Powerbrokers at Manly growing apart

Manly Leagues Club Redevelopment Delmege PennThey may have just won the NRL Premiership, but things over at Manly have flared up as the clubs owners battle it out over the collapse of a proposal to renovate the Manly Leagues Club.

Club owners Max Delmege and Scott Penn wanted to reinvent the League Club with a view to stronger returns in future years.

Their grand plans, estimated at around $15 million and approved by Manly fans 6 months ago – was the supposed to be the final piece in the resurgent Manly puzzle.

But apparently now, the Penn family may go it alone with a new solo plan for the redevelopment.

Max Delmege has been rumoured to be considering something similar, which could see a face off between the football club co-owners and the future of the new Leagues Club.

“There’s nothing on the table at the moment,” Manly leagues Club official Peter Spray said.

Apparently the initial proposal fell over, due to strict new finance conditions – a case of banks tightening up their lending criteria.

Penn and Delmege, who have both thrown millions of their own cash into the Manly bucket to keep the struggling club afloat, each own 41.5 per cent of the business.

Even with their Premiership win, the Sea Eagles were only near break even point for the years trading. Many felt that the new development of the Leagues Club could reduce the need for drip payments from the owners and allow the club to begin to stand on it’s own two feet.

This latest setup could realistically setup a standoff between the Sea Eagles’s most powerful backers. Should the on-going injections from both Penn and Delmege dry up, Manly, much like Souths pre-Crowe would be in serious trouble – potentially bowing out of the NRL.

Just like Russell Crowe recently stated at Souths; Manly backer Scott Penn confirmed that personal payments and backing from himself and Delmege simply couldn’t go on indefinitely.

“We have been running it as a responsible business for very much the last three or four years because we have to,” Penn said.

“But with private owners there’s a limit. We’re now back to as close to break-even as we have ever been and that’s where we want to stay.”

With this latest Leagues Club set back, the financial pressure is put squarely back on the Eagles backers.

Insiders at Manly have suggested that things are extremely heated at board level over the failure of the joint proposal.

“If we can get these things wrapped up we’re in for an exciting five years-plus ahead,” Penn said. “We have our model right, we have the right people, we’re ready to play.”

Chief executive Grant Mayer, has also apprently come under scruitiny. It’s believed Max Delmege and Mayer don’t see eye to eye – but Penn remains a fan of Mayer in the hot seat.

While being at the helm as Manly took the top prize, some punters are still unconvinced by the ability of Grant Mayer. His appearances in public have been less than convincing and it seems he has trodden on some toes in the Manly chain of command.

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