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FCUM: 101 damnations

Submitted by on April 19, 2016 – 8:49 amNo Comment


From Red Issue’s tweetlonger:

Echoing Coolmore’s “99 Questions” to the MUFC Plc board in 2004, FC fans have compiled a similar number of questions of the club’s Board, aimed at getting to the heart of the corruption, nepotism and cronyism that is threatening to destroy the club.

These questions are aimed at getting to the heart of the corruption of FC United’s founding principles. Most of them have been legitimately asked of FC United Board members in recent months on the club’s official forum set up for that very purpose. However, most Board members refuse to answer, knowing full well that they’ve allowed and overseen the corruption of the club by the Brown-Walsh-Walker cabal and that they have no defence.

Instead they cite imaginary “bullying”, “abuse” and “threats” as reasons for them withdrawing from the democratic processes of which – in other environments – they are happy to pretend the club is an exemplar. Yet the majority of this self-serving Board know full well that if they were to answer these questions with any degree of honesty it would naturally lead to calls for their immediate resignation. Hence the silence…

1. Why was Adam Brown allowed to use the club’s database to send a resignation email to the entire membership? Why did he resign just days before he was due to face a vote of no confidence? How much is his company being paid (in the past and at present) by Supporters Direct for research into FC United? Why was his resignation not announced on the club#s website? Are there any other Board members who share his stated belief that members making use of the club’s democratic structures is harming the club? If Brown has been libelled – as he claimed – why has he at no time sued for defamation or, at the very least, pointed out what lies have been told about him? Who is waging “personal attacks” and “a hate campaign” against any club officials? Where is the evidence of this? Are the claims true that this statement was simply intended to influence the membership ahead of important votes on the club’s governance on Sunday?

2. How many of the 30 recommendations made by the club’s Operations Review of FC United’s organisational structure have been implemented since September 2014?

3. How much did this review cost the club’s member-owners? Is it true it was well over £5000?

4. Could someone from the board confirm or deny that David Conn was contacted by any representatives – be they Board members, contractors or employees – of FCUM ahead of the publication of the recent Guardian article?

5. If he was contacted, could you also confirm or deny whether he was asked to use any influence with Danny Taylor in an attempt to stop the article from being published.

6. Given that the club was led to believe Taylor’s article was going to be in that Thursday’s edition of the Guardian why did officials not provide the paper with a response from Andy Walsh to allegations that had been put to him until about 830pm on the Wednesday night?

7. At November’s AGM the Board told the membership that it was recommending they vote against the Members Vote to disclose the cost-benefit criteria on which the role of a fundraiser had been created because that information was already available to members. Why, then, did the Board then have to wait almost four months to themselves get the requisite information from Andy Walsh once the vote had passed?

8. Re the Power to Change bid for grant funding – if this is not successful do we have a contingency in place for improving the space sufficiently for the SAG to allow us to use it next season?

9. Regarding the appointment of the new General Manager – who will be involved in drawing up the job specification?

10. Where and how does the club intend to advertise this role?

11. What format the interview process will take?

12. Who will be responsible for interviewing candidates and deciding upon the successful candidate?

13. Has anybody already been identified as a potential candidate?

14. Does the board have any external candidates in mind to approach or will this simply be an open advertisement?

15. Why do we have a Communications Manager who is barred from communicating with the Members?

16. Why is the profit being made from the club’s Membership scheme described as “Fundraising” when the membership fee is supposed to be cost neutral?

17. Seeing as a Business Development manager was appointed in early 2014 in anticipation of the move to Broadhurst Park why did it take two years to get notification of basic function room hire costs advertised on the club website?

18. At what point did it become apparent to the Board that the club would not achieve its budget targets income for the function room facilities for 2015/16? What has been done to correct this?

19. What relevant experience did Dave Payne have before becoming the Project Manager for building Broadhurst Park? Why has Payne’s contracted been extended for up to 20 months after the original completion date of the ground – does this not represent rewards for failure? Is he employed solely because of his previous career in the Council’s planning department?

20. How did Paul Smith and The Sports Business come to be employed to conduct the club’s Operations Review in 2014? Did Smith’s friendship/association with Payne have any bearing on his appointment, given that there was no formal interview for the role?

21. Has Phil Frampton’s contracted role at the club ever been put out to tender? Is it just a coincidence that he is an old associate of Andy Walsh?

