Stars may stay at Manly after buyout
Scott Penn is set to become Manly’s new chairman. Photo: Tomasz MachnikThe battle for control of Manly has been won after the Penn faction bought out Quantum in a move that will have huge ramifications on and off the field.
The Sea Eagles have been one of the most successful teams of the modern era, making 10 straight finals appearances despite a bitter divide in the boardroom. In recent years, the balance of power has rested with the Quantum alliance, which had sought to buy out the Penn faction. But after months of negotiations, the Penns have taken control after buying out Quantum in a deal which was struck on Wednesday night. It’s understood the Penns paid about $5 million to take their shareholding from 49 per cent to 87 per cent.
It’s hoped the move will finally bring peace to Brookvale, although there could be some changes to head office. The future of Manly general manager David Perry is under a cloud, while Scott Penn is expected to be chairman.
The change in ownership could also have an effect on the playing group, with several disgruntled players who were threatening to leave now more likely to stay. The futures of Anthony Watmough, Steve Matai and Brett Stewart have been clouded after the trio were enraged by the decision not to offer another senior player, Glenn Stewart, a contract extension. However, the quartet have links to the Penn alliance and may now be more likely to remain at Brookvale. Watmough was poised to join Parramatta but the latest development could thwart the move.
The Manly-Warringah Rugby League Football Club Limited retains a 13 per cent stake in the Sea Eagles. A statement from the district club said: “Whilst the Football Club does not support a single private ownership model, the Board of the Manly-Warringah Rugby League Football Club commits to working cooperatively and constructively with Penn Sport to ensure the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles maintain their strong culture and continued on-field success and looks forward to hearing Chairman Scott Penn’s vision and plan for the future of the Club.
“The Football Club will continue to uphold the rights of Football Club Members through the Preference Share which enshrines our name, logo, colours and where we play. The Preference Share was the condition upon which Football Club Members originally agreed to the privatisation of the Club.
“Finally, the Football Club places on record its thanks to Quantum for the substantial investment they have made in the Sea Eagles over many years, firstly as a sponsor and later, a co-owner. They have been a big part of the Sea Eagles’ success over several years.”