Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Bernard Halford mystery / boardroom update

It appears that reports of Bernard Halford's demise are much exaggerated. But I'm still puzzled about what's gone on here.

Here is the document that was posted at Companies House, dated Oct 8th, which clearly states that the 67-year-old had his contract terminated on Sep 23rd:

(click on image to enlarge)

However, an announcement on the official site yesterday evening revealed that Halford is to remain in his role as Club Secretary. I'm still trying to find out what brought about this turnaround, though maybe the club should have known better than to mess with a guy dubbed Darth Vader.

The club's official announcement also revealed that Greek shipping tycoon Victor Restis has joined the board. According to the MEN, Restis is a Thaksin nominee and will represent, along with existing director Taweesuk Jack Srisumrid, the 10% stake Thaksin has retained.

Here then is the new board in full:

Khaldoon Al Mubarak

Executive Chairman
Garry Cook

Martin L. Edelman
Simon Pearce
Victor Restis (Thaksin nominee)
Taweesuk Jack Srisumrid (Thaksin nominee)

Another mystery is the role of property lawyer Martin Edelman. In its original story about the boardroom changes published last night, the MEN stated that 'club officials have stressed he (Edelman) is not providing advice on the acquisition of property in and around the Sportcity complex'. That was removed from a re-write of the story this morning, with the paper stating that Edelman was brought in 'for his high powered legal prowess and for his in-depth knowledge of sporting takeovers, having been part of the team that concluded the £1.1billion sale of NFL franchise the Miami Dolphins in February this year'.

A lot has been made of Edelman's involvement in the Miami Dolphins takeover (he was one of 15 lawyers who worked on the deal) but it is important to stress that Edelman is first and foremost a high-powered property lawyer.

In fact, everything about the City takeover shouts 'property deal'. The original spokesman for the takeover, Sulaiman Al-Fahim, is CEO of real estate firm Hydra Properties, while our new chairman has extensive interests in real estate and is a board member of Aldar Developments. Victor Restis is the founder of the Assos Property Group, and represents a recent trend among Greek shipowners to diversify into property, and Thaksin himself has been eager to become a property developer, announcing plans in May to build a new city in Cambodia.

I suppose only time will tell on this one. But it is worth noting that Dubai International Capital's attempt to buy Liverpool last year was based around plans to redevelop Anfield, with The Telegraph revealing that DIC hoped to make an estimated 25% annual return over seven years from its redevelopment.


Mick Travis said...

The answer may be that while Bernard may have been removed from his role as company secretary, he might still be 'The Club's secretary' and so have a day-to-day role ion helping run the organisation whilst being removed from his obligation to attend board meetings/keep minutes/file accounts.
Sounds feasible anyhow.

Mark said...

The company that he's resigned from is the trading company, and there is a parent company called Manchester City Limited (company no 2989498) sat above it. It's possible Bernard is still at the helm there....

Andrew said...

Mick, Mark
I've just checked at Companies House and Halford also resigned as company secretary from Manchester City Limited. So I'm guessing he's just been given a reduced role.

I also noticed that John Wardle's resignation as director of the parent company was announced on Friday. Also, Restis is a director of the parent company and not the football club, while the other new directors are on both boards.

Anonymous said...

maybe bernie should just take a hint and fuck off.

Anonymous said...

Managers and Directors come and go but rarely do Club Secretaries. They know too much about club activities and their jobs are bullet proof. Maybe they wanted to get rid of him, but did an about turn when they saw how many skeletons were stacked up in the cupboard.

Anonymous said...

Good article, well researched. That's all.

Bart said...

Cleary the people on here making disparaging remarks about Bernard have little if any knowledge of what a fine job he has done for many years.It is vital to have a continuity within the higher echelons of the club given the new people now in charge. There is no one better qualified than Bernard to do that.

Mark said...

Thanks Andrew. I think many people don't understand the formal role that a company secretary has within a business, including dealing with returns to government and companies house, through to health and safety and a raft of other technical issues. Clearly the new board have decised that someone else is formally now in charge of these things, but it doesn't stop Bernard from carrying on his duties behind the scenes. He was one of the delegation at the UEFA draw the other day, so if he was about to be pensioned off, they'd be unlikely to wheel him out there would they.

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