SISU – WHERE'S THE MONEY GONE AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET IT BACK?
In 2007 SISU, the secretive Mayfair based hedge fund, purchased Coventry City on behalf of their investors and have since ploughed an alleged £37 million into the club. Yet the club now lies at the bottom of the Championship, 7 points adrift of safety and with the prospect of a drop into the third tier of English football a very real possibility. Despite massive cost cutting that has seen the on and off the field staff cut right back to the bone the club continues to haemorrhage money and there are serious questions being asked about the competence of SISU's stewardship both from an investors point of view and from the supporters of the club. The club is a disaster on the field and on the balance sheet.
Seemingly SISU have no plan of how to get the club out of its spiral of decline, cost cutting has lead to a poor team, poor results, falling gates and further losses in revenue and investors must be asking how are they going to get their money back? Who these investors are is a closely guarded secret but whoever they are they cannot be happy with SISU's management of their money. SISU have spent their tenure looking for new partners to invest alongside them but this has resulted in one minor investment in four years, hardly a glowing endorsement for SISU's achievements.
In November 2011 Coventry MP and former Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson criticized SISU's performance at the club and called for them “bow out as they had lost all credibility”. For some unexplained reason the clubs shares have now been transferred to a Cayman Islands based fund, Sconset, which along with SISU's own losses last year of £272,000 makes all involved question SISU.
The supporters of the club are now demanding a change and want SISU to sell the club at a price that reflects the clubs current value and writes-off a major proportion of their investors money they have squandered over the past four years. There has been a bid to buy the club lead by leading financier Gary Hoffman but this was rejected by SISU out of hand as they claimed to still be looking for new investment, a largely fruitless undertaking. To make their point many fans are holding a boycott of the FA Cup match on Saturday 7th January against Southampton, ironically a club that turned down SISU's attempts to buy them and is now financially stable and with a real prospect of promotion to the Premier League, a far cry from their long suffering opponents.
Many fans will be boycotting the game altogether with others joining them for a short period with the overall aim that the actual match will kick off in front of an empty stadium. The protests will go on throughout the game and afterwards – the anti SISU movement at the club has been growing as the clubs fortunes have declined and fans are demanding a change before it's too late.
Supporters are congregating at 14.45 at the Jimmy Hill statue (the man who took Coventry City from the third division to the first 50 years ago and SISU are reversing that achievement) at the Ricoh Arena where they will protest loudly, vociferously but peacefully until 15.15, at which point those that wish to go into the game do so leaving the rest outside to continue their protest. After the game all will all join together again and continue the protest.
SISU's clients need to ask questions of SISU about the performance of this investment, their squandered £37 million and the management that has lead to this situation and the supporters of the club are demanding a change of ownership immediately. Seems like hedge funds and football do not make good bedfellows.