Leamington board receives firm support for Cadden sacking
The Leamington board has received overwhelming support from shareholders following a meeting to discuss their handling of Jason Cadden's dismissal.
The extraordinary general meeting of Leamington Football Club Limited was called for the New Windmill after 19 shareholders demanded answers to five 'key' questions regarding the departure of Cadden in October and the subsequent direction of the club.
And, after what the board described as a "lengthy and open debate", the meeting concluded with a vote in support of the board after they placed a resolution on the matter before shareholders.
Of the votes cast, 18,478 believed that the board had fulfilled their responsibilities to promote the success of the company, with 4,588 against.
However, former chairman David Hucker, who was one of 19 shareholders who instigated the meeting, played down the importance of the vote.
Hucker, who was Brakes chairman in the 2007-08 season, also accused the board of being "vindictive and nasty", with claims that he and major shareholder Adrian Barton were subjected to personal attacks by Scott and fellow board member Nigel Hodgkins, something Scott denies.
"The vote was not important," said Hucker.
"The aim was to hold the board to account. We knew it was always going to be an uphill struggle, especially when the board had been so reluctant to give answers previously.
"There were some positives to take out of the chairman's guarded answers to our questions. The negativity surrounded the treatment that Adrian and I received from the board. Although only one other director spoke, it would not be unreasonable to assume that all six endorsed the views expressed.
"We were just two long-standing supporters representing a group of small shareholders seeking answers to five simple questions on what was probably the most significant decision taken by the board in the last nine years.
"In the absence of any initiative by the board to resolve matters by other means, we were entitled to call the meeting as the law permits. As such, the chairman's role should have been to ensure a fair and impartial debate throughout, instead of which he launched into a tirade of half-truths and innuendo just before calling for a vote that had been forced upon us by the board and which served no useful purpose."
He added: "There has been a presumption that the calling of a meeting was motivated by revenge, but it's just not me.
"I was accused of using Jason's dismissal to meet my own ends and there's no basis in that. It was done in the interests of the club. The personal comments were just vindictive and nasty."
Barton, who has been a key figure behind the scenes at the New Windmill since the club's reformation, did not go quite as far but admitted the conclusion of the meeting left a sour taste.
"What was surprising was that the meeting started off with the chairman saying that it should be constructive and not personal and the shareholders respected that," he said.
"However, some of the things that were said were unfair and unnecessary. Various subjects that were brought up had no relevance to the meeting and were uncalled for. I could have replied but felt it was not the place and wasn't going to rise and take the bait."
Barton defended the right of the 19 shareholders to call the meeting and felt that even though many of those present did not share his views, the open forum at least helped shed further light on the process that led to Cadden's sacking.
"Occasionally as a major shareholder you have to voice your opinions. I felt the board needed to realise the strength of feeling in town about how the matter was handled, which was atrocious - the PR was all wrong from the start.
"A phone call to any one of the 19 and it could have been avoided. The club chose to ignore that line, but everybody to some degree was interested in the discussion into the hows and whys of Jason's sacking and the reasoning behind it.
"However, we still don't really know why Jason had to leave, the board just hid behind employment law."
There had been hope that the appointment of manager Paul Holleran and his coaching team and a subsequent upturn in form would put to and end a turbulent few months at the New Windmill.
However, Hucker believes that the implications of the sacking may be more far reaching.
"Jim has driven a wedge between supporters, many of who have been there a lot longer than me. It's a sad state of affairs. There has been a lot of fragmentation and that has happened in the last 18 months.
"We still do not know what was so bad that, after nine years' service, dismissal (of Cadden] was the only course of action open to the board.
"I went away from the ground feeling sad, knowing that I won't be able to go back. However, I have other activities that I can pursue and will watch from afar how the future of the club unfolds."
Following on from the meeting, Scott took the unusual step of producing a statement referring directly to Hucker's allegations.
The statement read: "The EGM was conducted in a professional manner.
There was no personal agenda. We had a situation in the past week when the ex-chairman David Hucker placed confidential information in the public domain and misrepresented facts in regard to his departure from the club. We merely advised shareholders of the facts.
"Leamington Football Club has always maintained a dignifield silence with regard to events behind the scenes and feel saddened that Mr Hucker has felt fit to spread misinformation with regard to the club since his departure 15 months ago. He clearly feels disenfranchised but we at the club are drawing a line under the matter and are keen to move forward.
"The club has a very positive future and our aim now is for everyone to work together to build upon previous successes both on and off the field of play and strive to continue developing a club that is the pride of the community and one which delivers benefits for the community."
The club plans to formally recognise Cadden's achievements later this season and is set to hold an open meeting in January or February where it will bring supporters up to speed with their plans to redevelop the ground and attain their short to mid-term goal of Conference football.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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