OxVox Update - 18th December

myles

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We write in regard to Tiger’s notes in last Saturday’s match programme, which were in part his response to our letter to the board dated 28 November 2018. This letter was made public, by OxVox, on 2 December 2018.

Although we are appreciative of those answers that Tiger did give, regarding the recent HMRC petition and the intentions for the January transfer window, together with other positive news regarding the Academy, Under-18s and Under-23s, we remain frustrated not to have received full answers to our questions.

Whilst we have to accept the reasons given for the lack of answers to some of our questions at this moment in time, we would like to highlight the following extract from Tiger:

“There will always be rumours and speculation. I would love to explain why the situation got to that point, and I received a well-worded letter from OxVox asking for exactly that explanation. It is right for fans to ask those questions. I have agonised over what I can say in reply. In time I will be able to answer them all, and I promise I will do, but at the moment there are things that simply cannot be divulged.”

Rather than issue endless ultimatums to the board, we would like members to know that we will continue to press the board for answers and it is the words above that we will remind Tiger of each time we meet or communicate with him, until such time that we feel supporters have the answers they deserve.
 

myles

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To my mind, following a really good letter to Tiger setting out the key areas of concern, this is letting him off the hook. Firstly, the timing is rather odd. With the winding up petition due in court today, would it not have made sense to wait 24 hours to ensure that the petition is in fact dismissed before issuing any statement?

Secondly, the whole HMRC episode should be pretty straightforward and it's difficult to see what "external factors" could possibly be such an issue that it resulted in the winding-up petition being allowed to hit The Gazette. Rather than giving a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders and a "we'll remind him of this later", the unacceptable nature of the response should've been addressed now.

FWIW, I would have said this:

We write in regard to Tiger’s notes in last Saturday’s match programme, which were in part his response to our letter to the board dated 28 November 2018. This letter was made public, by OxVox, on 2 December 2018.

Although we are appreciative of those answers that Tiger did give, regarding the recent HMRC petition and the intentions for the January transfer window, together with other positive news regarding the Academy, Under-18s and Under-23s, we find the failure to answer fundamental questions regarding the club’s ownership and funding to be completely unacceptable.


We are particularly concerned with the lack of explanation given for allowing the situation with HMRC to reach the point of the winding-up petition being published in The Gazette, a situation which could prove disastrous. We are struggling to see what external factors could have prevented the club from paying the demand from HMRC, particularly when it appears that it took the club nearly a month after the winding up petition was issued to pay what was owed. There are two logical explanations for this: either the club did not have the funds available, or the club management did not address the matter with the level of seriousness it deserved. Either option causes concern for us as the Supporters’ Trust. If there is an alternative, legitimate explanation for the situation, the time to explain that is now.

Tiger states in his programme notes that the club is being run in a sustainable manner. We know that, barring good cup runs and/or player sales, the club makes a significant loss each year, so we are left to wonder what has changed to make the club sustainable now. We are sure some transparency around the ownership and funding of the club may help in explaining this.

We have no intention to issue ultimatums to the club. Our primary aim is to work in a constructive partnership with the club, but such a partnership requires an appropriate degree of openness, honesty and trust. Tiger’s response falls short of this and we hope to see more substantive answers given to our questions as a matter of priority.
 

Ox4Eva

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To be honest I was quite disappointed with the OXVOX response. I am not advocating charging Grenoble road screaming 'burn the witch' but there should be a little more pressure.

Things are too cosy with the club hierarchy as far as I am concerned.
 

MarkG

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I suppose one question might be what he means by sustainable. If Tiger means that they can fund reasonable losses each year that's one thing, but it will take a lot of change for the club to turn into one that doesn't require significant cash injections each year.

Another question asked by Oxvox is what do the other directors bring to the table? / what are their roles?
Nuseibah - his investment fund was the one that loaned Reading FC fifteen or 20 million at high interest rates, secured by parachute payments. So that's where the business connection comes from, but I can't see an obvious reason for anyone to loan money to a club that loses money.
Geicke - German born entrepreneur and investor with experience in Vietnam and Hong Hong, also property interests.
Thohir - Indonesian media tycoon who has owned two football clubs, DC United and Inter Milan. So a serious sports fan who perhaps has a vision for OUFC.
and Tiger - Thai "middle man" with connections. Not apparently as independently wealthy as the latter two, but also a sports fan.

Does it sound like a dream team? It could if the tycoons on the board come in as investors with a vision for the club and a stadium and higher level football. If it is a small scale property play, no.
 
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Upthecowboys

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To be honest I was quite disappointed with the OXVOX response. I am not advocating charging Grenoble road screaming 'burn the witch' but there should be a little more pressure.

