Former Town general manager says he did not resign board role (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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SWINDON TOWN: Former Town general manager says he did not resign board role
STEVE Murrall has claimed that he did not resign his position on the board of Swindon Town following his departure as general manager in October.
In an exclusive interview with the Advertiser, Murrall - one of the original members of Jed McCrory’s Seebeck 87 Ltd consortium which took over the club in February - suggests he was pressured out of his day-to-day role at the County Ground earlier than planned and stripped of his directorship without due process.
Murrall’s exit from the club, which occurred on October 25 but was not made official until October 31 and remained unconfirmed by the club until November 7, was billed as giving the former GM the chance to work on personal projects - but Murrall has now stressed he was not made aware of the full extent of his departure.
“I walked away from my job as general manager because pressure was put on me to do so,” he said. “I was going to leave at Christmas anyway but pressure was put on me (to leave) earlier, which I did, but at no stage did I agree to resign from the board.
“I was quite surprised to see that I was no longer a board member.
“I was put under pressure to resign as general manager, which I did, and I tried to do it in a dignified and nice way. However, all of a sudden I was not on the board either and I did not resign from the board.
“To resign from the board you’d need a board meeting and a resolution from the board, or they’d have had to have had my resignation in writing. No one has ever had my resignation in writing.
“I’ll admit that I did walk away from the general manager’s job under pressure to do so even though I’d agreed in principle to work until the end of the year.”
The events of last Friday, during which a club statement stating Lee Power had assumed control of Town’s majority shareholding was later retracted amongst claim and counter-claim, have left many fans wondering what really is going on behind closed doors at the County Ground.
Murrall disputes some of the figures stated in the statement, which claimed Power had invested £1.2million to lift the club out of embargo in March and a further £1million since.
“The initial £1.2million was a loan to Jed that he put into the club and was paid back within 10 days to where it came from. There is definitely nowhere near £1million gone into the club up until the end of October. There was circa £500,000 that had gone in,” he said.
“That’s not a small figure by any stretch but nowhere near the figures that are being claimed.
“I can’t believe there has been another half a million put in in the last month, but the £1.2million was paid back anyway. From my understanding that was a loan to Jed that was then paid back by Jed.
“I think it’s important to remember that when we got there there wasn’t tons of cash lying around, we didn’t start selling season tickets until March. Everything up until the end of May is covered by the audit anyway.
“I’m out of the loop now. I can only talk about up until October 24 when I walked away as general manager.”
Murrall also mentioned a personal “list of concerns” which he has sent via email to chairman McCrory, though he would not be drawn to comment on its contents.
“I’ve also pointed out to Jed a few issues that came to my attention as general manager,” he said.
“I hadn’t brought them up with Jed beforehand purely because I was concerned about Jed. I knew he had some health issues so I was a little concerned about bringing them up. However, I have detailed those to Jed since my departure as general manager.
“I would expect he’d want to look at those until he made any further changes to the way things are.
“Unless the facts are actually known and the truth is known then there are a lot of theories and conspiracy theories going on that really don’t add up.”
Murrall responded to suggestions a number of major and minor creditors have gone unpaid in recent months by saying: “Back in June and July we did have payment plans with quite a number of people. I haven’t been there for five or six weeks and I wouldn’t be able to comment on whether people are being paid at this moment in time.
“There were a lot of people chasing for money back in October so I’d like to think those people now have some kind of payment plan or are being paid.
“That would surely be part of the investments that need to be made - it’s not just about paying the wages it’s about paying the commitments as well.
“They had payment plans when I was general manager, whether those payment plans are being kept to I can’t comment on but if people aren’t being paid it’s obviously down to those people to take it up with the club.”
Murrall recently posted on an internet forum, claiming he worked 14 hours a day, seven days a week in an effort to push Swindon towards sustainability during his six months on the board.
Now, however, he feels the club is making backwards steps.
“Regardless of what people think and what people say and what comments are made, I and Jed and everybody who’s been there - including Lee - have put a lot of work in to get the club to where it was,” he said.
“I feel as though it has gone backwards over the last six weeks. I know the football’s not too bad but from where we were, when we walked into a club losing an awful lot of money a month, we worked very hard to get it right.
“Me, the team there, the team that are still there - it’s not fair on them, it’s not fair that there is this uncertainty. I think it’s important that we have some clarity on what’s what and people understand it.”
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