10th Dec, 2019

Bromsgrove Sporting founder member calls for 'more transparency' between the board and fans after being voted out the club

Craig Gibbons 29th Oct, 2017 Updated: 29th Oct, 2017

ONE of Bromsgrove Sporting FC’s founding fathers has called for more transparency between the club and its fans after being removed from his position on the board of directors.

Rob McLaren, who helped set up the club in 2009 after the demise of Bromsgrove Rovers, will no longer be a director following a secret independent vote among shareholders at Wednesday’s annual general meeting.

A total of 220-204 votes based on shares went against Mr McLaren from retaining his role.

The rest of the shareholders, including the Bromsgrove Sporting Supporters Society, abstained from voting.

However, this was the first time that a vote among shareholders was used to determine the re-election of directors because at the previous seven AGMs it had been done by virtue of a show of hands on mass.

In a statement released by Mr McLaren, the club’s chief safety officer said there had been no official comment or communication between the club, himself and fans following the meeting regarding the reason why he had been voted out and that he would ‘bow down to democracy’ and resign from all his of activities with immediate effect.

The 58-year-old managing director of Bromsgrove-based business 2KM said he had a resignation at the start of October rejected by club chiefs over comments made in an email to fellow director Jeff Rea about the ‘effectiveness’ and ‘communication’ of the board.

He also expressed concerns in the email that further outside investment was needed.

And Mr McLaren believed his attempts to bring in new directors with share investment had ‘engineered’ his removal from the board.

“The person I brought forward had a vast non-league knowledge and knew Paul (Smith – manager) very well,” Mr McLaren told the Standard.

“However, I think he [Mike Burke] saw this as me trying to remove him as chairman but that was not the case because I did it for the good of the club.

“Having someone else investing in the club would have halved the strain on Mike and the gentleman I had spoken to had great ideas to make money in the long term.

“However, nothing came of this and the fans were not even aware of this potential outside investment – there needs to be more transparency.”

Mr McLaren also said that he had been unhappy for a while, mainly because the relationship between the board and manager Mr Smith was ‘fractured’.

He added the situation between the board and Mr Smith showed no signs of improving quickly, hence why he offered to look at bringing more people in to support the current club structure.

“Paul has been the driving force behind the recent success of the club,” said Mr McLaren.

“But during this season I have had to meet him in person to persuade him to stay on as the manager because he felt he was not fully supported by the chairman and the whole board.

“I wish Paul a long and healthy time at the football club and I would like to personally thank him for his efforts, drive, humour, some great football and great footballers.

“My personal hope is that my departure clears the way for the club to unite, focus on the football and continue to see the growth which we have all enjoyed since that heady day in November 2009.”

Mr Smith declined to comment on the relationship between himself and club chiefs but stressed Mr McLaren’s departure had left Bromsgrove Sporting in a ‘worse place’.

In a statement released today (Sunday), chairman Mike Burke thanked Mr McLaren for all the work he had done for the club and hoped he would continue to get behind the team.

“Rob has done an immense amount of work over the last eight years and Bromsgrove Sporting has been the beneficiary of his efforts during that time,” said Mr Burke.

“For myself I am pleased to be re-elected chairman and I would like to thank everybody who has supported and helped me over the last 12 months.

“I now hope we can all unite behind the team and get further success this season.”

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