Things are too cosy with the club hierarchy as far as I am concerned.
Out of interest what do you base your ‘too cosy’ comment on?

I appreciate you say they should apply more pressure, but what do you mean by that?
 

Sarge

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A pity your version was not sent Myles! OxVox need to keep the pressure up on Tiger because I bet he thinks it will all "go away".
I've a similar suspicion 're our owner thinking it will all go away too.
Either he's being badly advised by his spin doctor and Mr I'll get back to you on that McWilliams regarding the frustration n concerns of (some) supporters about failure to communicate anything of substance.

Or cultural differences and outlook equate to his lack of information of any substance on matters which( some )supporters have concerns about regarding OUFC?.

Prolonged avoidance of genuinely engaging with OUFC supporters does the club no favours....with the football on offer attendances for home matches should be much higher than it is and has been of late. Mushroom treatment isn't helping to attract occasionals to attend home games on a more regular basis, the attendance figures speak volumes!
 

LondonRoader

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I suppose one question might be what he means by sustainable. If Tiger means that they can fund reasonable losses each year that's one thing, but it will take a lot of change for the club to turn into one that doesn't require significant cash injections each year.

Another question asked by Oxvox is what do the other directors bring to the table? / what are their roles?
Nuseibah - his investment fund was the one that loaned Reading FC fifteen or 20 million at high interest rates, secured by parachute payments. So that's where the business connection comes from, but I can't see an obvious reason for anyone to loan money to a club that loses money.
Geicke - German born entrepreneur and investor with experience in Vietnam and Hong Hong, also property interests.
Thohir - Indonesian media tycoon who has owned two football clubs, DC United and Inter Milan. So a serious sports fan who perhaps has a vision for OUFC.
and Tiger - Thai "middle man" with connections. Not apparently as independently wealthy as the latter two, but also a sports fan.

Does it sound like a dream team? It could if the tycoons on the board come in as investors with a vision for the club and a stadium and higher level football. If it is a small scale property play, no.
Why would these people of this wealth be interested in a small scale property play?
There must be easier ways of making that type of money?
 

MJB

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I've a similar suspicion 're our owner thinking it will all go away too.
Either he's being badly advised by his spin doctor and Mr I'll get back to you on that McWilliams regarding the frustration n concerns of (some) supporters about failure to communicate anything of substance.

Or cultural differences and outlook equate to his lack of information of any substance on matters which( some )supporters have concerns about regarding OUFC?.

Prolonged avoidance of genuinely engaging with OUFC supporters does the club no favours....with the football on offer attendances for home matches should be much higher than it is and has been of late. Mushroom treatment isn't helping to attract occasionals to attend home games on a more regular basis, the attendance figures speak volumes!
Perhaps Tiger has observed our political masters and therefore believes that UK culture is based on endlessly kicking the can down the road, not taking decisions and generally leaving everyone else without the foggiest what is going on!
 

MarkG

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Why would these people of this wealth be interested in a small scale property play?
There must be easier ways of making that type of money?
Perhaps that's what's causing the cash flow problems. The tycoons aren't interested in a small scale property play.
 

Navegante

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At what stage do we bring pitchforks to Grenoble Road and chant "sack the board"?
 

Mark Sennett

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Completely agree with Myles on this one.

It’s truly worrying the lack of response from OUFC to the key questions there should be nothing to hide. Fans have a right to know who owns their club, why bulls haven’t been paid and what the plan is. The club is an integral part of the community and naturally we all want to be reassured about what is going on. The dismissive answer in the programme notes are yet another reason for alarm bells to ring.

I’m glad oxvox won’t let this lie but as I’ve said to Colin in person and Myles has said above I wouldn’t have quite sent the statement they have. Myles quite rightly says that if answers aren’t coming in private then you need to keep putting the pressure on publicly.

There’s other key issues that need addressing such as did Eales right off the debt as promised? When and how will his charge be removed. And being frank if the new owners aren’t engaging with fans, oxvox or the media about what their plans are or why winding up orders have been arising and who owns the club...then you have to go back to Eales promise to leave us in good hands. He’s still a shareholder and should be questioned about all of these issues too.
 

MarkG

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I think that obsessing over Eales and this promised debt "write-off" is missing the point. Eales / Ensco didn't sell any of their OUFC shares, so unless someone does buy the 10% minority holding, the only way they get all of their investment back is by Tiger / the club repaying the debt owed to him, partly by way of transfer fees due at Feb 2018 and in future. The way he makes a "profit" on OUFC is by Tiger/ the club taking on part of the ported WPL debt.

Or would it have made people happier if he'd written off the debt, but sold the shares for a profit?
 

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