Birds’ shareholders gun for Prins

2010-11-07 12:34

Moroka Swallows minority shareholders are calling for the head of the club’s managing director, Leon Prins.

Since the recent passing away of majority shareholder Dieter Bock, the mysterious German national, the club has been ­under Prins’s control.

The minority shareholders, who have a 10% stake, claim that they are in the dark about operations at the Birds.

And now, after a string of poor results which have seen the club rooted precariously at the bottom of the Absa Premiership, Godfrey Gxowa, who represents the minority shareholders, says they have had enough and it is time for a change of ­leadership.

“After being at the helm for almost 11 years he can’t say he is still learning. It is clear that he has run out of ideas. What more can he do for the club?” asked an incensed Gxowa, adding that the solution would be for Prins to hand over the reins.

He said during Prins’s tenure Swallows had not achieved anything of note – “yet he always claims the club is better run ­under his administration”.

“We cannot go on like this and he should give way. Leon does not want to look at himself in the mirror and admit his shortcomings. We have been quiet for a long time, but the time has come for us to act.”

Gxowa said he was surprised by Prins’s pronouncement that there was no crisis at the club.

“If the team drops 17 points in the first round, what guarantees do we have that Swallows won’t lose the same number or even more in the second round?” he commented.

He also said they knew nothing about the shares that Bock had owned.

“The majority shareholder passed away almost six months ago, but there have never been meetings to say, now that the principal shareholder is gone, how do we move forward? We cannot say it is business as usual and we are mobilising as ­minority shareholders because we have the right to be disgruntled,” Gxowa said.

He said they had expected the executor of the Bock estate to pronounce on what the German tycoon had owned.

Prins laughed off the threats made by the minority shareholders, however, labelling them as “opportunists”.

He did say, though, that he shoulders the blame.

“As the man in charge I should be the first one to take the responsibility. I know we should have done better, but I am positive we are going to get out of this mess,” Prins said.

He said the club had enlisted a psychologist to help the players deal with the situation they found themselves in.

“I would not let this team go down and will do anything in my power to save the team, because it is my livelihood too.

“I understand when the shareholders and the supporters are upset about the situation we are in now. I am also upset,” said Prins.

He said in the 10 years he had been at the club it had always finished in the top eight – except for in 2001 and last year.

On the issue of Bock’s shares, Prins said the German had left a company that controls the shares. He dismissed Gxowa’s claim as a “non-issue”.

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