Writer: Stef C
Date:Wednesday March 8 2006
When Merlion owner Michael Wilde first purchased his £1.27 million worth of Saints shares in February the Vital Southampton poll asked supporters if they felt the unrest of such major share dealing could threaten the teams rebuilding.
At the time little was known about the property tycoon buying into Southampton Leisure Holdings and even less was known about his intentions.
Since that initial 10% purchase 53-year-old Wilde has bought a further 500,000 shares, taking his stake in the club to around 13%.
He's also come forward and explained he's a supporter of the club and, reassuringly, given his backing to Head Coach George Burley and Director of Football Sir Clive Woodward.
At the weekend the new shareholder was a guest at St Mary's to watch Saints take on Coventry.
When he arrived Wilde quickly distanced himself from other consortiums rumoured to be preparing takeover bids for our unsettled club; as yet no other approach has been forthcoming and at present that all appears to be just talk.
Fans seem to have been quietly reassured by Wilde's actions since he joined, particularly due to his support for George Burley and largely due to a recent statement that he is fully supportive of The Saints Trust.
He met with the recently formed Saints Trust this week and believes it's important for Saints fans to have a say in their club.
The Saints Trust was set up to 'strengthen the voice of supporters in the decision making processes at Southampton Football Club'. Refreshingly Michael Wilde has also agreed to proxy the voting rights of 60,000 of his shares over to the Trust.
In a press statement on their website The Saints Trust state:
'First impressions are often crucial, and the consensus from those present was that Michael Wilde genuinely has the best interests of the club at heart. It was refreshing to hear how someone who is potentially in a position of influence at our club genuinely appears to have the desire to understand how grass roots supporters feel about things'
To join The Saints Trust Click Here
Initially our poll showed understandable caution to Wilde's interest, with 70% admitting to being concerned the share dealing could threaten the club's recent development on the pitch. This though was before anything was known about the new investors intentions.
As the situation has unfolded fans appear to have quickly taken to their new largest shareholder and are far less worried now, with 50% of recent voters saying they're not concerned the team will be affected.
It seems with the latest developments at the club; the unexpected involvement of Wilde, the newly formed Saints Trust and our impressive new Head Coach that the future is suddenly looking encouraging at St Mary's.
Obviously we didn't want to be relegated, and even with the recent developments it will be in no way easy to get out of this division next season, but would these promising changes have happened had we finished 17th last season; let us know your views on the developments in the 100% Football Forum ?
Date:Wednesday March 8 2006
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