General Watson supposed to inject $6 million into Warriors

warriors4life_old

Guest
From stuff.co.nz

By STEVE KILGALLON

Former New Zealand Rugby League chairman Gerald Ryan says millionaire businessman Eric Watson was given control of the Warriors NRL franchise because it was understood he would make an immediate injection of $6 million into the ailing club.


Ryan was league chairman in 2000 when Watson won a six-strong race to take over the club. He said all six tenders had been asked to commit $6m, because that was his estimation of what the Warriors needed to become successful.

And only Watson had given him the impression he had those funds ready to invest.

Sources suggest Cullen's financial contribution to the club in its six years of majority ownership has actually been around $2m.

And Ryan is among those upset the NZRL is again being asked for financial contributions to the Warriors by Watson's Cullen Sports.

"The club has to have money, we knew that - it was the fault in the first place when they had capital of just $35 (in 1995)," he said.

"I estimated the club needed $6 million ... (Eric Watson) made the statement that they would put their whole resources behind the Warriors.

"It eventually came down to only one person with the money, and that was Watson.

"Once we went to Eric Watson, he did say he would put his whole resources behind it and that finalised it (the choice)."

Ryan has joined three other former NZRL board members in confirming that they handed over the club to Cullen Sports six years ago on the understanding that the league would never have to invest more than $500,000 into the club.

With Ryan joining the fray attacking Cullen's management, the pressure on Cullen to agree a buy out of the NZRL's stake in the club will increase. Ryan said he would advise the current board to immediately divest themselves of their stake - and said back in 2001, one of his final acts as chairman had been to ask Cullen to buy out the club.

Ryan said the Warriors' recurring problem appeared to him to be the club "using tomorrow's money to pay for today".

He said NZRL chairman Selwyn Bennett and CEO Selwyn Pearson "had a duty" to the sport to get rid of their shareholding at once.

Before he quit as chairman in 2001, Ryan said he had tried to get rid of the shareholding after concerns the Warriors were not consulting the NZRL.

Those concerns were made public in the Sunday Star-Times two weeks ago when former NZRL and Warriors directors Bob Haddon and Bill McEntee revealed they had become disillusioned with the running of the club.

"I sent a letter outlining my concerns to the Warriors that I thought should be looked at and that they should take over the whole lot," said Ryan.

"They were taken aback."

Ryan also confirmed the claims of Haddon, McEntee, a third former director, Bernie Wood, and the NZRL's former legal counsel Geoff Hosking that the takeover deal had limited the NZRL's investment.

He agreed the league should not put in any more cash.

Intriguingly, Ryan, who says he is writing a book about his tumultuous years as NZRL chairman, says he set up a $16m sale of the Warriors in 1997, only for the Auckland Rugby League to vote against it.

Cullen Sports got the club three years later for less than $500,000, according to sale documents.

In a fresh development, it is understood Cullen is preparing to put another $400,000 into the club to cover recent losses.

It was told at a board meeting last week that the NZRL would not chip in.

NZRL and Warriors director Andrew Chalmers yesterday told the Sunday Star-Times that had been the league's position since last February.
 

2big2strong_old

Guest
Interesting.

I was reading a story on Watson, pretty sure it was on here, that said out of ALL the contencious buyers for the club in 2000, he was offering the LEAST money and said that's all he could do but the accepted him over everyone else because of his proven track record as a businessman, not because of how much money he was putting towards the club.

which makes this article all shit.
 

2big2strong_old

Guest
this is taken from an article written by the same journo......


"....Other bidders made more substantial offers for the club than Watson, but the board was convinced by his high profile, business track record and what the directors say was his promise to heavily fund the club....."


doesn't that just contradict this......

"....And only Watson had given him the impression he had those funds ready to invest...."
 

Jesbass_old

Guest
2black2strong said:
this is taken from an article written by the same journo......


"....Other bidders made more substantial offers for the club than Watson, but the board was convinced by his high profile, business track record and what the directors say was his promise to heavily fund the club....."


doesn't that just contradict this......

"....And only Watson had given him the impression he had those funds ready to invest...."

No, that second statement is expressing Gerald Ryan's version of events. I think it's just two sides of a many sided story.
 

2big2strong_old

Guest
yeah but you'd think the board would be of the ONE understanding hey! I mean, that just spells trouble in communication if there's different views concerning multiple millions of dollars.
 

Northern_Union

Guest
God i get sick of this bickering and always seeing the club in money trouble. To many lies not enough cash.
I can't help wonder what would have been had the money that was ploughed into the Warriors been ploughed into the Lion red cup back in 95. Had they got some more stars into the cup along with over seas players we may now have a completely different rugby league enviroment in New Zealand.
It wouldn't have been that far from our grasp back then either. My cousin was involved with the management of the Waitakeri Raiders back then, i remember asking him what the average crowd for the team was and what it the average was for the comp.
His figures were for the Raiders: 2400 to 2500 and the comp was: 2800 to 2900.
Now you inject some union starts and Kiwi internationals into those teams and your looking at good averages and a comp that could stand on it's own two feet.
But it wasn't to be and here we are 11 years after the launch of the Warriors and it's still money problems and lack of on field results that plague us.
 

