Sunday, 13 November 2016
Hippo 164 - Moran
The shambles that is the boardroom at the Theatre of Lies shows no sign of putting itself right any time soon. Our campaign for change a few years back did result in new faces joining the parasite although it wasn’t perfect as Bowie inexplicably chose to prop up Johnston…..a decision that he must hugely regret by now. However it was an improvement on the one man dictatorship and the new guys that remain are the ones best placed to get rid of the black cloud that continues to float above our famous old ground. The departure rate from the boardroom is matched only by that of the key positions in the club and out with the shop I don’t think I know anyone. It’s all changed days from when the likes of Anne Clark worked there for years showing true loyalty to the club that she loves. The boardroom departures in recent times have seen chairman Jim Mann do his best but ultimately head back down south. David Moran came on along with Russel Smith, both genuine Killie fans who invested in shares and joined the board in the belief they could halt our decline. They gave it their best shot but realised the parasite has manipulated the whole structure of the club in a way that makes it very difficult for anyone to make a significant difference...unless they pay him an obscene amount of money of course.
1. Why has MJ never been voted off the board?
The board can only remove a director if they have the backing of 70% of shareholders in writing. MJ own 40% so impossible. It takes an EGM for shareholders to vote a director off the board and it takes 5% of shareholders with a valid reason to call an EGM. Trying to get 5% to legally meet the requirements to call and EGM is not easy when the board hold about 92% of the total shares. Even at an EGM Billy Bowie hold the key to any vote. Even if BB voted against MJ, MJ could fight in the courts to stay on to protect his “investment” (no sniggering).
2. Why does KFC not use another solicitors firm?
aThat baffles me and I would suspect that MJ signed a contract with himself before when he held 87% of shares that ties us to him. I was never given access to all the pre-existing contracts despite asking several times. I have no idea what notice period might be on any of these contracts. An example of an onerous contract in football would be the Sports Direct contract at Ibrox with a 7 year notice period. Certainly an equation for the next AGM or and EGM. That’s where the Ibrox contracts were uncovered.
3. What was your main reasons for leaving the board?
I was not willing to invest the second traunch of my investment while MJ remained on the board. That meant I had to resign.
4. What in your opinion will it take to remove MJ from a position of power at KFC?
Money or the potential future loss of it. A criminal conviction. Death.
5. If there is no gagging order why haven't you told the other side of the story to the press to counteract the spin from MJ?
I have told anyone that wants to listen. I’m glad Hippo has given me this opportunity.
6. What were you thinking?
I ask myself the same question. I really thought that MJ would sit back and let others grow his investment. I totally underestimated the lengths that he would go to keep control. I believed that I could help turn the club PR around and get the fans back behind a progressive fan focused board. I was wrong.
7. Do you know the current relationship between Bowie and MJ?
They are business partners. Anything beyond that baffles me.
8. What percentage if any will the bank take from MJs money from selling his shares in Kilmarnock Football Club if the sale takes place before 2019 and is this the reason he won't sell before then, or is there something else keeping him hanging on?
I have no idea but it will be enough for him to not risk it. A big payday is all that keeps him hanging on. He will wait as long as it takes.
9. Have you seen any evidence that supports MJ's claim that the club could face a financial penalty if he leaves before 2019?
I have seen no evidence to support this. The bank are silent on this (I have contacted them) and everyone else in between is bound by confidentiality agreements. Only MJ seems willing to talk about it and nobody can contradict what he says...just as he likes it.
10. Has MJ ever told a blatant lie?
That would need to be legally proved and he would fight the accusation. He is extremely careful with what he says. A statement with 1% truth can be argued as being not untrue. He is the king of double speak.
11. Can you confirm what YNTTK has said, about an e-mail from MJ, which contains names of potential investors and what they are willing to invest?
I have not seen the email however I have emails from investors with pledges of over £1.2m if MJ is gone. MJ always claimed that they were just pledges and not real. I looked these people in the eye and I know it was real money.
12. Did due diligence throw up any concerns when you were initially investing?
No it didn’t and I suspect if I had been more intrusive I wouldn’t have learned any more but might have pulled out.
13. Did the board support MJ when taking action against Brownings re Killie branding and/or is he pursuing personal vendettas using the clubs money?
I can confirm John Gall's statement that during my time another director negotiated commercial terms with Browning for an extended period of supply of catering services. If it had been my company I would have signed it personally but it did not get signed. That is as much as I know. I am still at a loss as to why it wasn’t signed. I personally think that some people over estimate the value of the Killie Pie Brand outside of Killie.
14. Do you think Johnston is deliberately trying to kill the club?
Absolutely not. You don’t kill the golden goose. It was once claimed that Mike Ashley just needed an Ibrox club to have a faint pulse and no more. MJ just needs us alive until payday.
15. Can you set the fat **** up so he bumps into me on a dark night with no witnesses?
It’s a small town and the nights are fair drawing in.
16. What are the issues surrounding the validity or not if the request for an EGM?
Does everyone legally own their shares, has everyone given full legal permission for me to use their shares, have the Trust and Mauchline KSA met their constitutional obligations. Time consuming faffing that just delays everything.
