Written on the 8 August 2014 by Nick Nichols

MICHAEL Searle’s major shareholding in the Gold Coast Titans is now under the spotlight after the club founder stepped down from the board this week in a massive shake-up driven by the club’s falling revenues and dwindling public support.

Searle, who has a 40 per cent interest in the NRL club, effectively has no direct input in the NRL club’s operations which puts a cloud over his continued major shareholding.

Searle will remain as executive director of football for the next few weeks in a transitional phase for the role.

While Searle does not have a majority shareholding in his own right, the Titans say he has the option of appointing a board nominee.

“He will be entitled to appoint a board representative but he will have no personal role at either board level or as part of the Titans administration,” says a Titans spokesman.

Searle could not be contacted for comment on his intentions.

The Titans this week were rocked by the departure of Searle and founding club coach John Cartwright who will coach his last game for the Titans on Monday against the Roosters.

A statement from Titans chairman Rebecca Frizelle this week painted a troubling picture for the club which has been hit by dwindling support base and falling crowd numbers at matches.

The club is also facing a formidable local opponent in the well-funded Gold Coast Suns which continue to draw solid crowds to home games.

“It is obvious to our members, fans and the board that the situation needs to improve quickly to restore confidence in the future of this club,” says Frizelle.

“Rarely are problems caused by a single factor, therefore rarely will a single response lead to long term improvement.

“The board needs to fully understand the reasons for under-performance across the entire business and act accordingly.

“Clearly, crowds and revenue are affected by team performance, so we cannot sit on our hands in the hope things will improve without an appropriate strategy in place.

“I can assure our members, supporters, and partners, the board is entirely focused on improving the situation and we will not shirk our responsibility when confronted with the tough decisions that will need to be made based on fact.”

While Cartwright will retain a non-football role” with the club, assistant coach Neil Henry will fill Cartwright’s shoes for the remainder of the season.

The club is not commenting on a permanent replacement for Cartwright, but Henry is seen as the most likely candidate.

Author: Nick Nichols





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