22. Was Robin Pye’s role at the club put out to tender before his employment began? Is it just a coincidence that he is a long-standing friend of Andy Walsh?

23. How did Dominic Sagar come to be the architect on Broadhurst Park? Is it just a coincidence that he is a long-standing friend of Andy Walsh?

24. How did Richard Gilling come to be awarded a £3000 contract to “train club staff”? Is it just a coincidence that he plays golf with Andy Walsh?

25. Has Board member Adam Brown or his company Substance ever received any payment in relation to any work carried out on behalf of, or research into, FC United?

26. Why has the club failed to provide firm leadership through a Chairman of the board, standard practice for good governance and adopted by the vast majority of reputable organisations?

27. Why was the club used for a party political backdrop for a Tory Minister for the failed “Big Society” when Adam Brown had previously trumpeted the Board’s own policy on not allowing the club to be used for political purposes?

28. Why has the club taken on so much debt when the Glazers’ debt was one of the reasons for the club’s formation in 2005?

29. Have ACAS recently been involved in discussions within the club to amend employees’ working hours?

30. Why are reasonable requests for information from Members constantly ignored by the club board?

31. Can any board member provide the number of incidents of bullying/harassment/threats to board members, staff or fellow members that they claim there have been?

32. Why are criticisms of the manager and players on websites not similarly construed as “bullying” when these are also effectively ‘employees’ to whom the Club owes a supposed duty of care?

33. When will the full legal advice that led to the decision to offer a role to Dave Boyle be made available to the owners of FC United?

34. How was it determined that only the members’ forum and TSIO forum should be investigated?

35. How was it determined that nine months’ worth of posts on the members’ forum and TSIO should be investigated?

36. How was the sum of £900 calculated and agreed on as payment to the chosen investigator?

37. What would the board have done had evidence of abusive posts against FC United employees been found on the official members’ forum?

38. What would the board have done had evidence of abusive posts against FC United employees been found on third-party websites?

39. Which FC United employees were deemed to be the target of abusive posts, before the investigation was commissioned?

40. Why wasn’t the role of investigator put out to tender?

41. Who decided that Dave Boyle should be appointed to investigate, and by what process?

42. What qualified Dave Boyle to be considered and chosen to investigate the owners of FC United?

43. What is the evidence that there was a threat made against Dave Boyle?

44. Boyle claimed he reported this “threat” to police, but the police have had no such report. Why is this?

45. Why was an e-mail re the Dave Boyle affair sent to all Members purporting to come from “the Board” when it did not represent the views of the entire Board?

46. Why is there not a Board member “responsible” for Finance, with responsibility instead delegated to an unelected Finance Committee?

47. Given the loss of goodwill from many supporters, is there any risk that the club will fail to meet its financial obligations in 2016/17? If so what will be the impact of this with regard to the club’s creditors?

48. How many candidates were there for the Fundraiser temporary job in December 2014? Was it just a coincidence that the successful candidate was a long term associate of Andy Walsh?

49. Were satisfactory references for applicants sought and received?

50. Why was this not let as a PAYE role?

51. Why was the job not advertised in the Job Centre closest to Broadhurst Park?

52. Why did Andy Walker resign from his previous job before the Closing Date?

53. Why was he already claiming on Twitter to be working for the club even before the interview date?

54. Who extended for all the relevant periods from March 2015 to the present, given that the only time this is mentioned in the Board meeting minutes was an extension from April 2015 to the end of May 2015? If the Board did this why was it not similarly recorded?

55. Is Andy Walker a paid employee of FC United or an outside contractor?

56. What is Andy Walker’s official title at FC United?

57. If Andy Walker is not a paid employee of FC United, what is the length of the current contract awarded for Andy Walker to supply services to FC United?

58. What is the manner in which his remuneration is calculated?

59. What is the amount that is being paid to him?

60. If Andy Walker is not a paid employee of FC United, what is the termination period of the contract?

61. What is the profitability of off-pitch income generation compared with previous periods when volunteers were used?

62. Which specific fundraising initiatives has Andy Walker developed and implemented? How much income has each brought to the club?

63. Why has abuse of staff by two members of the public been used to justify the imposition of a Code of Conduct on members of the club?

64. Why have Resolutions from November’s AGM not been implemented?

65. Why was the Code of Conduct represented as a Members Resolution when it had been put forward by the Board? Where in the club’s rules does it allow the Board to submit votes after the cut-off date available to ordinary members?

