BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
After the boardroom upheaval that proved so costly to neighbours Birmingham City’s hopes of securing Premier League survival last season, it is no wonder West Bromwich Albion chairman Jeremy Peace is so determined to draw a line under opposition to his controversial share consolidation plan.
The farcical handling of the Carson Yeung takeover at Blues, which was allowed to drag on and cost the club Steve Bruce, was publicly attributed as a factor in the Blues’ demise by chairman David Gold. Albion have had their own off-field distractions after a group of shareholders tried to force through an interim injunction to stop Peace carrying out ‘a housekeeping exercise’ to tidy up the share structure with ten shares effectively becoming one. Shareholders had until Friday to buy nine additional shares or sell their existing one.
A statement yesterday by Albion said: “An application by a small group of shareholders for an injunction to prevent the share consolidation was dismissed on Friday by Mr Justice Patten, who ordered the petitioners pay the legal costs of the club and its directors.
“The judgment, after a two-day hearing, confirms it was not appropriate for the dissenting group to try to prevent the share consolidation plan.
“In delivering his judgment, Mr Justice Patten said he could not see how the share consolidation plan could be regarded as ‘discriminatory’ against any shareholder. He also said a number of shareholders, including some of those involved in legal action, would be completely unaffected.
“The club and its directors are disappointed this small group, which purports to have the best interests of the club at heart, attempted to disrupt the club at a crucial stage of the season.
“The club and its directors have insisted at all times they acted properly in the execution of their duties and the High Court decision underlines this.
“The directors regret the amount of time, cost and distraction involved in having to contest this action by a small number of shareholders.”
Chairman Jeremy Peace added: “I sincerely hope this draws a line under these legal proceedings.”
Midfielder James Morrison could return to training tomorrow after missing the Stoke defeat through injury. The Scotland international picked up a medial knee ligament injury during the defeat to Chelsea at The Hawthorns the week before but his predicted return will be a boost for manager Tony Mowbray.