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Last Updated: Monday, 23 July 2007, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Southampton sack chairman Crouch
St Mary's stadium
Crouch was unhappy over Gareth Bale's sale
Southampton Football Club chairman Leon Crouch has been sacked by the club's parent plc board.

Crouch, the second largest individual shareholder with almost 10%, attended a meeting at St Mary's Stadium on Monday, where his removal was confirmed.

No replacement has been mooted for Crouch, who was appointed following Mike Wilde's resignation in February.

Crouch said: "I feel betrayed, angry and saddened by what's happened at the hands of the plc board."

Crouch's departure reveals the size of the schism and tensions between Saints executive directors, and non-executive directors.

As Saints second largest individual shareholder, Crouch still maintains his seat on the plc board.

Southampton have been subject to takeover speculation, but Crouch said: "My untimely departure is hardly a model for attracting new investment that the club needs so much.

"My predecessor Michael Wilde and I have both, as the largest shareholders, invested more than 4m of our own money.

"The role of non-executive directors is to exercise a steadying influence on executive board decisions.


"That is what I, along with non-executive directors patrick Trant and Keith Wiseman, have tried to do."

"If that means challenging powerful men in highly paid salaried positions, who are answerable to shareholders and customers alike but who have no emotional ties to our great club, then so be it."

Crouch criticised the sale of star Gareth Bale to Tottenham, although the Wales international was in the last year of his contract.

He also expressed concern at the growing power he believes the executive now wield at St Mary's.

Crouch added :"The divisions in the boardroom between the executives and non-executives are well documented, however I could not stand by quietly.

"the sale of the brilliant Gareth Bale was a classic case of selling off the family silver. How are we to gain promotion if the skilful players are sold off?"


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