Chairman commits future to Millwall despite land grab battle

Chairman John Berylson has made a long-term commitment to Millwall’s future, despite their continuing battle against their town hall landlords.
The Lions board today has agreed to allow him to buy up to £20million of new shares to boost club coffers, in case they need cash quickly.
The money could help buy an expensive player or inject finance into the structure or building work, if needed.
But it also signals the American multi-millionaire will not walk away in the near future, despite having already invested £50m, with no return.
That should reassure fans that he will not back down in the ongoing regeneration battle with Lewisham council, which wants to seize its car park, the Lions Centre and a memorial garden, all on plots beside The Den.
Lewisham town hall chiefs want to use a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to seize the three plots and turn them over to developers Renewal, who plan to build 2,400 homes and a £40m leisure centre, Energise, around the ground.
Today’s board meeting agree on a shareholder vote of more than 99 per cent that it could issue more than £20m worth of new shares in the next five years, should they choose to.
Club director Constantine Gonticas said: “When our ordinary shares were created in 2013, it was intended to raise more cash to comply with the rules of the English Football League (EFL).
“We need to comply with the EFL’s regulations on profitability and sustainability.
“We are confident we can, but being able to issue makes sure. It also improves the capital base of the company. The share issue of £20m gives a maximum value of £50m.
“It is an indication of the ambitions of the shareholders and of our main one, Chestnut Hill Ventures, which is owned by the chairman. The shares would be bought by the chairman.”
Chief executive Steve Kavanagh said: “This shows John’s long-term commitment and his desire to ensure the club can flourish in the future – hopefully in Lewisham.”

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