Bryan Jackson on the Messageboard
Feature by Firparkcorner
Updated Sunday, 14th December 2003
Bryan Jackson, FirParkCorner Q&A
Throughout the administration process Bryan Jackson has always made himself available to fans in an attempt to answer questions and ease their fears. This excellent PR continued on the night of Tuesday 28th October when Bryan devoted over two hours of his time to answer questions posed to him on the FirParkCorner.com messageboard. Thanks are also owed to Alison, Bryan's assistant, who also gave up her time. These are only a few of the questions Bryan answered on the night.
How much debt will the club be left with once it comes out of administration?
Once the club comes out of administration, it should not be left with any historical debt although there are some complex issues depending on the finally agreed proposals with the creditors.
Have you managed to get all the figures required to make an offer to the creditors? Also are you getting positive responses from the various creditors, i.e.: are they happy to sit down and settle on a deal amicable to both Motherwell Football Club and themselves?
We now have most of the figures required to enable us to put a proposal to the creditors although we are still waiting for some documentation from three of the ex players.
Generally, we have verbally received positive responses from creditors with regard to the prospect of accepting a proposed dividend. I have tried to make the point that I can only pay out what I have and I believe that the message is now being understood.
How confident are you that we will find a new owner when we come out of administration and what happens if no-one comes forward within a few months? Have there been any recent approaches from interested parties since the news of our coming out of administration?
When I was first appointed, I naively thought that a club of Motherwell's history and standing would have attracted a buyer. Unfortunately this did not happen which was probably more a reflection of the state of the football industry than anything else.
Once the club is out of administration then it should be more attractive to a new owner although past history does not make me feel over confident.
However, if no-one comes forward within a few months, the present ownership of the club will simply continue.
Since the news was released that the club would be coming out of administration, disappointingly there have been no approaches from interested parties but hopefully there will be some positive development when the club does eventually come out of administration.
What are your personal thoughts and vision for the future of our club, say in maybe 5 to 10 years. Where do you see us standing as part of the Scottish game in general and as a club as a whole ?
I believe that the trend of playing young Scottish players will continue not just at MFC but throughout the SPL for the foreseeable future. If this is the case, I would hope this will benefit the Scottish game and the industry in general, as well as the National squad.
We could be modest and say that MFC have led the way with a successful youth policy, although this may have been partly enforced on us through circumstances. Assuming we can maintain this, I would certainly hope that MFC will continue to be very well placed to compete in the SPL, at the upper end of course.
When you leave MFC for good and say another SPL club had the unfortunate circumstances that MFC had and you took control of that club’s administration, what guaranties can you give that you will not use your knowledge of MFC's finances and contracts against the club. Please forgive me if you think that I am saying you are dishonest, I certainly think you are an honest enough person but I would like to see a "hands off clause" should this ugly scenario ever crop up.
I can assure you that there is no chance of me ever divulging any information that could be detrimental to MFC.
Firstly, apart from my own integrity, I am bound by a code of ethics as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (I know that sounds a bit pompous). Secondly, I have a licence to act as an insolvency practitioner and that licence would be revoked if I ever utilised information, which was confidential to a particular case, in any prejudicial way.
I understand why playing and non playing staff have been reduced in number. But have we not reached a point where the lack of office staff is actually costing money because they are so stretched?
We have reached the stage were we believe that we cannot make any more major cutbacks to both the playing and non playing staff. However, there is a difficult balance to obtain with the present financial constraints but we feel that the number of office staff is now as close as possible to the correct amount. We do not believe we are losing money because the staff are so stretched although we appreciate that we are all now fully occupied.
Is the club suffering financially at the moment, from the lack of games (especially at Fir Park)? What with internationals and postponement etc, when we play Livi on the 22nd November, it will be only the third game at FP in three Months.
Good question. If this had happened last year it would have stretched us cash flow wise.
Firstly however, I would consider that the postponement of the game with Dunfermline was for very positive reasons in that we had 4 players called up for the under 19's National squad, 3 of whom are part of our 1st team squad. I understand that this is a precedent which has never happened before.
I am pleased to say the club is not suffering financially at the moment as the cash flow is fairly positive due to the first payment of money which has been received from the sale of Himself.
Given how well you have turned round the financial situation at FP, how much cash would it take for you to ditch the accountancy and become our general manager?
Ditch the excitement of accountancy and get a real job? Sounds attractive but I don't know if I could take the increase in salary!
Assuming a satisfactory deal can be struck with the creditors, will you have to return to the Court of Session to gain approval to take MFC out of interim administration? If so, when is this likely to be?
The approximate timetable is that I hope to submit a proposal to creditors by late November to be followed by a meeting of creditors mid December.
Assuming creditors approval is obtained, I would hope to petition the Court of Session early next year. If everything goes smoothly, we could hopefully come out of administration February/March.
Is it correct to say that the club pays creditors with money it has raised (ie the McFadden sale) rather than from JB's pocket and with JB having such a big percentage of the debt owed to him the amount offered to creditors is basically non-negotiable since he alone accepting the offer is sufficient?
That is correct and we are hoping, since JB is waiving his rights to a distribution, that a majority of the other creditors will accept the proposal. Theoretically, you are correct in that he could choose to carry the vote.
Do you feel the negative media coverage of the club's situation and comments from people (eg Derek Whyte) without the proper knowledge of the situation has possibly been putting people off from making a bid for Motherwell?
No, I believe that if anyone was genuinely interested in making a bid for the club they would not be put off by such criticism, which is of course unwarranted.
I have always felt that Motherwell FC have failed to properly market themselves and believe that funding can be sought through DVDs of the 1991 Cup Final and other IT revenues.
Are there any such plans on the horizon?
There are a number of schemes presently being looked at and I will pass on your suggestion to the board for consideration.
Would Motherwell still be around if we were relegated? If so, what would the squad have been like?
I believe that we would have just survived but only by slashing costs even further which would have meant obviously a loss of players. We would then probably have been forced to play even younger players and so our costs for jelly babies and smarties would have rocketed.
Many Motherwell fans have a fear that the club will be sold and John Boyle will still retain ownership of Fir Park. Is this a likely possibility?
I am not aware of any plans to separate the club and ground. MFC owns Fir Park at this time although the ground is secured to John Boyle. Apart from the debt covered by the security over the ground, I understand that John Boyle has agreed that the club will have no further debts due to him post administration.
If it was offered would you be interested in the Chief Execuive/Secretary position at Fir Park or does your company contract prevent this?
A real job? That would be interesting! Seriously, I am not contractually prevented from taking a position at Fir Park although there could be practical difficulties depending on the amount of time that might be involved.
In any event, until such time as the club comes out of administration, it would not be possible for me to carry out any other role. At that time, if I was offered a position, I would then be very pleased to give it my consideration.