A group of sponsors and voting members tabled 116 signatures to chief executive Andrew Hill, formalising an extraordinary general meeting to remove Anderson, Ballesty and Dunn.
But Khoury’s immediate focus will be to heal a club seemingly at war with itself as the Bulldogs try to climb the NRL ladder under Barrett, who is in the final weeks of trying to help Penrith to a premiership as one of Ivan Cleary’s assistants.
I want to call for unity from all groups. We all love the Bulldogs.
“I want to call for unity from all groups,” Khoury said. “We all love the Bulldogs.
“The message is unless we make the current constitution work, this is going to keep going on and on despite who’s on the board. That would be unfortunate to the real Bulldogs person, whether you’re a sponsor, member or fan.
“Ultimately, we want to be involved with this club so we can make the finals and win a grand final sooner rather than later. But we have to be realistic, united and reasonable.
“Our CEO Andrew Hill is in regular contact with [Barrett] and reassured him what’s happened in the boardroom will have no impact.
“He’s very excited about coming to the Bulldogs when his commitments with Penrith finish, just as we are, and we hope he can bring some of that magic with him to the Bulldogs.”
Barrett has regularly said he remains committed to the Bulldogs, who signed the former Manly coach to a three-year deal after parting ways with Dean Pay this year.
The Bulldogs missed out on one of their primary recruitment targets when Charlie Staines, who has scored six tries in two NRL games, re-signed with Penrith this week. The club still has a number of roster spots available and will escalate its pursuit of Staines’ Panthers teammate, Matt Burton.
The club is also speaking to candidates to fill the three board vacancies to serve alongside Joe Thomas, Adrian Turner and Peter Mortimer. Thomas has been named deputy chairman.
“There’s really an opportunity now to get behind the board, we will listen to you and we will meet you despite COVID,” Khoury said. “If we can’t have the four planned member forums a year, we will work it out if we can do it in members of 50 or 100 – or even online.
“A lot of the membership know I’m easily accessible. The team I’m with are committed to that as well.
“The board is really grateful to Lynne, John and Paul for their contributions, and their decision to stand down was to avoid an EGM and destabilise the club.
“Each of them had a tremendous passion for the club and contributed a lot while on the board. It was a selfless decision that was made to give the club some clean air to move forward with a new coaching staff coming on board.”
Khoury ran as part of Anderson’s ticket at the volatile 2018 elections, which brought longtime chairman Ray Dib’s tenure to an end.
He has been an influential figure in rejuvenating the Bulldogs’ junior league pathways, and insisted he will remain involved with the grassroots system, in which he has two children playing.
“It’s very much part of my upbringing and we’ve worked very hard on our junior league numbers,” Khoury said. “We have five Australian Schoolboys in our pathways from junior league and we’ve made finals in Harold Matts and SG Ball.
“I want it to be remembered I came in as a Canterbury man from the membership and if I leave, I leave respected and remain active in the community and Canterbury football club.”
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Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.