Owners of strife-hit Warriors set to split
SIR Owen Glenn says he was offered just a sixth of his initial investment in the club by fellow co-owner Eric Watson as a split between the multimillionaires seems imminent.
Speaking from Paris last night, Sir Owen confirmed he was considering how to cut his ties with the club.
"I just feel like an outsider to the club," he said. "Why keep money in it if you are not getting anything out of it? I'm not talking about dividends; I've never received a cent."
Sir Owen told RadioSport this morning that Watson offered him $1 million for his 50 percent share in the club, a stake he originally paid $6.15 million for. He also said he's been ostracised from the club for some time.
"I sorta backed off. I didn't bother going to any meetings. They stopped telling when there were meetings anyway and I then said to Eric, 'well this isn't going to work - what's the point'.''
Sir Owen's comments followed a statement in which he blasted the rugby league franchise for its "diabolical" behaviour in passing off the sacking of coach Matthew Elliott as a resignation - a move he said was "dishonourable treatment of an honourable man".
He also said he was unaware Elliott was going to leave the club - something both Watson and the Warriors later disputed.
Sir Owen said it was the lack of progress at the Warriors that he found disappointing.
He said he had talked to Mr Watson about parting company - "if talking is the way to [describe] it; you listen to him most of the time" - but he would not say whether the dispute was set for court.
"I'm not going to comment on any of that. I'm a businessman. I look at all options whatever I do. It's really a question of what is best for the sport and what is best for the both of us."
Mr Watson told Newstalk ZB everyone on the board - including Sir Owen's representative - knew that the club was going to let Elliott go.
Sir Owen's comments came as a shock, he said. "It's caught me completely by surprise, which is not something that makes me very happy."
Mr Watson said a board meeting had taken place within hours of the Warriors' 37-6 thrashing by the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday. "If they'd beaten the Sharks, he [Elliott] would probably still be the coach."
Mr Watson confirmed he and Sir Owen had been in discussions "for some months" about him buying Sir Owen's shareholding.
Sir Owen said that despite his having invested a considerable sum to buy a 50 per cent stake, it remained very much Mr Watson's club.
"The actual running of the club, the day-to-day decision-making on everything, never left Eric's hands. Everyone on the board and the manager [chief executive Wayne Scurrah] did exactly what he said. It wasn't a partnership.
"It's a wonderful club and fans and everything but I think there is something missing in the whole structure ... It is difficult to get into and probe because there is a defensive attitude within the club's administration."
The war of words was triggered by Sir Owen's statement about Elliott's departure, which he said appeared to be a "knee-jerk decision" made "without ratification by the full board".
"Adding insult to injury, there appears to have been an effort to evade accountability for the decision by dressing it up as a voluntary resignation, rather than calling it by its proper name.
"This was clearly designed to convey the impression that Matt Elliott chose not to stay. The Matt Elliott I know is not a quitter."
A Warriors statement said Sir Owen did know of the decision to sack Elliott.
Chairman Bill Wavish said: "I met with Matt on Sunday morning with the full knowledge and unanimous support of the board. This support included Sir Owen's representative on the board, who subsequently told me that Sir Owen was informed."
Mr Wavish said Sir Owen had previously asked not to be contacted directly on decisions as his shareholding was held in trust.
Sir Owen bought into the club in April 2012 through Kea Investments, registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Mr Watson's 50 per cent stake can be traced to Cullen Business Trust, of which he is the sole shareholder.