Chairman’s Statement – New Stadium for Grimsby Town Football Club

Philip Day, Chairman of Grimsby Town Football Club, has today commented on the article in the Grimsby Telegraph relating to Mr Tom Shute’s proposals for a new stadium and his interest in acquiring ownership of the football club.

Mr Day stated:

“I note with interest the contents of the article and the comments of Mr Shutes. First, unfortunately, there are a number of factual errors in his comments. It was not John Fenty who rejected the offer made by Mr Shutes. It was a unanimous decision of all Board members to cease further discussions with him because the information which the Board had requested over a period of almost two years had not been forthcoming. I will deal with that information later. Mr Shutes says that for the development on Freeman Street to go ahead 100 houses would have to be demolished. This is not the case. There is sufficient space for the construction of a stadium without any demolition. He refers to additional income streams from FA Youth Cup competitions and women’s football, but the Club already enjoys such income streams.”

“I note that Mr Shutes refers to a proposed acquisition from several of the other largest shareholders. Anyone acquiring the football club would be under an obligation to offer to purchase the shares of not only major shareholders but all shareholders on the same terms. In this respect, the Directors have a duty to protect the interest of all shareholders both large and small.”

“I do not doubt, as he says, that Mr Shutes has acted in good faith. I trust, that as he does not mention the Board, that he is not implying that the Board and each of its members has not also acted in good faith. They are and have always been guided by the principle that they act in the best interests of the Club and its long term stability and financial viability and accordingly act in equally good faith.”

“Mr Shutes first approached the Club approximately two years ago with a view to acquiring it in conjunction with his proposed redevelopment on the docks. He wanted to complete the purchase by the end of November 2018. That did not happen. In February 2019 a representative of Mr Shutes attended a Board meeting and presented the plans which Mr Shutes has now made public. The Board was happy to proceed further and asked the representative to let it have financial projections for the running of the Club over the next five years. In particular, the Board required clarity on the cost of the new stadium, how this would be financed and the financial implications for the Club i.e. would there be capital and interest repayable over a period of time and if so what period or rent payable and again at what rate and over what period. Such financial information is also required by the EFL in connection with the change of ownership. From that date and up to present that information has not been forthcoming.”

“Further discussions ensued throughout 2019 and various deadlines were issued none of which were complied with. Eventually, in February 2020 the Board decided that as, despite repeated requests, the information requested in February 2019 was still not forthcoming there was not any point in further discussions.”

“Following this, the Board did receive communication from Mr Stockwood and Mr Pettit and discussions were held with these gentlemen. They were offered seats on the Board to work with the other Directors in pursuing relocation. Their interest did not come to fruition.”

“As I have said recently, this is the most difficult time in the Club’s history. There is every likelihood that we will not resume playing until 2021. In the meantime, steps will have to be taken to keep the Club afloat. Relocation, as much as we all desire it, is not at the top of our list of priorities.”

“Having said that if Mr Shutes can provide the information the Board has requested then consideration can be given to his proposals. Mr Shutes says in the article that we know where he is. Likewise, he has my contact details and if he can come forward with the information which the Board has requested so that the Directors can judge the proposals against the long term stability and viability of the Club then, and only then, could progress be made. We will not reject any proposals that are in the best interest of the Club.”

“To date, we have had no such proposals. What we are not prepared to do is deal with discussions via the media and are disappointed that, not for the first time, Mr Shutes has chosen to use the media to put pressure on the Board. For that reason, we will not be making any further public statement. Mr Shutes knows what the Board want. If he comes up with that, we will give it proper consideration. Not to do so would be a dereliction of our duty.”


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