Warriors fans go for the full Monty
Monty Betham is open to bidding for 100 per cent of the Warriors with his fan-backed consortium — even though a significantly smaller share still seems the most likely option.
Betham’s bid, which has started, stopped and then re-emerged over the past seven days, took what he described as a “huge step forward” yesterday.
Betham and his team had an extended meeting yesterday morning with incoming Warriors chief executive Cameron George, executive chairman Jim Doyle and Don Stanway, who is Eric Watson’s legal counsel in New Zealand.
“It was very positive and a huge step forward,” Betham told the Herald on Sunday. “It was a very good discussion and a lot of ground was covered. They are willing to work with us to see what might be possible and I was impressed with how genuine they were about it all.”
While it has been assumed that Betham’s group could purchase 20 or 30 per cent of the Warriors — which would equate to seats on the board and a say in how the club is run but not a controlling interest — that might not be the limit.
“I think they are open to anything and we are too,” said Betham. “If we can get the funding in place for 100 per cent ownership . . . then let’s see. Or it might be 80 or 90 per cent, just depends how things progress. I’m thrilled to be leading this and we may not get this opportunity again.”
The next step is two fold; Betham and his team, who he describes as three “successful businessmen in their fields”, will go through the books and complete a due diligence process, but they will also have to finalise their governance and structure to even be considered by the NRL.
“We have a lot to do to allow us to make some informed decisions,” said Betham, who said the next meeting with the Warriors senior management would happen soon.
“We have to work quickly and efficiently but also thoroughly to make sure we put together the best possible proposal,” added Betham who feels there is a “genuine chance” his ambitious plans could come to fruition.
However, there are many unanswered questions. What is the minimum that fans would contribute? Would they be entitled to dividends? Would there be an expectation of further payments? Who would represent the fans on the board, and how would the supporters have their say? Who ultimately would make the crucial governance and strategic decisions? And would passionate fans be satisfied with the behind-the-scenes realities of ownership? Time will tell, but answers need to come.