Nathan Tinkler has successfully taken ownership of the Newcastle Knights, with 97 per cent of the club’s members voting in favour of the mining magnate’s offer at an extraordinary general meeting.
He only needed a 75 per cent majority at last night’s meeting at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre to agree to two constitutional amendments which make it possible for him to take over.
The purchase of the NRL club is the first time it has been owned privately, having been membership-based, community owned since its founding in 1988.
When Knights chairman Rob Tew made the announcement that two special notion had been carried with a 97 majority after an hour-long ballot, the crows gave a standing ovation, erupting in applause and cheers of “New-cas-tle, New-cas-tle”.
”It is a resounding successful proposal for the Tinkler Sports Group,” Tew said.
”In order to succeed the Tinkler Sports Group needed 75 per cent plus and as you can see they’ve clearly done that. From the outset, it’s been the board’s imperative to get the best deal for this club and this vote tonight is an historic vote in the history of this club … At 97 to three on both resolutions, we continue to be a united club.”
It is estimated by security at the meeting that about 1500 members attended the meeting.
In a show of hands before the official voting, less than 10 of the audience members seemed to vote against Tinkler’s takeover and the ballot, conducted under the supervision of John Campion and Sean Mahoney from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is believed to have had 2500 votes lodged and counted – 800 last night and another 1700 by proxy.
Tinkler Sports Group executive chairman, Ken Edwards said the decision was a nig step forward for the club.
”What a night, hey! It certainly is history,” he said over the applause.
”When we spoke to about 800 members a few nights ago, I said at the time that in my view there were two heroes in all of this.
“One was Robbie Tew and the board of the Newcastle Knights who have done an outstanding job representing your interests and making sure this club is the very best that it can be.”
”The other was Nathan Tinkler,” he laughed, “who very generously agreed to all of the terrible things that Rob asked him to agree to.
“Well, I think we can now accommodate a third hero to this story, and that’s the members, so thank you.”
Michael Hill, who is a life time member and long serving chairman after originally founding the club said he was “overwhelmed” with the result.
Edwards said Tinkler, who was not present at the meeting, was made aware of the result and was “well pleased.”
NRL chief executive David Gallop praised the decision by Knights members and wished every success to the new owner.
Tinkler wants to make the Knights part of his “Team Newcastle” sporting super club, after saving soccer club the Newcastle Jets from closure last year and in February he withdrew his offer for the Knights because of delays in the process.
Image: The Herald Sun