PLYMOUTH Argyle are delighted to announce the appointment of Simon Hallett and his associate, John Morgan, as Directors of the club.
The appointment sees highly successful businessman Simon, a Plymothian and lifelong fan of the Pilgrims, invest a substantial sum in Argyle in return for a significant minority share in its ownership.
Simon, 60, who is the Chief Investment Officer of a well-established US-based global investment management firm, and John Morgan, an agribusiness consultant who lives in Devon, become the seventh and eighth members of Sky Bet League 2 Argyle’s board.
The other six remain chairman, James Brent, who will retain a majority shareholding, and part-owner Tony Wrathall, who keeps a 5% shareholding, as well as David Felwick, Richard Holliday, Peter Jones and the Chief Executive, Martyn Starnes. Neither James nor Tony are selling any shares.
Former Plymouth College pupil Simon brings with him a winning combination of a passion for the Pilgrims and management skills that have seen the New Jersey business which he has helped grow and run for the past 25 years succeed in the highly competitive US marketplace.
Although based in America, his heart has remained close to Home Park, which he first attended in 1966 to see a couple of Cliff Jackson goals help beat Portsmouth 3-1.
Simon’s appointment will not only help drive the Pilgrims’ future growth – and help accelerate clearance of the club’s debt inherited from administration – but also strengthen the Board’s vision of Argyle as a sustainable, progressive community-focused club with a winning football team at the heart.
Underpinning everything is a desire, shared with the Directors who appointed him, to see Argyle reclaim their place in the Championship and build from there as the Pilgrims pursue their strategy of evolution, rather than revolution, following their continuing emergence from a near fatal administration in 2011.
The timing of the new directors' arrival coincides with Plymouth’s preparations to celebrate Mayflower 400, the 2020 anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers’ sailing for the New World. With a foot firmly in both camps, Simon is keen to support the city’s plans for marking the momentous year.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be involved with Argyle,” said Simon. “It really is the realisation of a boyhood dream.
“We started talking at the very start of 2016, and I've learned from talking to James and his colleagues, and from doing due diligence, that this is now a really well-run club, not just one pulled back from the brink of disaster with some money and good business sense.
“Argyle has a superb Academy, and a wonderful Community Trust – both, in my view, key elements in building a sustainable and successful club – and, of course, the team is making great strides forward.
“However, there’s always room for improvement, and I hope that my involvement can help contribute to that.”
John, 51, who is Simon’s brother-in-law, heads up the Creedy Associates consultancy business providing profit-centred business and technical advice to farmers, farmer groups, the supply trade and government agencies.
He said: “I am incredibly impressed with all that I have learnt so far about the club. I am particularly keen to learn more about and contribute to the development of the Academy, being a great believer that home-grown talent is a, if not the, most important element in a community-focused club such as Argyle.
“My ‘secret shopping’ trips to watch games this season have provided very real evidence of the passion supporters have for the club. I will do what I can to deliver on their and my dreams for the club in the future.”
James Brent: “My colleagues and I are delighted to welcome Simon and John on to the PAFC Board.
“Our ambitions for the club are well aligned and we look forward to their contribution in moving the club forward as we leave the shadows of administration well behind us.
“The future for Argyle is bright and brighter still following today's announcement.”