Paul Duffen has been Chairman of Hull City for 11 weeks now but has been present at the club for 6 months with Adam Pearson.
After 4 days of taking over he received hate mail, mostly anonymous, so he couldn't reply to it even if he wanted to!
He considers Hull City his pride and passion and his focus from now on. He said he has bought NOTHING, simply goodwill, leases, nothing tangible, no assets, an underachieving team, although no debt with either the SMC or Hull City, and secure trading facilities.
It has cost him "a lot more than 10 million pounds" and he has improved things in all areas. Wages have increased by £1.5 million, to £6 million now, and will go up again by next August. He anticipates having to pay over the odds for players coming in because clubs and agents know Hull City has money. He expects to lose £2million this year.
The only way to make money is to get promoted to the Premiership. He said he does not interfere with the Manager's decisions. He leaves him to decide on the team. P.D. hopes we will be in the top half of the table this season and in the Premiership in 3 years time.
Mortgage Lease - £3.5million - when he bought Hull City he had to give a security to allow trading. For example, to continue CREDIT CARD trading meant him guaranteeing half a million pounds.
To keep the BEER prices the same he has paid the caterers £30,000.
HULL - PD said he knew nothing at all about the city before coming and he is very impressed. He thinks that "Hull suffers from poor self publicity" and that it is mostly people living here who complain. He is surprised at the regeneration and described Hull as the "best kept secret". He would like to build around the stadium to create a village atmosphere.
Discussion took place about the MEDIA reporting on potential signings, etc. and PD admitted that mistakes were made. He said he'd "tried to be media friendly". He prefers to speak on the radio where fans can hear what he actually says rather than the press taking things out of context.
He admitted, however, that when Phil Brown had his photograph taken with JUNINHO it was a big mistake. The deal was going ahead until at the last minute they asked for an additional £2million if we were promoted to the Premiership!
CRESSWELL was not fully fit. He failed his medical test. When Stoke signed him PD had the results of Cresswell's medical on his desk. The proposed three year contract would have been too great a financial risk.
The STADIUM itself needs "tidying up". It is beginning to show that it is 5 years old and he has a list of things needed doing to maintain the property - including cleaning the outside.
BIG SCREEN - The SMC paid for the screen. It had only just been installed when we first saw it (Plymouth game) and was not running to its full capacity. PD said he hopes to show highlights of away matches before home games which may bring fans into the stadium earlier. Also, concerts at halftime.
Our representative expressed annoyance felt by some that the clock stops at 45 minutes and 90 minutes and so we don't know how much stoppage time has been played. We were told it is not allowed to continue in case it conflicts with the referee's decision of when time is up. When asked if we could also have a CLOCK telling the actual time, PD said there should be no problem in arranging that.
City may charge SKY to use the screen for rugby matches, rather than setting up their own.
PA SYSTEM - a sound audit showed that everything is o.k. but our representatives who sit in the SOUTH STAND do not think so! It is too loud and sometimes distorted, especially announcements. PD will look at it again and do a check when the stadium is not empty.
SHARES - When questioned by the Tigers Co-operative representatives PD said that as things stand at the moment he would not consider selling shares to the fans. We said many thought it disappointing not to be able to attend Hull City's AGMs as shareholders as in the past, but PD said that there are other occasions when fans can meet the Chairman such as the FLC and FANS FORUMS. He hopes to hold two forums a season.
MUSIC prior to match - they have changed the loop but "can't please everyone".
PROGRAMME - We suggested reducing the content with fewer photos and player interviews, in order to REDUCE THE PRICE to say £2 or £2.50 (and in turn increasing the sales of the City Magazine which provides interviews etc.) but were told that very few clubs, if any, sell a programme for less than £3. Also, reducing the number of pages would not significantly reduce the cost of publication.
Mr. Duffen is not a member of the FOOTBALL LEAGUE BOARD.
We will all meet again on THURSDAY 20th SEPTEMBER at 6 p.m.