New ownership could keep veterans at Manly
The bitter divisions amongst Manly's boardroom have finally been put to bed, with part-owner Richard Penn taking control in a move expected to have far-reaching effects both on and off the pitch.
After months of negotiations, Penn has bought out the share of Quantum and will now own a 90 per cent controlling stake in the club.
The change in ownership brings to a close a tumultuous decade on the Northern Beaches, where one of the Sea Eagles’ most successful eras on the field has been played out despite constant squabbling amongst its front of house.
The move is expected to have a marked effect on Manly’s recruitment plans, with the futures of senior players Anthony Watmough, Brett Stewart and Steve Matai now clouded by the new change in management.
All three have previously requested a release from the club in recent months, with Watmough expected to sign with the Eels for the 2015 season despite the 31-year-old having another year remaining on his contract with Manly. The ownership shake-up could see Watmough, who has a healthy relationship with the Penn faction, now stay with the club.
Speaking on behalf of the Penn family, Richard's son Scott confirmed the club's restructure which is likely to install him as chairman, and predicted a new era for the maroon and white outfit.
"We want to thank The Quantum Group for their contribution to the Sea Eagles over the past three years and their major sponsorship prior to that," Penn said.
"We acknowledge that the past couple of years off the field have been difficult, however we are committed to ensuring the Sea Eagles are a world-class organisation under consolidated ownership."
The Football Club will continue to have the controlling say in the clubs naming rights, club colours, logo and home ground.