Wycombe Wanderers Football Club Ltd
Annual General Meeting 1997
An estimated 200 of the 480 shareholders of Wycombe Wanderers F C Limited turned out for the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 23rd October 1997. The turnout, the biggest for several years, congregated in the Vere Suite at Adams Park to hear the report of the Chairman, Ivor Beeks and the Financial Director Graham Peart. They also had the chance for a question and answer session with Club Officials after the close of the official business.
The Chairman summarised the playing aspects of last season, praising Manager John Gregory for ensurng the safety of the Club in the Second Division. The main revelation by Beeks, however, was that during the previous 12 months the Board of Directors had been taking a look at the Articles of Association and taking advice from a variety of legal experts including the Queens Council. The principal theme of this advice was that the Club should not have been issuing share certificates but instead some form of membership certificate. The Chairman informed the audience that an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting would be arranged to "discuss various options of going forward to change some of the Articles to bring them into the 21st Century and make them more adaptable to the modern game"
The Chairman recorded the improvements to Community Scheme opperations at Wycombe Wanderers, the completion of the Woodlands Stand at a cost of just £1.6m, plans for a larger Club Shop plus improved Sponsorhip deals. Beeks concluded by stating that "Difficult decisions were made during this year.. that were made for the benefit of the Club and the Supporters as a whole"
FINANCIAL DIRECTOR'S REPORT
Financial Director, Graham Peart, normally provides the interesting part of the AGM but this year turned out to be little more than a plea for cash from supporters interspersed with 101 facts you didn't know about OTHER clubs. The normal detailed figures regarding WYCOMBE WANDERERS were not given out in the Accounts sent to Shareholders and Peart chose not to elaborate during the actual meeting. Peart claimed that "Nearly always, the Clubs with the largest wage-bills fill the top spaces in their respective divisions". He went on to add that some of the Clubs in Division Two have a wage-bill that was twice the size of Wycombe's and at many Division One clubs the player wage-bill is 6 times that of Wycombe.
Assessing the progress of Wycombe, Peart stated that "We have come a long way in a short period of time. We powered out of the Conference because we had everything in place and a high relative attendance (4,800).. last year in Division Two I was glad to see our gates back up to an average of 5,100. Our aspirations are exceeding our ability to survive because not enough people pay enough money to watch us play" Peart pointed out that the Club had lost money for the third season in a row (£382,000 being the deficit for year ending May 1997). Peart affirmed "This season the same story cannot be repeated or we will lose our much admired and very much appreciated stabilty and independence" Peart estimated that the Club should show a "modest surplus" this season.
Peart continued with the familiar story of lack of Club Shop sales and in particular replica shirts and encouraged those in attendance to try and get these on the backs of local children. He also revealed that the profit for Club Shop was unlikely to total much more than £20,000 for the year just passed.
In justify the reasons behind not allowing detailed figures to be passed to shareholders, Peart gave two examples "It was possible from last years detailed figures and a bit of inspired guesswork to work out what our wage structure was for players. I believe this may have been used against us in a controversial transfer matter in the close season" He went on to add "Some of our members irresponsibly believed that it was their duty to pass copies of this confidential information to our local newspaper" Peart's opinion was that the newspaper reports were not factual and that "this is damaging and can frighten off potential sponsors". The Financial Director then produced the back page from the Bucks Free Press dated 3 October 1997 with the headline 'BLUES LOSING £7K PER WEEK' - Peart stated clearly that "this was not fact - he knows it's not fact but he chose to print it". Peart failed to correct the headline before adding strongly that he would not be doing an interview with the Bucks Free Press this year.
The accounts were passed with a majority showing of hands in favour of adoption.
RE-ELECTION OF DIRECTOR
Directors are required to offer themselves for re-election every 5 years and this year it was the turn of Ivor Beeks. With no one standing in opposition, The Chairman offered his continued services and was duly accepted. Beeks responded "I am exceedingly grateful. I love this Football Club, I love the people within it and the one thing I can tell you is I will do my best to make sure we get where we want to be."
The official meeting was concluded with the appointment of the auditors.
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