19/12/2008

AGM Report

by Russell Gordon

The 112th Annual General Meeting of Morton Football Club took place at Cappielow on Thursday evening, chaired by Douglas Rae (pictured, left) in the company of the majority of his board of directors and thirty shareholders.

One notable absentee however was director Alistair Donald who had unfortunately taken ill at Birmingham Airport in the morning.

Mr. Rae kicked off proceedings by asking for the approval of the minutes from last year's AGM and the Extraordinary General Meeting held in May, both of which were swiftly approved.

So, it was onto business and Rae gave his Chairmans' and Financial Reports for the year just past. The shareholders were treated to an account of season 2007/08 through the Chairman's eyes, some of which was misty eyed to say the least. I noted the use of the word "triumph" in his description of Morton's survival in the First Division last season. Not how many of the support would describe it. Although it was a good feeling at the time, I would prefer to use the term "relief".

As ever, he had his dig at the support regarding their treatment of Jim McInally and went onto give a glowing report of the man's personality and abilities as a football manager, using East Stirling's current run of form to underline his point. Something clearly still rankles.

Once we were finished with the playing side of things, credit was again given to Mark Farrell for his work on the Cappielow pitch, he noted how well subscribed hospitality has been, mentioned that there are teams operating at three different age groups, thanked Alistair Wylie and his volunteer helpers before Rae went onto say there'll be changes afoot with players coming and going, and his wish to challenge at the top of the table next term. What table one wonders?

Onto financial matters and the club were forced into coming to an out of court settlement with former manager Ally Maxwell, who was suing for £20,000 loss of earnings after being released by the administrators in 2001. As the risk became greater by a judge at the Court of Session's decision to allow the case to be heard it was beginning to seem apparent that Morton weren't onto the winner they had originally thought and Rae's lawyer advised him to settle out of court at a total cost of £66,000. His lawyer anticipated costs in excess of £80,000 plus should Rae lose the case.

We were then surprised to find out that the club paid Jim Mcinally and Martin Clark £40,000 on their departure, had they been sacked the figure would have been £90,000. Andy Morrison then asked that surely should they resign they would not be entitled to the pay offs, but Rae pointed out this is common practice, an unwritten rule in football. Added to a £40,000 figure for depreciation this totalled £182,000 in Losses for the financial year.

This prompted Danny Goodwin to ask how long such losses can be sustainable. Rae responded by saying that SPL football within 2-3 years would allow for this, but should this not be the case he would only consider part time football should the rest of the division also think the same way, which is not outwith the realms of possibility.

Danny then went onto take centre stage and was then informed that the Car park is owned by Morton FC and not Golden Casket and directors' shareholdings do not need to be published on the accounts by law anymore and that for the record, the elusive Mr. Donald owns a mere 200 shares. That's what everyone wanted to know anyway!

The Chairman's Financial Reports were subsequently approved.

Jim McColl then gave us an overview of the youth set-up, comprising of teams at Under-19 and Under-17 levels, competing in their respective SFL leagues and an Under-15 team competing in the Glasgow and District League. He pointed out that whist the previous management team preferred to concentrate their attentions on the first team, the current team have made youth development a priority, with Derek Collins making it his hobby horse.

New training kit has been purchased for all 3 teams at a cost of £7-8000, with various methods of funding put in place to run the youth set up. Worryingly, the boys' parents are being asked to pay £12 a month for their development for 10 month a year (coming to £6000 between 50 boys); the Sportsman's Dinner raising £10-11,000 and the fans game £2500. The club also expect to receive a £5000 grant like the one they received last year.

The Chairman then outlined his high hopes for Under-17 left-back Nathan Shepherd - who he seems to see as the jewel in the crown of the current set up. Here's hoping, although I hate seeing young boys singled out at that age.

The news the supporters have been waiting to hear was finally delivered when it was announced that Stuart Duncan will replace Jim McColl as the fans' representative on the board, whilst Alistair Donald, in his absence was put up for re-election by Crawford Rae, and seconded by Douglas.

There wasn't a great deal to be said about the new stand from Love Street going into the Wee Dublin End but Crawford informed us that he was dealing with John Mitchell, formerly of Barr construction who had worked on the projects for both of St. Mirren's stands behind their goals and everything has fallen into place nicely. The stand will be used for away supporters but don't expect to see black, white and red seats in it! Regarding the disabled ramp that the Spinnaker Morton Supporters have been fund raising for Crawford pointed out that with the current regeneration works in the area it was decided it may not be financially prudent for something that may be replaced in a year so they have been asked to keep the funds for now.

Before closing the meeting Mr. Rae was confident about Morton's involvement in the Riverside Inverclyde project after discussions with them.

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

Rae was stuffed well and truly by Maxwell-excellent!

JM was paid a sweetener to go in apology for the nasty fans' behaviour!!!

What has changed that makes the old clown see the SPL in 2-3 years?

We COULD have been there already and by his own assertion, profitable.