Joe Robertson Media Archive
Newcastle United Consortium
Newcastle Football club get backing from Joe Robertson to join with John Hall.
The Magpie Group consists of Tyneside businessmen John Hall. Newcastle Breweries managing director David Stephenson. City Leisure Group managing director Joe Robertson. Reed Print and Design managing director Brian Reed. Comedian and property developer Bobby Pattinson and waiter Dix and Company chairman Malcolm Dix.
The Magpie Group today answered vital questions that backers need to know before they commit themselves to the Group’s cause. They are;
1. Who will have control of the Club if the Magpie Group succeed?
A. The shareholders, which the Magpie Group intend will be the supporters. With 10,000,000 shares available in Newcastle United limited it is expected that these will be mainly in the hands of the supporters, The creation of such a democratic base and with the shares that are freely transferable the Board will have to listen to the supporters and provide a service that benefits all.
2. Doesn’t that mean that one wealthy individual could buy control?
A. No voting rights in the Articles of Association are designed to make it a virtual impossibility for one person to take control of the club. This means true democracy with even someone with 10 per cent of the shares not being able to ensure a place on the Board.
3. What happens if all the 10,000,000 shares are not purchased?
A. This is unlikely. Our researches show that there are more than enough individuals eager to invest in the club.
4. Will the Magpie Group take over if this scheme goes ahead?
A. It is not guaranteed that any member of the Magpie Group will be on the Board. They will stand for election if they so wish, just as any shareholder is entitled to. It may well be that the existing Board could be voted back in. Naturally the Magpie Group are hoping that they will form a considerable force on the Board because they believe that they have the best interests of Newcastle United at heart. In any event, the proposal we are making enables at least half of the current Board to remain involved in the Club.
5. What experience do the Magpie Group have of running a business?
A. The Magpie Group comprises individuals who have a great breadth of experience and knowledge of both business and football. Profiles of the individuals are laid out on page four.
6. If I want to sell my shares may I do so?
A. Yes. Unlike the present situation you may sell them to any person you wish. The Board will have no say in to whom, when or how you transfer shares.
7. Where will the money raised by the Magpie Group go?
A. Into two areas. First into improvements in the ground to make St James’ Park fit for international competition in the 21st Century, including seven day a week facilities. Second, but as important, into building a first class team that will fill the stadium throughout the season. Moreover there will be no need to sell the Barnwell Ground.
8. But surely just throwing money at the situation won’t solve the problem?
A. The Magpie Group appreciates that. But a large injection of money has to be the first priority because there are problems that can only be solved by cash and clearly accommodation is one. The team deserve the sort of facilities that other leading Clubs offer and if supporters get what they want gates will start to build. A new strong team will take years to establish because in order to keep young team players, which the present Board has repeatedly tried to do the prospect of a secure and successful future must be evident to everyone. The Magpie Group Plan will offer this.
Developer John Hall and his consortium today revealed their £10m redevelopment strategy for a new-look Newcastle United. The 12-page document, which details plans to turn St James’s Park into a 45,000 capacity, all-covered ground, was unveiled by The Magpie Group at a Press conference in a City hotel.
It is a six-part plan aimed at re-vitalising United and making them one of the top clubs in Europe. The six main proposals, which are already in the hands of the club’s share holders, are Re-vitalise the board of directors. Capitalise revenue reserves an issue new shares free to existing holders in proportion to their present holding. Inject up to £5m of new cash into the club to transform its capital base and allow the development of new commercial activities for the long-term benefit of the club. Democratise the club by removing petty restrictions on smaller share transfers while retaining the provisions designed to prevent the domination of the club be a small group of people. Redevelop St. James’s Park with new stands behind each goal, premises for a Supporters Club and introduce new sports and leisure facilities which can provide income to the club six of seven days a week rather than one. Give the team a period of time in which the board will not demand player sales to balance the books but rather make more money available to strengthen the side. Mr Hall addressing the shareholders says “You have witnessed the progress of other clubs most notably Liverpool, both on the pitch and off it while your club’s board has prevaricated over ground improvements. Has baulked at increasing the capital base to strengthen the finances of the club and has sold a constant succession of great players to the benefit of amongst others Liverpool.