Redevelopment

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by Peter Newman on Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:36 pm

When the term "Board" is used I assume it is referring to the Society rather than the board of the Ltd Co.
The hybrid structure of the overall club does create some confusion.

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by comrade powell on Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:15 pm

When I referred to the board's reasons for recommending the proposal I meant the football club's board. Unfortunately the Society board have not made clear in their EGM announcement or in what is mentioned on its website what position it is taking. Personally I think that members should be told and I've requested that this happens.
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by BenE on Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:08 pm

Perhaps it ought to be called the Society Committee.Or even Cabinet.
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by OliverH on Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:59 am

BenE wrote:Perhaps it ought to be called the Society Committee.Or even Cabinet.

It was always known as the Society Committee in the past until a previous Secretary had the genius idea to rename it the "Society Board" in official communications, in keeping with its enhanced post-Bid position/prestige...

Regarding the EGM motion (which I've only just seen), my biggest issue is that the feasibility study conditions do not rule out the possibility of the club borrowing in order to fund the upfront costs - in fact, the study even says: "The club’s ownership of Twerton Park may provide the necessary asset backing to secure third party debt for the project."

Nick Blofeld appeared to rule that out during the Q&A, but I would need to see it in writing before I could even consider voting for 3G - I'd rather watch us in the Southern League than vote for more debt.
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by Ashley on Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:41 pm

kermit wrote:
Manchester Romans wrote:I genuinely don’t know how i’ll vote on the pitch issue - the arguments for and against are so well balanced - but isn’t there a compromise solution? Some clubs now have a pitch which combines grass with artificial fibres, offering greater durability than grass but acceptable to the EFL. I believe it is this type of pitch that Sutton plan to install if they win promotion. No doubt they are very expensive but wouldn’t this be worth considering?
I believe that this is what Bristol City have installed, which I assume was deemed necessary to have the egg chasers playing there as well. I doubt very much that it is of a standard that allows hours of use every day, so therefore it would not help our finances........unless of course that mob on the wreck decide to move in with us!! I'll get my coat.

I believe that's called 'Desso' turf and it's pretty common in the top level stadiums.
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by SteveBradley on Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:49 pm

OliverH wrote:
BenE wrote:Perhaps it ought to be called the Society Committee.Or even Cabinet.

It was always known as the Society Committee in the past until a previous Secretary had the genius idea to rename it the "Society Board" in official communications, in keeping with its enhanced post-Bid position/prestige...

Regarding the EGM motion (which I've only just seen), my biggest issue is that the feasibility study conditions do not rule out the possibility of the club borrowing in order to fund the upfront costs - in fact, the study even says: "The club’s ownership of Twerton Park may provide the necessary asset backing to secure third party debt for the project."

Nick Blofeld appeared to rule that out during the Q&A, but I would need to see it in writing before I could even consider voting for 3G - I'd rather watch us in the Southern League than vote for more debt.

There's debt and then there's debt though, Oliver.

The previous type of debt was built up just to keep the team going - which is definitely not a sustainable way to run a club.

If the club borrowed to install an artificial pitch, and made a credible case that it would significantly increase revenues, then that would be borrowing to invest - which would be a very different type of debt IMO.

One is like borrowing to fund your lifestyle, whilst the other is like borrowing to buy a house to reduce your rent payments. Not all debt is inherently bad or to be feared.

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by OliverH on Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:21 pm

I appreciate the distinction, but all debt carries risk and this sounds like a lot of debt.
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by pete mac on Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:31 pm

Our problem is income. This investment would give us a steady income stream. We can't rely on results and the massive efforts of people through all sorts of initiatives to get money in.

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by Mark Tanner on Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:38 pm

I'm expecting at least 500/600 people at the table tennis on Sunday!

In all seriousness though there isn't an alternative to 3G being put in at the moment. I just feel that we are learning to walk as a community club at the moment and that the infrastructure isn't there to have a 3G pitch...yet.

I would never say never to it but at the moment I would vote no as we don't have the data available for how our increased community effort has gone, after 3-5 years and our efforts have failed (introducing a full time GM and 1000BC etc) then yeah invest in 3-4 part time staff members and launch a 3G by all means if the numbers work.

3G pitches also take the spontaneous nature away from football and the weather in this part of the world is hardly extreme - opposed to deepest darkest Wales/Scotland. I feel that we are slowly getting the crowds back to Twerton Park and to divide or potentially lose some of them would be devastating in the short term (you could argue that we will gain lots in the future but again it's speculating). Also playing on Twerton Park would be the norm rather than a privilege/dream for young and non so young aspiring footballers!
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by pete mac on Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:09 pm

Mark, not denegrating the massive work you and others have done and continue to do and maybe we do need more time to see the results. I just think we need a more certain income stream. I love grass and all that you say about the traditions is true for me but our Club is continuing to lose money. We can't keep racking up debt in this way.

