together, positive and determined we can help ensure the survival of our fantastic club.
Up the Shrimps!