66. Why was the General Manager allowed to mislead Members at November’s AGM by implying that the club’s founder John-Paul O’Neill had issued threats against club staff, hence the blocking of his membership?

67. Why is any criticism of senior employees or the Board classed as “bullying and harassment”?

68. What were the specific incidents of threats being reported to the Police, as referred to by Board member Michael Sherrard?

69. What were the outcomes of those incidents supposedly being reported to the Police?

70. Regarding the recent complaints against Andy Walsh: do you think the investigation was conduction thoroughly enough? If so please give your reasoning.

71. Were you satisfied that the outcome of investigation? If so please give your reasoning.

72. Do you think the report should be made available to the owners? If not can you please give your reasoning.

73. Why have previous complaints been published whereas the complaint by JP O’Neill against Andy Walsh was not?

74. How did the Board determine who should investigate him?

75. Why did the club refuse John-Paul O’Neill’s Membership application, and what is the evidence for this position?

76. How would you rate the current level of communications and trust between the Board and Owners? What plans do you have to ensure this is at the best possible level?

77. What do you feel is the appropriate time response for Board members to respond to reasonable and polite questions posted on the members’ forum?

78. We now have a club employee/contractor (Andy Walker) using a club medium to describe other members as “Thugs”. Does the Board believe this is appropriate?

79. When did Andy Walker’s fundraising and communication role broaden into writing club staff/contractor contracts?

80. Why was the Finance Committee’s concern about Andy Walker in the Autumn not investigated by the Board?

81. Does Walker actually have any prior experience of drawing up contracts?

82. On whose authority did Andy Walker write the email to Peter Thwaites that has been reproduced on FC Utd forums?

83. After Peter Thwaites didn’t offer him the advice he was after on drawing up confidentiality clauses for club staff/contractors, did he seek similar advice anywhere else? Have we paid someone else for this advice as well now if he has?

84. When Andy Walker mentioned in his email to Thwaites that he just “wanted to protect ourselves” who is the “ourselves” he’s referring to?

85. Why is Andy Walker’s e-mail to Peter Thwaites regarded as confidential by the club and why did they remove it from the official forum?

86. Why has Andy Walker failed to stage the last two planned Gala Dinners when previous ventures run by volunteers had proved so popular?

87. Who objected to George Hayden’s forum post questioning Andy Walker’s position?

88. Why is someone “having an agenda” that is different to the Board’s seen to be somehow anti-democratic?

89. Was Andy Walsh at the recent March Trafford Branch meeting and did he vote on the motion that was passed? Who counted the votes?

90. When will the full legal advice that the Board has used to justify their internet investigation be shared with the Membership?

91. For a club which is supposed to be doing things differently, why is the main thrust of its Community programme – taking on apprentices – something every other club does with dubious value?

92. Why were allegations that Andy Walsh took home £25,000 of club takings “for safekeeping” not investigated by the Board?

93. What are the ‘terms of contracts’ for our contractors and how do we go about the tender processes?

94. What is the update on the Companies House overdue Annual Return? Can someone please confirm whether the amended articles as voted by the members last April have been filed and if not when will they be?

95. At what stage will we have an operational issue with being able to safely stage a game due to lack of volunteers? How far are we from that point?

96. Is this an acknowledged risk for the club and what is being done to either increase volunteer levels or budget for paid staff to fill the gaps should the shortage worsen?

97. What is the latest on Members Vote 13 from the November AGM? Will the membership be listened to and an appropriate alternative Press and Communications Officer be found? Or will the position be scrapped and shared out among willing volunteers? Or perhaps a different outcome?

98. Given the possible impact of the Operations Review Report (September Board Minutes) on some of our members and/or club structure do the FC Board have any plans to have this report made available to our membership?

99. Can the board please confirm or deny that the United-hating Ged Coyne who left his job at Manchester City on account of “online hatred” of United fans is an acquaintance of Karl Marginson? Did that play any part in him getting a job on the groundstaff? How many other candidates were interviewed for the role?

100. In December Michael Sherrard falsely claimed to the membership that “threats of violence” against club staff had been reported to the police. GMP have no record of any such reports from the club. Did anybody involved with the statement believe it to be true at point of issue?

101. Who was responsible for the assertion that threats had been reported to the police?

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