Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday September 30 2006
Aston Villa Shareholders Meeting, Friday 29th of September
(subtitled: Ellis's Last Laugh at our expense!)
This morning at 11.30 in the Holte Suite was, supposedly, the meeting of the Aston Villa Shareholders to ratify & finalise the Accounts & Business of the Last Financial Year.
I, like many others, expected Mr D. Ellis to use this opportunity to say short 'thank you' to the shareholders for investing their own hard earned money, in the vain hope that the funds would be utilised, in building the club back up into a force to be reckoned with within the Premiership & hopefully ensuring that with shrewd business acumen, Aston Villa FC would be able to entice World Class Players back to the Club, ensuring that the Club got back into Europe & remained a Top Five finishers!
I also expected Mr Ellis to take advantage of the opportunity of this Shareholders meeting to do a formal handover to R.A.L. I didn't really expect Mr R.Lerner to be present but fully expected one of the three 'new' Non Executive Directors to be present to accept this handover on his behalf & in front of the Shareholders who had agreed to sell their interest in the Club.
I, like many others, was actually unsure whether the meeting would actually take place, since R.A.L. now supposedly owns more than 90% of the issued shares (even though we haven't been paid for them!). However, as the Club had issued 'no retraction' of the meeting & all of the meetings business was concerned with the previous financial year (way before Mr Lerner threw his hat into the ring) I was convinced that the meeting would go ahead.
I was however torn as to whether or not I should attend, because my Boss of 12 years was being made redundant today, after 18 years of service & his leaving presentation was taking place at 11:15! I decided to watch the presentation & then rush from Snow Hill to Villa Park on my motorcycle for the shareholders Meeting, which I didn't really expect to start until 12.00.
When I arrived at the meeting slightly late, at around 11:45, I was informed of two things:
1) Due to the circumstances of the 'Takeover', the 'Board' had decided to adjourn the meeting until November.
2) Everyone who had accepted the 'RAL Offer' was no longer a Shareholder & therefore ineligible to vote!
The meeting had been dissolved within around 10 minutes & there were many unhappy people present, several of whom had travelled some distance, because Mr D. Ellis couldn't be bothered to issue a notice informing the Shareholders that the meeting was void. Mr Ellis was probably too busy counting all the pennies in his Bank Account to be bothered with informing the 'little people' who've backed the Club for years!
With regard to the second point about being ineligible to vote, this must surely be incorrect or even illegal under the rules of the Stock Exchange for two simple reasons:
1) I have only undertaken an agreement to sell my share holding of 1,750 shares to R.A.L., as far as I'm concerned, that is all I've done, entered into an undertaking.
Until I receive the 'cold hard cash' from this 'undertaking', in my humble opinion, those shares remain my property!
2) All the business of today's meeting referred to the last business year of the club & as the Shares are still mine, because I have not been paid for them, I am still entitled to vote!
From day one of 'Share Issue', Mr Ellis has treated the 'ordinary share holder' as just that - 'ordinary'.
In fact, we have all been treated with nothing short of contempt & ridicule for actually paying £11.00 per share, while Mr Ellis 'copped a death 'un' & laughed all the way to the Bank!
When I originally bought my 36 Shares, at the exorbitant price of £11.00 per share, I, like the many other 'claret & blue' fans, truly believed that our money would be put to good use, invested wisely & would help AVFC return to the glory days of the 80's, which we all know 'Deadly' was not party too!
£400 to me in the mid-90's was a helluva lot of money but I gave it willingly to the club I loved & had followed since I was young lad who had the privilege of going to school at KEGS, Aston, on the other side of Aston Park. I never expected to make any money out of the Club, I just hoped mine & everyone else's contribution would help provide Aston Villa with a bright future.
Since my original purchase, I've been mobilised & sent to the Balkans three times, each time I've come back & invested more of the money I'd saved while peace keeping overseas back into the club, bringing my total investment in AVFC to 1,756 Shares. Although, the extra 1,720 were bought for a much more realistic price of £1.60-£1.80!
In all the time I've been a Shareholder, the Club (read Mr Ellis & his puppets) has provided no incentive to being a Shareholder, not even a small 'discount' in the Villa Village like 'Season Ticket holders' receive & I'm pretty sure that their hasn't been a dividend issued on our shares this millennium, it certainly seems that long!
As always, I had hopes & aspirations that Mr Ellis would use today as a way of saying 'thank you'; as usual he has been true to form & left me feeling mad, frustrated & immensely disappointed! Enjoy your millions, Doug, you will not be remembered fondly & the sooner the fans get the 'Ron Saunders or Tony Barton Stand' the better!
Welcome Randy, I would have liked to retain at least one solitary share in the club & wish you'd at least given all share holders that option.
I sincerely hope you do to a better job for Villa than Mr Ellis ever did, but that won't exactly be hard, will it!?
Date:Saturday September 30 2006
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