As an exiled supporter [but Trust member] based in the South, I won't be able to attend in person. I would encourage anyone who can attend to do so. We need to be united and the Trust - whilst not perfect - is the best and only way we can possibly influence change.
I therefore thought it worthwhile posting on here - for you and @Andy b / everyone else reading - to see what I would raise under the outlined agenda points, if I were able to attend.
My concerns - What are they? And what do I want to see/hear from the Owner?
1. As much as I deplore our owner interfering in team selection and signing players above the manager/coaches heads, I feel this is for the owner and his chosen management/coaching team to address/agree a way forward that they collectively understand/accept. However, does our owner accept that such behaviour has been to the detriment of the team, his club and his relationship with former employees & its supporters. Will he therefore accept he has no alternative but to address/change his behaviour?
2. I am led to believe, despite our owners protestations, that there exists a growing/large number of creditors, which could include; The Landlords; Food/Drink Suppliers; Pitch Maintenance Companies; Energy Suppliers; Coach Companies, with bailiffs turning up at the club to repossess equipment. This follows earlier season stories of wages being paid late and Pension contributions for employees not being made. As a paying customer of his Limited company, I find this wholly unacceptable and an embarrassment. I consider the respectable treatment of employees/suppliers as a hygiene factor. Does he understand his responsibilities and severity of not carrying out his obligations?
3. Moreover, does he accept that any of these creditors could seek legal means from which to recover money owed, which could result in a winding up order? I have grave concerns - that if he can't afford the gas bill - HMRC will come knocking very soon, which could have much more serious consequences. Can he provide us with any assurances that he has provided the money to pay his Ltd company's Tax obligations?
4. We are obviously now aware - regardless of his proclamations about investing millions / £200k a month - that he is not an especially wealthy man. We are also led to believe that we are operating on a smaller budget than prior to his time. Partially influenced by being in a lower division. We are yet to see any company accounts posted that would tell us more about the finances of the club. We are however aware that OAFC2004 Ltd makes a loss every year. In normal Limited company circumstances, this is not sustainable. Is he covering that loss and writing it off every year until he can make it profitable? i.e Will he not saddle OAFC2004 Ltd with Director loans that it has to pay back if/when hes moves on?
5. The recent invitation from the club for supporters to put themselves forward as NEDs is tacit proof he accepts/understands there is discontent amongst the supporter base. In an attempt to address this/build bridges, will he answer - some longstanding - questions;
- What was/is his motivation for owning our football club? More specifically, why would a Moroccan football agent living in Dubai buy a struggling League One football club that didn’t own its land/ground, the only stand that has potential to earn non match day revenue and - if you take him at his word - move his family to a very cold & wet part of Northern Europe?
- Does he accept that the suspicion would be to farm his football agency [still managed by his other brother Omar] players through the club with his primary motivation being profit for his Agency, not success for Oldham Athletic. We would all be less concerned if both went in hand in hand. Does he accept his forays into the foreign player market have to date been largely unsuccessful? Is this making him question/assess his motives?
- Is it true his brother Mohamed has failed the FPP test on more than one occasion? In order to put our minds at rest that this isn't because of nefarious reasons, will he explain why?
- Does he accept that no Chief Exec, no effective Board of Directors [that aren't just fans] and therefore no engagement with the Trust, our Trust, our only formal representation with the club, one that owns 3% share, gives off the impression there is no structure and more importantly no Plan*.
*A Plan could/should include initiatives such as;
- Commit a budget toward the youth set up by increasing number/quality of coaches, extended the scouting network to find more 'domestic' kids/pick them up when discarded from bigger/wealthier clubs, which was designed to increase the number of 'domestic' players we can blood into the 1st team squad each year.
- Find a way to lease/rent the top floor of the Joe Royle Stand & using it for the benefit of supporters and to make a profit from which to add to club funds.
- Work closely with OACT and do some low cost advertising & hold events locally to encourage the populous of Oldham/Tameside to attend.
- Stability - assuming competence - in management appointments & recruitment (players with promise on 2/3 year contracts).
- The loan market was used sensibly, not a constant procession & revolving door.
- The #FrenchLads were limited in number each season and discernibly made a difference.
- Accepting we are a selling club, demonstrate a strategy to transfer policy. We held strong on assets - selling them for good money - to be able to reinvest some of the income on new players.
- Will you invest in a new pitch and upgrade/improve the training facilities?
I want him to accept an invitation from the Trust to be questioned/interviewed and there to be no limit on what can be asked, with the resulting answered published in full. I then want dialogue between him and the Trust to be regular and for both parties to work collaboratively, with the Trust allowed to communicate whatever they deem acceptable to the wider fan base.