In the midst of their boardroom brawl, the Manly Sea Eagles were given some reason to at least smile for a moment, after the announcement of a new $2.6million sponsorship deal with Quantum Eco Hot Water over 3 years.
The new sponsor quickly showing their their support for ousted chief executive Grant Mayer, saying that Mayer was certainly the man to take the club into the future.
The new sponsor; Quantum Eco Hot Water, was announced at a press conference yesterday – where talk quickly turned to the boardroom shakeup. Manly also confirmed their squad for the World Cup Challenge, with star forward Brent Kite absent on compassionate leave.
Tensions remain high at Manly, with majority owner Scott Penn pointing the finger at co-owner Max Delmege who he alleges owes money for sponsorship promises.
“I don’t believe there is any dispute about the money owed,” Penn said yesterday. “It’s probably not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the Delmege business, but we need that money. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, in the pre-season, when you can’t rely on things like gate receipts to keep the club going.”
It seems more a power struggle than anything; it doesn’t seem that the club is at risk of financial collapse and with the Penn family owning the majority share but unable to control the board – more blood could shed soon.
“We’re solvent, there is no question of that,” Penn said. “But over the term of the coming months we need that money. Things aren’t critical now, but unless the situation changes it will become an issue. If arrangements are not being met, the board has to figure out what to do, and that [legal action] is one of the options. The directors have a fiduciary responsibility.”
When questioned about the situation, Max Delmege talked of the amount of funds he has pumped in the Sea Eagles saying: “I’ve put in over $12million and the Penn family has put in over $2million – there’s a bit of a difference. I’m supporting Manly for the right reasons – passionate reasons – and if God were to take me away, my family would continue that support. We will ensure Manly is around forever.”
“If we have to top up, because we [Manly] have losses, our family will top up.” confirmed Delmege
It’s believed Grant Mayer was instrumental in bringing the new sponsor to the club, but Mayer was ousted after a vote of 5-2 to ‘not’ extend his contract past October this year.
However, the new sponsor continued to sing the praises of Mayer, with director David Kenney, confirming: “Grant has done a great job and I’m appreciative of the support he has shown us as major sponsors. He’s been great for Manly and I hope he would like to stay, and will stay. I know he is going to help us in our relationship with the club.”
Kenney believed that the in-fighting may simply be a case of early season jitters as the Manly club struggles to deal with their new position at the top of the NRL perch.
To his credit, Mayer has remained buoyant and remains focused on the year ahead it seems. Choosing to discuss the positives at Manly’s disposal.
“It’s a very political environment here at the moment,” he said. “People have used my position as a trigger for a whole rung of other issues, but that’s part of being a CEO. Unfortunately, this club excels in drama during the off-season and that’s not good for the team or the fans. I just hope our stake-holders can get together in a room and continue to support our club.
“I’m happy to step aside at the end of the season to help make that happen, if that’s what it takes, but Scott hasn’t accepted my letter of resignation and nine months is a long time. My aim has always been to be here for a long time, but we need to resolve some issues.”