A Compromising Position

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Let’s go back in time to Monday 24th February 2014:

“Following discussions between the Board and Andy it was mutually agreed to allow him to leave to pursue other opportunities, leaving Wrexham FC to plan for the future…

Andy Morrell commented: “I feel it is in the best interests of both Wrexham FC and me to make a change now, so that we can all plan for the future with certainty….

On behalf of the Board Don Bircham stated: “We would like to place on record our appreciation for Andy’s hard work both as a player and manager and the memories he has given Wrexham fans that they will always carry with them.” Wrexham FC official website (24/02/14)

“Insisting it was Morrell who felt the time was right for a change, Bircham added: “Andy came to us, he approached us and he felt that. I guess that once we had spoken to him at length about various things, it was probably the best thing all round for everybody concerned.” (“MORRELL LEAVES REDS: Wrexham will not be a ‘hire and fire club’ “.Published date: 25 February 2014.Published by: Richard Williams, Wrexham Leader) 

“It was a huge decision but I want to get across I am not a quitter,” said Morrell. “I don’t believe I have ever walked away from anything and was not ready to walk away. I thought I could change it around.” (“Andy has more to say on Wrexham FC exit“. Published date: 28 February 2014 | .Published by: Richard Williams, Wrexham Leader)

I read all these words at the time of Morrell’s departure and I concluded that Morrell was a brave, decent man, and had done what he, and he alone thought was best for The Club. At the time I thought he was wrong and that events had conspired to a ridiculous level against him. The football club board didn’t have much to say at the time, just a few platitudes. I understand why now, and I’ve lost a little naivety along the way.

Employment law has developed a method of terminating contracts without recourse to the Courts. A Compromise Agreement allows an employer to terminate an employee’s contract and negotiate a settlement with the employee, so they don’t claim Breach of Contract. If an employee resigns, he is in breach of contract, or more likely he is invoking a release clause in the contract. He most certainly is not entitled to compensation if he resigns.

“The club also had to absorb the cost of cancelling the contracts of the previous first team management team” – Report of the Directors and Financial Statements for the Year ended 30 June 2014, for Wrexham AFC Limited.

Come again? You had to compensate Morrell (and Barr) for leaving? Mark Williams the Club’s (and Trust’s) Finance Director confirmed at the recent AGM that a “compromise” had been reached with Morrell. That can mean only one thing: The Board wanted Morrell to leave, Morrell was ‘”not a quitter”.

So should I stop dwelling in the past, move on, and forget such pedantic reminiscences? I will, as long as lessons are learned from what I’m charging was a serious lack of openness by the Club Board. We were led to believe that the Board did not have any responsibility for the loss of a manager who is now proving (at Tamworth) that he’s not too bad at management. I’m not complaining about the decision to ‘settle’ with Morrell, I am unhappy that the decision wasn’t justified to the owners of The Club. To be clear; I don’t want to interfere, but I want sufficient information to make our custodians accountable for their actions.

I’m unhappy, but I’m not worried. I take a long term view, and if our club’s board repeats this stunt, then we might need to consider a change to the Trust Constitution. The Chairman of the Bank of England has to justify himself to the Government if certain conditions arise. Perhaps that’s a transparent way forward.

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