D Generation X_old

Guest
RS_Dragon said:
God i get sick of this bickering and always seeing the club in money trouble. To many lies not enough cash.
I can't help wonder what would have been had the money that was ploughed into the Warriors been ploughed into the Lion red cup back in 95. Had they got some more stars into the cup along with over seas players we may now have a completely different rugby league enviroment in New Zealand.
It wouldn't have been that far from our grasp back then either. My cousin was involved with the management of the Waitakeri Raiders back then, i remember asking him what the average crowd for the team was and what it the average was for the comp.
His figures were for the Raiders: 2400 to 2500 and the comp was: 2800 to 2900.
Now you inject some union starts and Kiwi internationals into those teams and your looking at good averages and a comp that could stand on it's own two feet.
But it wasn't to be and here we are 11 years after the launch of the Warriors and it's still money problems and lack of on field results that plague us.
i know bro
 

BigD_old

Guest
Warriors owner Eric Watson has approached the NRL for financial help after being forced to inject $AU3 million ($NZ3.58m) of his own money into the battling club.


In a clear indication of how hard the salary cap scandal earlier this year had hit the Warriors, Watson asked for a wide range of assistance for the club - including monetary - at a meeting with NRL chief executive David Gallop in Auckland three weeks ago.

With the New Zealand club forced to start the season four competition points behind the other 14 teams, crowds have been significantly down at Mt Smart Stadium and Warriors officials have admitted they are facing a $AU2 million loss for the season.

The deficit follows a loss last season of about $AU1 million and after providing an on-demand loan of $AU150,000 the New Zealand Rugby League, which owns a 25 per cent stake of the Warriors, has refused to put any more money into the club after having already reached the $AU500,000 limit of its commitment under the shareholders agreement with Watson's Cullen Sports.

The company, which is co-owned by Watson's business partner Mark Hotchin, is negotiating to buy the Warriors outright but the NZRL recently rejected its latest offer. But despite the current financial difficulties, Gallop said Watson had personally re-affirmed his commitment to the Warriors and there was no concern that the club would suffer the same fate as the previous incarnation that went bankrupt.

"At the moment he is having to prop up their loss each year but there is no suggestion that he is going to walk away," Gallop told the Herald last night.

"We went over there three weeks ago and met with Eric and he made it clear that he is committed to the Warriors.

"But he would obviously prefer that they were self-sufficient, and it is fair to say that the Warriors have approached us to see whether we can come up with some assistance. There is a range of options and we are considering that at the moment."

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah confirmed the club had asked for financial aid but also wanted assistance in marketing games and preparing players for the NRL.

"It's fairly wide-ranging levels of support, not only some financial assistance but also some expertise in how to drive membership and attendance at events," Scurrah said.

"We don't benefit from NRL advertising, that doesn't play in New Zealand so there's some equalising issues like that and we're also investigating how we can get a reserve-grade side up and running.

"Probably because of the off-field issues we've had and losing the four competition points, things like memberships and gates have taken a hit and we're wanting some support just to get things back on an even track.

"We're wanting to engage the NRL a lot more than we had in the past, and one of the ideas we put to them was that we wanted to lift the profile of the competition in the Auckland marketplace especially because we've really only promoted the Warriors and not the NRL."

After winning three consecutive matches before suffering a golden-point loss to the Bulldogs two weeks ago, the Warriors drew their biggest crowd of the season against Parramatta last Sunday but the game is believed to be the only home match from which the club has returned a profit.

Scurrah said losing their opening two matches to Melbourne and the Eels meant that the Warriors were eight points out of the top eight and fans seemed to give up hope for the season, but Gallop stood by the NRL's tough stance against the club over salary cap breaches of $AU860,000 during the previous two seasons.

"I'm absolutely comfortable that the penalty we imposed was spot-on but it was always going to knock their fans' interest around," Gallop said. "That's an inevitable consequence of what happened earlier in the year but when they win games their fans have shown they will come back, as we saw last weekend.

"The best news is that Eric is absolutely committed to them but quite reasonably he would prefer to be not losing money.

"Eric made it clear to me that he doesn't necessarily want to make money, he just doesn't want to lose money, and that seems to be a pretty fair position. The Broncos don't lose money so I guess the Warriors would one day like to think that they will make a profit."
 

Jesbass_old

Guest
That's interesting. Gallop hasn't committed to anything, by the sounds of things. I wonder how such an approach will be viewed in light of te salary cap breach.
 

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