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by bonzo dog on Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:09 pm

I'm all for freedom of speech and protests etc... but what alternative is there? What other income stream can the 'Romans Against 3G' propose? Unless they have one of those magic  money trees all governments seem to have when it suits.
Having had a quick look through the development proposal, there's no mention of a car park? If we're going to be a hub of the community and be more involved in Bath as a whole, you're gonna need someone to park........
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by Steve Whites Missus on Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:03 pm

I still can’t get my head round how many people believe if the pitch is put down it will automatically make money.

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by pete mac on Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:40 pm

The assumptions in the report were reasonable. It didn’t assume full on usage and did assume void time and didn’t appear to me to be charging top dollar. But I agree nothing is automatic but doing nothing is a recipe for failure

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by SteveS on Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:08 pm

For many years the club has relied on Directors loans to keep it going year on year. We have now hit the brick wall on this, the league will now longer allow loans. New capital has to be in the form of share issue or gifts. Bath City has run up a huge debt through Directors loans and the time has now come when these loans have to be repaid. The club can only continue to trade at the moment due to a generous loan from a benefactor that was agreed before the new rules came into force.

Therefore, as pete mac says, there is a desperate need for more income. The lump sum from the redevelopment will allow the majority of the loans to be repaid but the club has now reached the point where radical changes are necessary. I am not sure if everyone appreciates how serious the situation is. If we don't get more income things won't just continue as they are and the alternative is one which I hope I do not need to spell out.

If the 3G can be financed without further damaging the financial situation I believe we have to go for it. It is not just a question of the income from 3G alone it is the fact that this will bring more people into Twerton Park and once there the club will have the opportunity to market other income streams to them.

If there are other ways of increasing income to the tune of £80k - £100k per year then we need to hear them, but so far I have not heard any.

At the last game there was a banner saying vote against the 3G. I also seem to remember a banner saying meet the owners recently. Please don't get me wrong, I am not trying to single anyone out here, but as owners you have responsibility and my view is that as community shareholders(owners) we have a responsibility to make the club a viable proposition going forward. If there is another way I would like to hear it but in my book ownership and responsibility go together, you can't pick and choose.

Please think carefully before you vote, this is not just about what surface the club plays on.

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:04 pm

OliverH wrote:
BenE wrote:Perhaps it ought to be called the Society Committee.Or even Cabinet.

It was always known as the Society Committee in the past until a previous Secretary had the genius idea to rename it the "Society Board" in official communications, in keeping with its enhanced post-Bid position/prestige...

...promptly resigning leaving the rest of us - including those on the Society 'board' - constantly confused as to which was which. I only hope that new parenthood has rendered his intellectual faculties as dulled as us older folk. I am doing a flag "Romans for the reinstatement of 'Society' status" next game.
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by cbtroman on Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:35 pm

Can’t say I keep informed on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis regarding the clubs finances but I honestly thought that the big Bath city bid success meant that in the short term at least the club was financially stable??

Longer term, I was under the impression that residential accommodation was what was the key to gaining the income over 5 years with the 3G pitch just a potential side bonus.

So if the club is in real dire straits and 3G is a must I question why I bought my big bath city bid shares! Maybe I didn’t research enough!

On another note i don’t see the evidence for people to play on 3G on a regular basis bearing in mind we have facilities at odd Down and university to compete with too.

Finally it was pointed out that there is no reason why 3G would equal a non competitive club. If the football league don’t allow it then at the very least it’s making the prospect of playing at a higher level harder.

Bristol Rovers used to get regular gates at Twerton of over 6,000 without 3G so it’s stating the obvious I know but the football shouldn’t somehow be second priority to generate income.

Not suggesting the club play roulette and do a Rushden but don’t think it would do any harm to get out of a very uninspiring league!

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:04 pm

comrade powell wrote:When I referred to the board's reasons for recommending the proposal I meant the football club's board. Unfortunately the Society board have not made clear in their EGM announcement or in what is mentioned on its website what position it is taking. Personally I think that members should be told and I've requested that this happens.

Here is the recommendation .
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by comrade powell on Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:02 am

Thanks Marc. I've suggested that this be sent to members as I doubt that many read this forum or read the Society website regularly.
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by SteveBradley on Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:02 pm

SteveS wrote:For many years the club has relied on Directors loans to keep it going year on year. We have now hit the brick wall on this, the league will now longer allow loans. New capital has to be in the form of share issue or gifts. Bath City has run up a huge debt through Directors loans and the time has now come when these loans have to be repaid. The club can only continue to trade at the moment due to a generous loan from a benefactor that was agreed before the new rules came into force.

