31 July UPDATE from the Big Bath City Bid

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31 July UPDATE from the Big Bath City Bid

Post by OliverH on Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:24 am

OFFICIAL STATEMENT - mods please sticky

NOTE: Please leave questions in the comments. Rather than answer one-by-one, we will answer all questions received by email, social media, forum etc in a further update, by the end of the week.

Update from the Big Bath City Bid

With football returning to Twerton Park, we are pleased to be able to update you on the latest progress towards community ownership.

Over the past two months our lawyers have been working on a "Heads of Terms" agreement: a legally binding document between the current majority shareholders and the Supporters Society that will allow us to relaunch the Bid under a new prospectus. We expect this to be agreed within a few weeks.

In short, the plan is to relaunch the Bid and use the proceeds to increase the Supporters Society’s stake in the club to over 50%, thus making the Supporters Society, a democratic membership organization, the club’s majority shareholder. All community shareholders will automatically become members of the Supporters Society.

If successful, this will be the first phase in a two-phase process towards a financially sustainable community-owned club.

First Phase: A New Board & Redevelopment

During the first phase, it is proposed that a new Board will run the club. The new Board will be a blend of some of the existing board, for their continuity and detailed knowledge about the day to day running of the Club, and the majority of fresh board members with new skills, experience and contacts.  

The Supporters Society, as the new majority shareholder, will hold the majority of voting positions on the restructured board. Representatives of the existing majority shareholders will take up the remaining voting positions (the exact number and composition will be finalised soon). Non-voting board members may also be appointed to provide expertise and assistance as required.

This means that the controlling votes will be held by representatives appointed by and accountable to the Supporters Society, which in turn is democratically accountable to members and community shareholders. In other words, Bath City FC will effectively start to operate as a community-owned club right away.

The new Board will then work to complete a partial redevelopment of Twerton Park (i.e. the north car park and stand area). This will release funds to clear all pressing debts, putting the club on a more sustainable footing.

It will take some time before these funds can be released. For this reason, the Supporters Society has secured working capital facilities from a group of Bid supporters that will enable the Club to run effectively for an interim period of about 2-3 years, which is the expected amount of time required for a proposed partial redevelopment of the Twerton Park site. These facilities will become available upon the successful completion of the Bid.

Second Phase: conversion to a community benefit society (CBS)

Once the debts are cleared, the Supporters Society will then seek fresh finance, if it is necessary, to buy out the existing shareholders and move to the second phase: converting Bath City FC Ltd itself to a community benefit society (CBS) with a new constitution and a fully-elected Board.


Who will serve on the new Board?

Our shared aim is to make the Board much stronger and to professionalise the whole setup and operation, whilst at the same time building up a large volunteer "army" to create working groups to cover the key functional aspects of the Club. We will also appoint a full time General Manager at the heart of club’s operations.

Under the present rules, the Supporters Society’s elected committee has the right to elect Board representatives for a 3-year term. Shane Morgan currently fulfils this role as the Society’s sole representative on the club Board.

The Society committee proposes to elect five representatives to the new Board. Subject to FA and regulatory approval, these will be Nick Thompson, Shane Morgan, Nick Blofeld, Sally Harris and Jon Bickley (see bios below)

The Society committee expects to be able to elect at least one further representative in due course. Representatives of the existing majority shareholders are still to be determined.

Next Steps

We are hopeful that announcing our fresh prospectus and structured two-step plan towards full community ownership will attract even more support from the Bath community. Above all, we are very keen to keep all existing pledgers on board and for you to convert your pledges into community shares once we relaunch the prospectus and reopen the Bid in the next few weeks.

We are also exploring ways to allow existing shareholders to pledge their shares, or the voting rights attached to them, to the Supporters Society and thus help us get closer to a 50%+1 controlling stake in the club.

Thank you again for your patience and commitment to the club. The road has been longer than we first anticipated, but we are all still very excited about creating a genuine, traditional, but community-owned and run football club, in a great sporting city.

Please do come back with any questions and we'll set up an appropriate forum to answer them.  



The Supporters Society’s candidates for the Board

The full numbers and composition of the Board is still being finalised. However, the Supporters Society Committee has pre-approved the following five candidates for election as Board representatives:

Nick Blofeld
Nick is the former chief executive of Bath Rugby and previously served as a trustee of the Bath Rugby Foundation. Since January 2016, Nick has been responsible for driving the community ownership project forward, including developing a business plan and new Board structure. He is now Divisional Director of Warwick Castle, part of the Merlin Entertainment Group plc.

Nick Thompson
Nick is the former managing director of Hull City FC, and has been a football fan for pretty much all of his life.  He saw his first game, between Hull City and Holbeach Town in a pre-season friendly in 1965 or 66. Nick is also passionate about community engagement having created the award winning “KC in the Community” programme and led fan engagement with Hull City. He is chief executive of Bath-based Gradwell Communications and is part of Bath’s business community.

Shane Morgan
Shane already serves on the club's Board of Directors as the official representative of the Supporters Society, as well as serving as the club's Safety Officer. Well-known and well-respected among City supporters, Shane brings vast operational expertise to the Bid team as we plan for a future community-owned club.

Sally Harris
Sally was born and bred here in Bath and works as the Communications Officer at local charity Age UK Bath & North East Somerset. She is a co-opted member of the council’s Bath City Forum, Secretary of Bath Amnesty and a keen activist within several local campaign groups. She also helps to co-ordinate Walking Football sessions for older people in Odd Down and Twerton. Sally is a staunch advocate of community ownership and knows the power that sport has to unite communities.

Jon Bickley
Founder and MD of Bath-based Anthem Publishing, Jon has lived in Bath for 22 years and supported Bath City since 2003. His company employs 21 people locally and was recently named “Independent Magazine Publisher of the Year”. Jon served as Big Bath City Bid chair during the fundraising campaign last summer, overseeing an effort that raised over £300,000.
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OliverH

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Re: 31 July UPDATE from the Big Bath City Bid

Post by Roman Mike on Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:13 pm

Well done to all concerned.
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Re: 31 July UPDATE from the Big Bath City Bid

Post by BathMan on Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:06 pm

So 51% of the club gets the controlling share to people with no real money to invest. the future investment come from manipulating current assets to pay back current debt. Isn't this the plan of the current board !!!

Seems to me its just another take over of a club on its A*SE by people with empty pockets ! or are you bringing the promised £300k into our accounts !!!

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Re: 31 July UPDATE from the Big Bath City Bid

Post by OliverH on Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:41 pm

Thanks for your message BathMan, sorry I didn't have time to include your Qs in the latest FAQ which has just gone live.

I'm not totally clear on your questions - yes the current Board and the Bid team both see redeveloping current assets to pay off debts as the best way to achieve a debt-free community-owned club - we said this back in January - is that what you meant by "isn't this the plan of the current board"?

The prospectus will lay out in detail how the monies raised (which will hope will exceed the initial figure of £300) will be invested.
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