Falkirk EGM: Resolution rejected

The show of hands was indicative of the feeling in the room, but could not pass the resolution. Picture Michael Gillen.
The show of hands was indicative of the feeling in the room, but could not pass the resolution. Picture Michael Gillen.

The vote of no confidence in Falkirk’s directors was rejected by the club’s shareholders at the extraordinary general meeting called this morning.

The motion put forward “We, the shareholders in Falkirk Football and Athletic Club Limited, have no confidence in the Board of Directors and in their ability to act in the best interests of the company and club” was defeated by strength of the shareholding in the proxy votes submitted.

The meeting was held in the south stand and even additional seating could not accomodate all shareholders attending. Picture Michael Gillen.

The meeting was held in the south stand and even additional seating could not accomodate all shareholders attending. Picture Michael Gillen.

Among them were those of major shareholder Sandy Alexander who admitted his opposition to the resolution at the meeting which was standing-room only in the Bairns’ south stand.

READ MORE: Falkirk’s EGM - as it happened

In total, representatives of 64% of the club’s stakeholding voted against the no confidence motion, with only five percent of the proxy votes submitted prior to the meeting in favour.

The feeling of the room, however, was different with an indicative showing of hands backing the resolution – and not the board. Only three in attendance on the floor opposed the motion, which had already been rejected. Club sources have also told The Falkirk Herald that as well as strength of shareholding against the resolution, the proxies also showed more individual shareholders against the resolution in simple numbers.

Colin Liddell, MSG member and former director, addressed points of the meeting. Picture Michael Gillen.

Colin Liddell, MSG member and former director, addressed points of the meeting. Picture Michael Gillen.

It was an unusual meeting for club directors to face – with questions also asked on the fan ownership proposal and lack of progress; the hiring of Ray McKinnon as manager and Paul Hartley’s signing policy.

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The meeting, chaired by Lex Miller, opened with discussion around the club’s youth policy, Project Brave and the withdrawl of funding for the Forth Valley Academy in December 2017.

Figures were discussed and contested, with questions over the reluctance to accept an external group’s offer of funding to make up some of the shortfall in the Academy’s running costs and the position of the club’s youth policy fitting into Project Brave.

Sandy Alexander, the largest shareholder in Falkirk, openly backed the board and opposed the resolution. Picture Michael Gillen.

Sandy Alexander, the largest shareholder in Falkirk, openly backed the board and opposed the resolution. Picture Michael Gillen.

At the top table were new directors Peter Duncan and Gary Deans, joined by Margaret Lang, Kieran Koszary, Andy Thomson and Mr Miller. From the five-strong group of sharehoilders who requested the meeting Keith Gourlay joined the front of the hall with more than 120 in the audience.

They were also questioned over Paul Hartley’s summer recruitment in 2018 – with directors believing he had earned the right to proceed with his transfer policy having successfully kept the Bairns in the Championship in season 2017-18 after recruiting Louis Longridge, Alex Jakubiak, Andy Nelson and Tommy Robson.

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Lex Miller admitted the board had made a “big mistake” over their actions on the hiring of Ray McKinnon from Morton, which netted the club a sanction from the football authorities.

The meeting was chaired by director Lex Miller (centre). Picture Michael Gillen.

The meeting was chaired by director Lex Miller (centre). Picture Michael Gillen.

The failure of the Back The Bairns fan owenrship scheme was also discussed at length and revealed director Andy Thomson was not shown the proposal detail until March of this year – three months after it was presented to the club’s shareholders at the AGM.

It also transpired during this topic’s discussion that there were NO purchase offers left on the table when delays were imposed on the process May and prompted a local consortium and another offer from American Scott Davidson to be withdrawn.

READ MORE: Local consortium withdraws offer for Falkirk

Colin Liddell of the major shareholders’ group, told the meeting three serious options were now on the table including the fan ownership proposal which was revealed in December last year and attracted more than 600 pledges in a matter of weeks.

The club’s position on the alleged racism incident involving Dennon Lewis and Falkirk supporters and a statement on the club website was also challenged and Andy Thomson made an apology to the meeting for the statement.

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Former chairman Margaret Lang revealed she will resign from the board but stayed on to face the meeting. Picture Michael Gillen.

Former chairman Margaret Lang revealed she will resign from the board but stayed on to face the meeting. Picture Michael Gillen.

The machinations of the club were also discussed by each of the directors, with many expressing frustration at the discord within the club and lack of co-ordination.

Margaret Lang also spoke and admitted she will resign her position in the near future, but wished to see out her role and attend the meeting and address shareholders. Mr Alexander also added he saw the major shareholders’ interest in the club remaining – even under the BtB scheme where shares would be diluted, not transferred.

READ MORE: Falkirk launch fan ownership proposal at AGM

Lex Miller also paid tribute to “a great Falkirk man” in Martin Ritchie during his summing up.

The meeting concluded with the vote which went againstb the resolution proposed.