Therefore, as pete mac says, there is a desperate need for more income. The lump sum from the redevelopment will allow the majority of the loans to be repaid but the club has now reached the point where radical changes are necessary. I am not sure if everyone appreciates how serious the situation is. If we don't get more income things won't just continue as they are and the alternative is one which I hope I do not need to spell out.

If the 3G can be financed without further damaging the financial situation I believe we have to go for it. It is not just a question of the income from 3G alone it is the fact that this will bring more people into Twerton Park and once there the club will have the opportunity to market other income streams to them.

If there are other ways of increasing income to the tune of £80k - £100k per year then we need to hear them, but so far I have not heard any.

At the last game there was a banner saying vote against the 3G. I also seem to remember a banner saying meet the owners recently. Please don't get me wrong, I am not trying to single anyone out here, but as owners you have responsibility and my view is that as community shareholders(owners) we have a responsibility to make the club a viable proposition going forward. If there is another way I would like to hear it but in my  book ownership and responsibility go together, you can't pick and choose.

Please think carefully before you vote, this is not just about what surface the club plays on.

This hits the nail firmly on the head for me.

I have no doubt that the excellent work the club and volunteers are doing to grow the fanbase will work, but it will take years to bear fruit. Other income streams are also being pushed hard e.g. venue rental etc. But the bottom line is that the club was loss-making before the community ownership venture took it over, and turning that around will take time and a lot of effort.

An artifical surface offers a way to bring in potentially significant revenue to the club in the medium-term whilst all those other revenue streams are expanded. It also makes it easier to get more people in Bath down to TP and used to going there - which was something that Maidstone United have stated helped increase their attendances after they changed surface. It could make Twerton Park the home of football in Bath in the public's eye. And I suspect it will give our team a bit of an advantage playing on the surface - which i a seaosn like this would mean the difference between a promotion play-off slot and just missing out as we seem destined to do.

Thw club needs to bring in significantly more revenue to make itself viable whilst it grows its underlying appeal. If not an artifical pitch - which is a model that has been proven to generate income in lots of other places - then what is the alternative ?

Finally - as an aside, I think it's excellent that fans will get to vote on the pitch used. A few years ago decisions like this would just have been taken by a small number of people whether fans liked it ot nor.

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by SteveBradley on Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:13 pm

cbtroman wrote:Can’t say I keep informed on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis regarding the clubs finances but I honestly thought that the big Bath city bid success meant that in the short term at least the club was financially stable??

Yes - because it allowed the most urgent debt to be cleared. But it didn't clear all the club's debt.

cbtroman wrote:Longer term, I was under the impression that residential accommodation was what was the key to gaining the income over 5 years with the 3G pitch just a potential side bonus.

The redevelopment of the ground was to be funded by accommodation, and was designed primarily to give the club better facilities and to clear the remainder of the debt. But you can't expect that project to do everything. To the best of my knowledge it was never about generating ongoing income - as I don't see how it would have stacked up financially to do that and clear the debt and find someone willing to fund the work (what would be in it for them ?).

cbtroman wrote: So if the club is in real dire straits and 3G is a must I question why I bought my big bath city bid shares! Maybe I didn’t research enough!

I don't believe the club is in real dire straits as in about to go under. The Bid was about stabilising it by clearing as much of the debt as possible. But aside from the debt, the club was structurally loss-making before and is still structurally loss-making now - and that will take time to change. The artificial surface is about a major boost to income in the medium term to help with that process.

cbtroman wrote:On another note i don’t see the evidence for people to play on 3G on a regular basis bearing in mind we have facilities at odd Down and university to compete with too.

There is a shortage of all-weather pitches in Bath - as anyone who tries to secure a regular booking can attest to. Most of the University pitches are only available for public hire in the Summer/outside term, as the students use them the rest of the time.

cbtroman wrote: Finally it was pointed out that there is no reason why 3G would equal a non competitive club. If the football league don’t allow it then at the very least it’s making the prospect of playing at a higher level harder.

Artificial pitches tend to have a very defined lifespan, of somewhere in the 5-10yr region. I's love to be proven wrong, but suspect Bath City will not be troubling the Football League within that timespan. even if it did, there would be no point taking a major leap up in costs and standard without the financial structures of the club being addressed first - which is what the artificial surface is about enabling.

cbtroman wrote:Bristol Rovers used to get regular gates at Twerton of over 6,000 without 3G so it’s stating the obvious I know but the football shouldn’t somehow be second priority to generate income.

Where is the evidence that artificial surfaces reduce the quality of the football ? In my experience - and I've seen a lot of football on artificial grass - I think it actually improves the standard in lower leagues, and enables teams to play the ball much more on the ground. In the last week alone I've watched two football matches in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland on plastic grass, and the quality of play was excellent.

cbtroman wrote: Not suggesting the club play roulette and do a Rushden but don’t think it would do any harm to get out of a very uninspiring league!

