(Thursday 22nd April 2004)
Accounts 2003 Wycombe Wanderers' Board of Directors will meet on Thursday 22nd April 2004 to hear a presentation from their professional advisors of the proposed new constitution for the Football Club. Accountants Baker Tilley have been working with the Club since the turn of the year and have constructed the draft constitution following detailed discussions with Board members plus consulatative meetings with Club Members and Loan Note holders. Wanderers' Financial Director Rod Tomlin described the new constitution as being "of a pioneering nature because it links together the views of the Government, the findings of the recent Independent Football Commission review and also the FA and The Football League."
Baker Tilley, who have worked with Football League Clubs including Chesterfield, Gillingham, Portsmouth, Leicester City and most recently Luton Town, are understood to have been enthusiastic in including reference to a Supporters Trust in the new company. Wanderers supporters recently voted in favour of the formation of Trust, although concern was raised that its formation was being used as a tool to soften up the process of change. Rod Tomlin commented on this point at the Supporters Trust Open Meeting just three days before the crucial Board meeting, saying "I know it is interlinked with a creation of Supporters Trust. That doesn't mean to say that a Supporters Trust is a necessary ingredient but we are assuming it will probably happen."
The public funded 'Supporters Direct' organisation behind the setting up of Supporters' Trusts will assist Wanderers supporters in the creation of the Trust but they have also called for the existing constitution to be retained alongside this. Dave Boyle, Acting Manager of Supporters Direct, told Chairboys on the Net "Fans across the country are working with Supporters Direct to get more influence in their clubs. Trusts are one member, one vote structures, like Wycombe Wanderers Football Club. The key issue isn't the money but how to democratise the club." Boyle doesn't agree that the current constitution is holding Wanderers back, adding "The club's structure is argued to be limiting it and working against it. Yet its a structure that took you from the non-league to the FA Cup semi-final, so it can work."
Members wait with interest to hear more details of the proposed constitution that is expected to be given the thumbs up by the Board at their meeting on 22nd April. This would lead to another series of members' meetings being notified shortly afterwards. These would be scheduled to take place in the second half of May where the proposals will be presented and discussed by members before an EGM is called to vote on the adoption of a finalised version. Commenting on the likely nature of these meetings, Rod Tomlin added "They will cover aspects such as the protection of our heritage at Wycombe Wanderers and it will also explain how a new company will run the business along lines that will avoid money being poured in and sucked down the drain in continuing trading losses."
However, members have concerns that scrapping the Limited by Guarantee constitution will leave the Club open to a potential takeover threat, asset stripping and working in the interest of just a few major shareholders. Dave Boyle also adds "There are more ways to raise money than just shares. Those are fine for normal companies. but football clubs aren't investments, and they're not like other companies. In general, the drive to share issues and public offerings hasn't been good for the game. You never know how much a share issue will raise, but you can be sure it'll cost a small fortune in advisers and lawyers."
If Wanderers' Board plans go the predicted timescale, then an EGM is most likely to be called for in July. 75% of the members who attend the EGM would need to vote in favour of the changes for the new constitution to be adopted.

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