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Albion life president in share spat
Albion bosses have dismissed claims by life president Dick Knight that they “blocked” the sale of 100,000 shares to fans.
Former chairman Mr Knight has accused the football club of “cynically” preventing supporters from having a voice at the club by refusing him the chance to sell fans his shares.
But Brighton and Hove Albion insisted it was following procedures drawn up when Mr Knight was chairman – giving existing shareholders first right of refusal.
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Last year Mr Knight announced plans to sell a stake to fans to ensure they had a voice at the club.
He said supporters could acquire the shares if they purchased his autobiography, Mad Man, with financial rules stipulating he could not give them away free.
Mr Knight said 262 fans had expressed an interest in buying the shares at £1 each.
But he said the club blocked the move and instead put forward an offer from an unnamed shareholder to buy his 100,000 shares for a “derisory” 1p each.
If an agreement cannot be reached Mr Knight can withdraw his offer to sell – or allow the club’s auditors to come to a ‘fair value’ price which will be legally binding.
In a letter to fans Mr Knight wrote: “I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the motives behind this derisory offer. The move is clearly designed to stop you and the other supporters obtaining shares in the club.
“I am saddened by this cynical use of a set of articles of association, which I helped to draft when I became chairman – and written to protect the club against predators – now being deployed against myself and genuine Albion supporters who simply would like the opportunity to have a voice at the club’s annual general meeting.”
He said the proposal posed no threat to the balance of power at the club and would give ordinary fans a chance to voice concerns.
A club spokesman said: “Any shareholder of the football club is entitled to sell their shares.
Dick is no exception. However, like any other shareholder wishing to sell shares, Dick has to follow the procedure set out in the club’s articles of association, a process familiar to shareholders of any company.
“The club has not attempted to block Dick’s attempt to sell his shares and would not block any shareholders from selling their shares. It is simply following the procedure set out in the club’s articles of association which were put in place during Dick’s tenure as chairman.”
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