21 Nov 2003 – Manly’s financial troubles appear over with the club on the verge of a major announcement. The Sea Eagles, who have struggled financially since before their ill-fated move to a joint venture club and then back again, will announce a 50 per cent sale of the club later today. The deal shores up the future of the club and will allow them to become a competitive force in the player market. 22 Nov 2003 - Manly has taken the first step down the road to privatisation with news that marketing company Penn Sport was set to buy a 50 per cent stake in the club. The Sea Eagles yesterday announced a proposal that involves Penn Sport and the leagues club taking joint ownership of the football club on a four-year deal expected to pour at least $10 million into Manly's coffers. Scott Penn, the 32-year-old chief executive of Weight Watchers Australia, yesterday emerged as the Manly equivalent of that bloke in the Remington razor commercial: he likes the club so much he wants to buy it. Whether Penn's $5 million offer for a half-share in the Sea Eagles is accepted, however, depends on the support of 75 per cent of football club members at the December 18 annual general meeting. Under the terms of the proposal already endorsed by the Sea Eagles board, Penn Sport a newly formed Sydney-based sports management, marketing and entertainment company will take control of football operations in partnership with Manly Leagues Club. "We could still limp through [without privatisation], but we would probably be finishing down near the bottom of the ladder," Manly Leagues Club president Ken Arthurson said. The proposal has been unanimously endorsed by the leagues club board, which runs the club. 30 Nov 03 - The owner and chief executive of Crazy John's, John Ilhan , says Manly may have cost themselves millions of dollars by not putting the sale of the club out to tender. Ilhan's company was keen to buy part of the Sea Eagles this year, but talks broke down before they could discuss the serious details about finances. 14 Dec 03 - Manly saviour and chief sponsor Max Delmege is urging football club members to vote against the proposed sell-off of the Sea Eagles club to a sports marketing company this week. Manly football club members will gather on Thursday to vote on a proposal from Penn Sports to take a 50 per cent share of the Sea Eagles by pumping $5 million into the club. Delmege, a Sea Eagles board member who voted in favour of allowing the takeover opportunity to be explored, is now convinced the club can do a better deal than the one being offered by Penn Sports. 14 Dec 03 - A fake letter has been circulated to the media in a desperate attempt to derail Manly's crucial vote on a privatisation proposal this week. Inside the four page document was a letter allegedly written by developer and one-time saviour of the Sea Eagles, Phil Franks. The letter savages the club and threatens disruptions to Thursday's AGM at Manly Leagues Club, where members will vote on whether to accept a $5m offer from Penn Sports for a half-share in the football club. A furious Franks has referred the matter to his solicitor and had no comment when contacted yesterday by The Sunday Telegraph. The successful businessman and former first grader is well known on the Peninsula and was touted as a white knight when he agreed to inject $1m into the Manly club in 2001, saving the Sea Eagles from possible collapse after the demise of the Northern Eagles joint venture. Manly say the letter is a fraud and have dismissed it as part of a dirty campaign against the privatisation bid. 16 Dec 03 - Manly remain committed to selling the club to private interests despite yesterday's decision to postpone a vote on the privatisation issue. But the vote will not go ahead after the club announced another party had put in a separate privatisation proposal yesterday morning. Manly officials declined to name the new interested party. "We have decided to withdraw the privatisation resolutions that were to be put before the membership of the club on Thursday evening," club chairman Joe Cross said. "While the board remains of the view that the offer from Penn Sport is a very good one, in light of the most recent developments, we want to make sure we get the best possible result for our club." The Sea Eagles have called for further expressions of interest and have set a new deadline of February 13 for formal applications to be lodged. 14 Feb 04 - The planned partial sale of Manly-Warringah Football Club to private interests has boiled down to a two-horse race after the Sea Eagles' major sponsor and board member, Max Delmege, expressed an interest yesterday in owning a share. The Manly board hopes to resolve in the next fortnight which offers to put to the 453 football club members, after Penn Sport announced a $10million joint bid with Manly-Warringah Leagues Club last December. Any sale of the club will require a 75 per cent majority of votes. 29 Feb 04 - Manly sponsor Max Delmege has offered to buy the financially troubled club for $10 million. Delmege said Manly needed an immediate injection of funds to remain viable and his offer was double the previous proposal put forward by marketing company Penn Sports. Under the property consultant's offer, Delmege would initially buy the club and turn it around financially. Once it was making money it would be listed on the stock exchange. "Manly are going to need an injection of funds in the very near future and if I can help by buying the club, that is what I will do," Delmege said yesterday. "It's something I'd like to do. "It would probably require a $10 million outlay and that is something I am willing to do and then I am willing to give the club back to its members. "Privatisation is definitely the way to go in the future, but me putting those funds in would be a way of helping the club and then paving the way for the future." Delmege said that eventually the club should be owned by the members. "I think the members should own the club and that is my plan for the long run," he said. 28 Mar 04 - Manly will hold a board meeting on Tuesday night to determine whether Max Delmege or Scott Penn wins a controlling equity stake in the club. Odds-on favourite is Delmege, who is believed to have put up more cash than Penn Sport.