Monday, September 19

Supporters Advisory Panel Report

Michelle Gabriel reports on the SAP(!) meeting:

As a member of the Supporter Advisory Board I was invited to last night's Fan Forum, with David Gold. It looked like over 100 fans were present.

I found David Gold to be very open and likeable, even when, after describing his recent near-terminal illness, he was asked about his succession plan for his share of the club! He even answered that question by saying that his daughters are his pride and joy, and that the wellbeing of the football club is secured in his will.

He was asked to compare his own communication style with other chairmen, and the most memorable part of his response was to suggest that if a cardboard cutout were to represent Terry Brown no one would notice the difference. His views on Duxbury and the Icelandics bordered on the obscene. DG mentioned that Jack Sullivan is his preferred source of information regarding transfer targets!

A big theme of the evening was the appointment of Big Sam and the subsequent support shown to him by the chairmen in signing players. All the fans were positive about and appreciative of this. The departure of Scotty to Sp***s was mentioned; reading between the lines I think DG shares my view, which is that Scotty mentally left the club some time ago. DG was very excited about Henri Lansbury and felt that if he is a big part of our promotion this season he might still want to sign for us in order to play regularly. DG hinted that Zavon and Junior had not really made the grade, but that the club is very hopeful that some of the younger Academy players will shine at the highest level.

DG was very open about the mistake made in appointing Avram; he said that it was done in good faith and Avram was the best candidate in a poor shortlist. DG was uncomfortable about having tried to replace him behind his back, both because this was a personal deception and because if it failed the club would still have him as manager. After the close of the transfer window it was impossible to replace him, as no one would want to take on someone else's players.

The other major theme was the Olympic Stadium. DG was asked about the latest Sp***s challenge and his answer, roughly translated, was that he can't say too much but nudge nudge, wink wink, there is room to negotiate to a successful outcome for us. DG showed an endearing dislike of Barry Hearn ("he's after money") and Daniel Levy.

DG mentioned that he is still hoping that another investor will buy the remaining third of club and run it for the good of the club together with him and DS. This would cost around £30m to the banks and £20 for players etc., in case anyone on the list has £50m to spare.



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