No, not another exposé of players private lives, but as last months article on the subject highlighted, the chairman of Chelsea Pitch Owners finally officially re-stated what he had casually said to raised eyebrows at the end of the AGM in 2006 (and then denied several times since); that he did not necessarily see CPO’s purpose was to stop CFC moving away from Stamford Bridge, but merely to stop CFC being out manoeuvred and thrown out by developers.
But there was even more to come – Richard King’s latest and most important bombshell was dropped when asked why the web site no longer states that CPO also owns the name of the football club? He replied that this claim was now thought to be ‘uncertain’, and was currently being looked at by lawyers? Who’s lawyers?
And who raised this doubt and why, CPO or CFC? Or is the line between the two now so blurred these days it makes no difference anyway?
The point is ownership of the ‘Pitch & Name’ have always equated to the ‘Terry & Carvalho’ of CPO’s defences, and somebody is now clearly trying to nobble at least one of them!
Let us only hope the ref on this occasion is not Tom Henning Ovrebo.
Also for the first time, again significantly, the chairman of CFC was present at the CPO AGM back in December – even Ken Bates himself never crossed that particular line!
During the proceedings, for the 3rd year running, Mr King ‘promised’ the minutes of the AGM would be published on the website so all shareholders could read the gist of what was going on for themselves – and yet again, nothing.
He also had to admit when asked about CPO’s escalating admin costs that he did not feel the need to ring-fence them from his other roles in and around CFC, namely with the Past Players Trust, Peter Osgood Foundation & Chelsea Old Boys FC. All very worthy causes admittedly, but would the 203 share purchasers last year (another record low), or the paying punters at the CPO annual dinner, be quite so ready to hand over their hard earned cash if they knew that 99.4% of their money would be lost in ‘costs’ ?
Yep, just £1,300 profit last year, despite a turn over of £235,000 – It’s all there in the accounts, they at least must be published – by law!
Perhaps if Mr King was to carefully read the accounts as he is legally obliged to before signing them off every year, he would not also have made the mistake for the last 2 years running of repeatedly declaring categorically that the £10.5 million loan to buy the pitch and name had no expiry date – when in fact it is correctly stated every year in the accounts as 199 years from 1997. A minor point admittedly for all but our great, great grandchildren, but it might explain why for the first time in CPO’s 16 year existence no debt repayment was made.
Oh and while we’ve got the red pen out – CPO was formed in 1993, not 1997 as stated on the website’s ‘history’ section. An understandable mistake though, as Mr King wasn’t actually involved in CPO until 28th Feb 03 (whoops, another mistake – the website claims 2002)
Let’s hope CPO’s constitution isn’t so riddled with own goals and gaffs.
Speaking of which, how certain is the stoic claim that if just one lone shareholding crofter with principles, whether he be on Ben Nevis or Battersea says NO, then that’s it – nothing moves?
Well here are a few more vital unknowns the pin-stripe suited nobblers might be pondering whilst nibbling away on their prawn sandwiches; would a simple majority on the day in fact win the vote, especially if a financial gain was dangled?
Further more, as the 14,200 CPO shares currently sold only equates to 13% of the 110,000 shares available, could somebody with the money to buy 50% or more of the remaining stock, at a cost of £5.5 million (the cost of a mediocre player these days), trigger company law enabling them to make a bid for the compulsory purchase of the remaining shares (as was done with Chelsea Village), and so circumvent the 100 voting shares limitation in CPO’s constitution?
What would CPO’s defence be against any such predatory take-over moves?
Are CPO and it’s lawyers looking at this aspect?
And do we have a JT at the heart of our defence to fight tooth and nail to save the day? You have to wonder.
Particularly as CPO has slowly but surely slipped from being an independent guardian of Stamford Bridge, to a mere subordinate charity raising arm of CFC, shall we just wait and see if these fears are allayed on the web site – along with the AGM minutes.