Berwick Rangers FC is a Public Limited Company (PLC), and is owned by its shareholders, with the day to day running of the Club delegated to the Directors of the company. Historically, the appointment of Directors has been left to other Directors, most often because the largest individual shareholder has dictated the make-up of the Board.
In recent times, and especially since 2009, the movement of shares has led to a situation where the two supporters groups have become the most significant shareholders, and as such, can have real influence in the governance of the Club.
Having respected the established appointment methods for several years, I feel the time is right to actively encourage shareholders to make their voices heard. The forthcoming AGM on 13th February 2017 will see elections to fill places on the Board, and shareholders will be asked to cast votes. Four places are subject to the election process, for different reasons. John Hush, Alan Montgomery and Dougie Watkin will seek re-election or ratification at the AGM, and there is one place currently vacant. (The Board can have a maximum of ten Directors).
I would like to recommend four candidates to the shareholders, as I feel that positive change is required to improve the future fortunes of Berwick Rangers.
John has given many years of service to the Supporter’s Club and is their Honorary President. He has served as a Director for 25 years, and was appointed Honorary President of the Football Club in 2015. John was made the first Honorary Freeman of Berwick upon Tweed in 2011, and is highly regarded locally, providing steadiness and integrity to the Club in good times and bad. I would ask you to fully support John’s continuing presence on the Board. John has seconded the nomination of the three new candidates.
John is a relative newcomer to the Berwick area, having relocated to Berwick after becoming Managing Director of long-term sponsor JB Site Investigations Ltd. In his words:
“I am John Lawrence. Having a degree in Applied Geology from the University of Sunderland (don’t hold that against me!) I have spent that last 25 years working in the Site Investigation industry. In brief this industry drills holes at development sites, tests the recovered samples in laboratories and then designs foundations. This job has seen me work all over the UK and also globally and I have spent time in Wolverhampton, Norwich, West Yorkshire, Malta and Iraq. Having sampled some of the worst and best of the world I now find myself in Berwick…
I am a director of three companies owned by RSK Group Plc, an environmental lead business based in Cheshire. RSK acquired the assets of JB Site Investigation in April 2016 and I have relocated from West Yorkshire in the capacity of JBs Managing Director. JB have had a long and proud relationship with Berwick Rangers over the years which dwindled to a degree following the untimely death of Jeff Burnlees. Whilst RSK are a big UK business (employing in the region of 1500 staff) they have never sponsored or had an association with a professional football club. It was always going to be a tough ask to get support from my parent company to receive backing for a sponsorship request, however I am really pleased that with a bit of gentle persuasion I got the backing in time for our logo to appear on the back of the Berwick shirts in time for the 2016/17 season.
My remit at JB is to plan and drive the business forward. Five years ago it had about 50 people working or subcontracting to it and in December 2015 prior to our acquisition this had dropped to 14 staff. One year on and it now employs 25 people and we will grow it far further in the coming years.
What could I offer Berwick Rangers as a Director? I have a proven track record in growing businesses in terms of revenue and staff numbers. I think I could help develop commercial revenue from the local business community who could and should support the club more. There seems to plenty of room for more advertising in and around the ground and the club’s facilities could be used far more outside of the traditional match day use. As part of my job I sit on three boards, I am used to challenging and questioning issues raised in board rooms for the good of driving forward.”
Ian will be well known to many fans, and has volunteered his expertise in financial management to the betterment of Berwick Rangers
“Berwick born, bred and educated, I am 50 years old and a qualified Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) since 1996. I worked in Finance for 25 years at the Jus-Rol factory until its closure in December.
In that time I also supported Group locations in France, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Greece, Poland, Australia and New Zealand and now work remotely for the company European Head Office.
Started attending Berwick games in 1977 and after becoming a “lapsed” fan returned to games in 2004 and have been a regular ever since. I am also a committee member of the Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust, initially looking after online/social media and since the beginning of 2016 also as Treasurer. I am also a committee member of Spittal Improvement Trust. My interests along with football include music, photography and web design.”
John, from Milfield, has the rather unusual perspective of both supporter and football parent:
“I am a 55 year old tenant farmer on Lord Joicey’s Ford and Etal Estate. My family have farmed here since the 1930s. We are mainly arable farmers with some livestock.
I have been married to Julie for 33 years and we have 2 sons James (29) and Jonathon (27). Apart from our farming business my other main interest is in football. I have always followed the fortunes of Berwick Rangers but more closely so in the last 4 years.
Following the busy harvest period on the farm I follow the 1st team to all home and away games, and I’m an enthusiastic follower of the u20 games at Shielfield. Youth development and opportunities for young players are topics that are close to my heart. In recent years I’ve witnessed how the football club operates and would like to help with this in any way I can. In particular, I may have some expertise that can be applied to the playing surface at Shielfield, to help ground staff provide the best possible pitch.
I have served on the Parish Council in the village for the last 20 years, part of that time as Chairman.”
To be recommending candidates other than existing Directors may be seen as controversial by some. However I strongly feel that Berwick Rangers would greatly benefit from the introduction of new faces, new expertise and new enthusiasm. I also hope that nominations and elections become a regular feature of future AGM’s, and more people will have the confidence to offer their name as a candidate.
Should any supporters wish to ask questions or make comments to me directly, I will be available at the Black and Gold at 12.00 on Saturday 4th February. As the Committees of the Supporters Trust and Supporters Club will likely be discussing their voting arrangements next week, members of those organisations can express their feelings to their respective Chairs.
Berwick Rangers FC