Saturday, 18 November 2017

Time to Speak Up?

By now, I think that most Clapton supporters, and many football supporters of other other clubs, have concluded that Vince McBean is, at best, a slippery customer who has been consistently economic with the truth. The recent 'true supporter' rubbish on his website, in which he dismissed the problems over the Old Spotted Dog as rumour, were totally blown apart by the recent disclosure of emails between him, the FA and the ESL, prior to the League AGM last June (see the Old Spotted Dog blog).

The contents of emails are irreconcilable with the eventual announcement of a 'resolution' to the  Old Spotted Dog problem by the Essex Senior League at their AGM last June.  That decision now looks to make no sense whatsoever.

it is clear that some previous inquiry was made of the FA as to what was required in order that Clapton and London Bari could play in the Essex Senior League this season, 2017/18.  The FA spelt it out unequivocally in their email:-
  1. That the Club (Clapton) presents an acceptable ground share agreement or;
  2. That the Club produces written confirmation from the liquidator (or their solicitors) stating that tenure is in place for the 2017/18 season.
If Mrs Dorling, the ESL Secretary, was already aware of any existing agreement for Clapton at this time, otherwise, why ask the FA for guidance?

Equally, why did Mrs Dorling write to the Liquidator's solicitors asking for permission to play at the ground in May 2017?

Even more confusing is why Vince McBean write to his opponent's solicitors in the liquidation case, asking for that they consent to the lifting of the injunction just a week before the AGM when, if the documents is genuine, must have had the agreement in his possession all the time?

What we do know is that the injunction was not lifted and the Liquidator is prevented from granting any such permission.

It is therefore curious, and verging on ridiculous, that just before the AGM, that an acceptable agreement is put forward so as to allow McBean team to play at the ground, and is then accepted by the clubs. 

A further issue is whether the clubs, who are consistently being disciplined, and fined, for various misdemeanours by the League, have any real control, influence or say in the way the competition is being run.  I accept that there is a League Management Committee and that they are made up of representatives from some of those clubs, but what influence do they actually have?  For example, did any of the League Management Committee actually see the document prior to the announcement or did they just go along with what they were told by the Officers?

One also wonders if, any of the League Management Committee (or the clubs), had been aware of the correspondence prior the sudden emergence of the 'November 2016 agreement'.  If not, would they not have thought that the sequence of events the emails are somewhat inconsistent with the acceptance of the newly produced agreement?

As to whether the agreement of November 2016 is genuine or, in fact, complies with the requirements of the FA, as set out in their email to the League, is another matter that requires addressing but could have consequences for those who were active or passive in it being accepted.

If the OSD agreement is void, and has been submitted with the intention, or is calculated,  to deceive,  then all the insurance cover that relate to the Old Spotted Dog Ground during any event which is purported to have been covered by that agreement are also void.

Whilst we cannot expect the league or its officers to share everything with supporters, we can expect the League to share such information with members of its own League Management Committee who represent the member clubs.

When, and I think it is becoming a matter of time, the whole McBean and Old Spotted Dog affair, including the submission and acceptance of this agreement, is examined by the Lawyers, the Courts or whoever, this course of events will have to be explained.

Furthermore, experience tells me that if Vince McBean runs to form, he will make himself scarce when it all falls around his ears.  We know that did this in the Knights Charity case and, as we older Clapton supporters will recall, he took himself off to Ghana in the mid 2000s, when there were huge unpaid bills to pay at Clapton, leaving the mess for others to clear up.

The next Management Committee meeting of the Essex Senior League is on Thursday 18 January 2018, and, if any of the representatives were not made aware of any of the above, I wonder who, if anyone, has the courage to speak up.

I note from the aforementioned Old Spotted Dog blog that they say that there is apparently more to come.  Somehow, I don't doubt that.

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