Tony Hale's first letter to Shareholders

Tony Hale outlines his plans for the future of WBA if he is retained as Chairman at the EGM

URO Automotive
c/o Unit 21
Fort Industrial Park
Dunlop Way
B35 7AR

June 22nd, 1999

Dear Shareholder

I have just returned home following a brief break abroad and have now had the opportunity to read the correspondence sent by Messrs Hurst and Thompson and further, newspaper comments relative to the forthcoming Extraordinary General Meeting.

Apart from the scurrilous letter dated 15 June 1999 by Mr Thompson, I find all of it totally indicative of their campaign so far which basically tends to distort and misrepresent circumstances without any thought or word forthcoming on the mysterious three year plan so frequently referred to, but not revealed.

Also, it is quite disgraceful to apportion blame on discussions taken in good faith when arrived at by the democratic process and which could have been prevented, if so desired, by opposition in the Boardroom at the correct time. It did not happen so because Messrs Thompson, Hurst and Stapleton concurred but now find it convenient to deny having done so - you must ask "why?"

It is not my intention, however, to respond further because it serves no purpose to the debate and I consider it more appropriate and important to tell you how I see the Football Club's progression into the Millenium. I believe there to be four priorities on which the Club must focus to ensure ultimate success to the highest echelon.

  1. The proposed development of a new training facility and accomodation block at the Great Barr site must be completed as soon as practical. The provision of new pitches of both grass and artificial surfaces will be a great morale booster for players and management alike, apart from being an absolute necessity to enable the Club to achieve the prestigious accolade of Academy status, required to continue the development and retention of youth - so important in the future stragey of the Club. The overall cost is likely to exceed £4 million of which half will be recovered by the agreed sale of unwanted land for building development. The wooded area and lake on the southern end of the site will be either sold or franchised to raise additional (as yet undetermined) funds, whilst grant aid will also be pursued vigorously. It is then anticipated that final completion would be possible from generated funds within two years from start date. Of course, limited use of the site on completion of individual pitches will permit players training much earlier.

  2. The strengthening of the team is to be pursued as and where possible from:

    i)   the promotion of successful players resulting from the Club's youth policy
    ii)  obtaining the services of out-of-contract players from other clubs - permissible by the Bosman ruling
    iii) obtaining the services of suitable contracted players by means of transfer fees, where funds permit

    An improved assessment system of players available within the market, and recorded on an approved data base, is to be introduced and so minimise the unavoidable risks when signing new staff.

    When funds are raised from players' sales the Board will give first priority on them to strengthening of the playing squad.

  3. The improvement of facilities by demolishing the Rainbow Stand and replacing it with one more compatible with Premiership status. It would incorporate better seating, corporate entertainment suites, new executive boxes, banqueting areas for both in-house and contracted functions, plus provision of floor level premises for possible franchising. Parking space adjacent to the site is plentiful and necessary for the satisfactory operation of the proposed development.

    It has been determined that the cost for the project would be within the parameters of £8 million - £9 million - an amount presently prohibitive - so I would propose that the project when erected be in stages over an extended period, similar to the manner employed by Sheffield Wednesday. The total cash requirement would be obtained by:

    i)   receipts from a share issue - yet to be determined
    ii)  the sale of additional Premier Shares and provision of superior seating
    iii) revenue from corporate facilities and banqueting area
    iv)  by extended bank funding as considered prudent

  4. The introduction of suitable experienced personnel to join the Board of West Bromwich Albion Plc to provide expertise and investment is also a major priority and I am able to advise you that I am in contact with two such persons who will substantiate their interest, provided the resolution of the EGM on 8 July is defeated. In addition, further sums will be made available by existing Directors by way of a shares issue whan a final figure is determined.

In conclusion, I wish to thank you for the support that you have given me over the past five years and hope that you will continue to afford me your confidence in the future to ensure that the institution of West Bromwich Albion remains in safe hands.

I have now arranged a special evening at the Belfry Hotel, Wishaw, North Warwickshire, B76 9PR next Tuesday evening, 29 June, commencing at 7.30 pm for us to meet and discuss issues of mutual interest. Your method of entry will be possession of this letter.

I look forward to seeing you


Tony Hale

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