It is now six weeks since Mr Roger Conway’s expulsion from the Trust Board of Society, following his breach of rule 82 of the Trust Constitution. In that time we have been unable to hear from the Trust, whilst Mr Conway launched a publicity campaign via the local media, in which he sought to justify his actions.
In normal circumstances Exeweb.com would applaud Mr. Conway for his selfless act of loaning money to the Club, at a time when the only other realistic option was to borrow money from the PFA to cover a shortfall in the Club accounts. A loan which would have seen himself at significant personal risk, financially, as we understand the loan had not been secured.
However, that Mr. Conway deliberately misled some Board of Society members, claiming the loan was from a third party, is not in dispute. Nor is it denied that Mr. Conway received interest on his loan, suggesting it was not an entirely altruistic deed, as Mr. Conway claimed on his website. Of course, this loan kept the wolves from the door for a short period of time, but as Mr. Conway was a member of the Exeter City Club Board, as a representative of the Trust, he must have known that going cap in hand to the PFA would have drawn into question his actions.
That Mr. Conway gave a substantial amount of time, and hard work to the BoS and Club has never been in dispute. Indeed, the official statement on his expulsion from the Board of Society thanked him for it. However, Mr Conway’s time on the Club Board has been synonymous with failure. Since his appointment in 2009 the club has failed to secure any redevelopment, suffered a reduced playing budget for four of the five seasons. Endured relegation once and suffered a lower league position than the season before in four out of the five years. Attendances have fallen for each of the last four seasons. A lack of transparency on stuttering finances has existed and there has been an abject failure to adequately disclose important information, not only to the Board of Society, but to the fan base as a whole. In fact, so badly has the supporter ownership model been managed over the last half a decade at Exeter City, that it’s continuing existence, or ability to own and run the Club, must come into question in the short to medium term. Apathy has been allowed to set in and breed.
Exeweb.com speculates, however, that this is not the end of the story. It is also known that Mr. Conway would have had to relinquish his place on the Board of Society for a period of one year, having served continuously for the last six. This would have led to him vacating his seat on the Club Board. Despite Exeweb’s initial belief that Mr. Conway’s loan was indeed altruistic, we no longer believe this to be the case.
Of course, the reason for rule 82’s existence is to prevent a conflict of interest, and the potential to manipulate Club Board or Board of Society decisions. Mr Conway confessed himself, on his website, that the loan was not renewed because he believed a potential no confidence vote in ex-Club Chairman Edward Chorlton to be imminent.
Sources close to the Club have alleged to us that there may be more to this than meets the eye. The whispers lead us to believe that Mr. Chorlton intended to pursue a campaign to co-opt Mr. Conway directly to the Club board at the natural end of his club tenure, a move that would not have proved popular with the Board of Society. It is suggested that Mr. Chorlton resigned his position, not in response to any possible vote of no confidence, but because of the revelations about Mr. Conway’s loan and expulsion from the Board of Society, and Mr. Chorlton’s failed attempt to maintain Mr. Conway’s seat on the Club board.
86% of Exeweb members that voted in a poll on the Exeweb forum believe that Mr. Conway has been dealt with fairly. We have seen nothing that suggests otherwise.
We’ve asked the Club for a comment, but they are not yet in a position to do so.
Conway expelled by the Trust http://www.exeweb.com/2014/07/10/conway-expelled-from-trust-board/
Conway talks to the Express & Echo http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Fears-St-James-s-Park-redevelopment-plans-Ed/story-21747116-detail/story.html
Conway’s threat of legal action against the Exeter City Trust – http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Exeter-City-Trust-faced-legal-threat-dismissal/story-22706043-detail/story.html
Conway’s own statement after his dismissal – http://www.rogerconway.co.uk/