17. How the f**k do we get rid of Michael Johnston preferably without going him any more than a quid?
When I came in I was in the camp that he had earned the right to a reasonable payday. He had done the very unenviable job of stripping out cost to keep us alive. We had the chance to rebuild in 2014 and if he had sat back and let others run the club better I would not have grudged him a pay day. However he has managed to get half the hotel, has held us back and now wants a pay day that in my opinion is grossly unreasonable.
18. Is it true that you were the original "Cyril the Squirrel" in the mid-nineties and if so, does this make you the first man in football history to go from mascot to board room?
I helped Chalky White out once and was Cyril on the pitch before Skol Cup tie vs Hibs in 1992.
19. Do you believe Billy Bowie has the clubs best interests at heart and do you believe he wants rid of Johnston?
He wants the club to do well but doesn’t want to run a football club. He didn’t want MJ out when I was there but surely he sees the issue now. He can’t keep propping the club up waiting for MJ’s payday. If he has offered MJ what we have read then he must be pretty insulted that MJ has knocked him back. I am and it’s not my money.
20. Does the board operate on a one member, one vote system on all matters? If so, did that apply to the CEB member when one sat on the board?
Yes but votes that MJ might lose are avoided because he doesn’t take kindly to other people telling him how to run the club.
21. What happened to the CEB?
Good question. What was the point? If it was a condition of the bank deal why is it less important to maintain than preserving MJ on the board. Picking and choosing?
22. Were the remote directors - Mann, Smith and yourself - ever "surprised" by business decisions made in your absence?
I’ll speak for myself. Yes, too often for my liking. I didn’t want a hands on role and to be consulted on every decision but I was surprised at some of the minor things I was extensively updated on by MJ while other arguably more important decisions were taken by MJ with less consultation.
23. What were your reasons for becoming a Director, and backing for a short time the reign of MJ?
At no point did I back the “reign” of MJ. Right from the start I expected him to step back and wait quietly for his pay day. I believed that I could help turn the club PR around and get the fans back behind a progressive fan focused board. I believed that MJ would step back and that I could get others to invest much more than I could so we could appoint a full time CEO instead of an executive chairman. I was wrong.
24. What given your experience are the reasons why MJ still holds on to power and defeats any opposition? Is it just the voting and legal structure he has developed over time? Surely experienced business people could find a loophole or other way of manoeuvring his exit, be that even accepting a pay off?
He is able to legally challenge everything. He has the time and the resources to do this inexpensively. Taking him on takes time and money to legally challenge everything he has built to protect himself. He has created layer upon complex layer of protection that we need to peel them back one by one. Each time one is removed another is revealed. It can seem endless. He does not need to win anything just avoid losing until payday has come and gone. It’s like parking the bus and not needing to score a winner.
25. How do you see the boardroom situation panning out between now and the end of the season?
It is difficult to see a solution we want. I want an EGM to remove him but really that’s pie in the sky without Billy Bowie wanting it to happen so the ball is in Billy’s court. It is difficult for him because at the end of the day they are partners whether they like it or not. MJ’s statement 2 weeks ago in response to the KFCSA petition talked the club financial position making it appear like he was doing a great job. If QTS confirm publicly that they will pull out if MJ stays then MJ cannot defend his position. He would absolutely be blocking and negatively impacting company revenues.
26. Why did you think the hotel deal was good for the club?
The hotel sale was great for the Club. Selling it to BB in return for a £9m debt was great business. What I didn't like was that BB sold MJ 47% of it for way less than he should have. That was a bad deal for BB but it has also turned out to be a bad deal for us. If BB had got a lot more of the club for the 47% of hotel shares or given MJ less of the hotel then he might be in a better position to remove MJ today. If we look at the full deal and ask who did well out of it. MJ's gains far exceed everyone else and he didn't part with a penny to get it.
27. Do you think MJ wants to shut the club and sell the land for houses?
Absolutely not. The hotel's revenue is not from hungry thirsty residents it is only viable next to a football stadium. Without RP the hotel would be dead in weeks. The hotel needs the club more than the club needs the hotel.
Hippo says – first and foremost we would like to extend huge thanks to David for being so open and honest in answering the fans questions. I should add that the majority of the questions were from the forums on the all conquering KillieFC.com,a website that is more popular, more professional and in a different league to the rubbish put out by the club. David has answered a lot of the questions that fans have been asking over the years and I hope his inside knowledge adds a bit of credibility to the stuff that we have known has been going on for years. The one thing that nobody can really say is how is this all going to end. David is right in saying that Bowie is the key to the whole situation. Bowie helped create the whole mess by propping up Johnston when he should have been getting on board with the other consortium at the time. There is a chance that he can get himself back in the good books by playing hard ball with Bowie and doing everything in his power to make MJ’s life hell. Take away the legal work, bump him as Company Secretary and get rid of his SLO buddy who appears to be Johnston’s ally at the club now. Thanks again David and there may be a place for you back at the club once the parasite can bleed us dry no more.