Indeed. But that will take money. And to stay at the level above will also take money and a club that is much stronger financially overall. An artificial surface is part of the plan to enable that. What else would plug that income gap in the medium term to enable progression to happen ?

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by Peter Newman on Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:28 pm

The original Society bid documents highlighted  that even without a 3G input we would be able to grow income and (despite higher expenditure)  achieve  a non-loss position in around 3 years.  As I have mentioned, previously, some of us questioned the reliability of  those forecasts but were assured that a degree of research had been undertaken in order to justify the  prospectus financial statements.
The fact those  projections have  proven to be unrealistic and  now abandoned is bound, therefore, to cause an element of concern as to the reliability of the 3G costings.
However I do believe the feasibility study does indicate there is scope for a financial benefit to accrue from the 3G option so on that basis  I am happy to support the proposal.  The funding issue, however, is a separate matter.


Last edited by Peter Newman on Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:07 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by OliverH on Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:54 pm

Peter Newman wrote:The original Society bid documents highlighted  that even without a 3G input we would be able to grow income and (despite higher expenditure)  achieve  a non-loss position in around 3 years.  As I have mentioned, previously, some of us questioned the reliability of  those forecasts but were assured that a degree of research had been undertaken in order to justify the  prospectus financial statements.
The fact those  projections have  proven to be unrealistic and  now abandoned is bound, therefore, to cause an element of concern as to the reliability of the 3G costings.
However I do believe the feasibility study does indicate there is scope for a financial benefit to accrue from the 3G option so on that basis ( providing we can find supportive funding ) am happy to support the proposal.

That's a fair point, Peter - the non-3G projections were certainly made in good faith based on the available evidence, including the experiences of other community-owned clubs, and (as I recall) with input from former Hull City MD Nick Thompson, and the community share offer did receive the Community Shares Standard Mark to confirm that it had developed in line with best practices. But clearly they have proved to be optimistic. I agree with Mark Tanner above that the efforts of volunteers and the GM now will take a few years to come to fruition (and a more modern facility to rent out will help enormously I would hope).

I suspect that the data set and methodology behind the 3G feasibility study is more robust than what we were able to achieve in the preparation of the community share offer, because you are focusing on just one cost/income stream, and there are more case studies and statistics out there.

[Separately, one small thing that is niggling me is all the references to the National League banning directors' loans, and how this is supposed to make new income streams urgent. I always understood that the whole point of community ownership was to immediately stop relying on directors' loans, so it's irrelevant that the National League has now banned them. If anything, won't it level the playing field in our favour and make us more competitive, as other clubs can no longer go on debt-fuelled promotion pushes?]

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Re: Redevelopment

Post by BenE on Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:39 am

Other clubs will find ways round the rules.

With regards financial projections, it would be interesting to see the proportion of financial projections that actually come anywhere near the actuality. I imagine that banks get thousands of financial proposals that look great on paper but do not realise their potential. While a few do and even exceed and that makes the whole enterprise (financial crystal ball gazing) look valid.
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by comrade powell on Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:14 pm

Apologies for interrupting the debate with trivia, but Oliver's post just before midnight was the 20 000th on the main Bath City section of the forum!
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Re: Redevelopment

Post by Dodgycarpet on Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:49 pm

ok
a couple of things not mentioned as far as I can see
the redevelopment is essentially a land sell off - ie as the club has done in the past. two differences; this is the last bit of land we have left to sell off and this time we we will get a share of the profit (this is the expertise of green capital or whatever they're called). but it is still a land sell off. the fact there is student accom is a sideline it could be nuclear storage - the point is we are selling off land but getting a share of the profit from the development (how much? dont know).
second - the 3g seems a good idea but the numbers show it pays for ITSELF not to create profit. So we are taking a financial risk to get the community more involved in the club, not to create surplus revenue. not a bad thing necessarily but an important distinction.
third, ok I said there were two things, but this sort of encompasses it all - there doesnt appear to be visibility of a DETAILED business plan, only vague outlines.
other Qs - who will own the community area? I agree best to keep it as a car park than have the strange sculptured steps in the artists impression that will just be used for cider drinking and dropping litter. (Discuss).
who will own (or get the windfall) from the reduced income housing? that wasnt clear. will we sell that land or rent it out?
And yes - what about parking? how will the council view a sporting venue hoping to get crowds of 1000s with no parking?
I've written this hastily as I dont have much time today and it may seem sharper than its meant to be, but it seems we still have to seek out information rather than it being nice clear and easily available.
finally what is the motivation for Blofeld et al? I haven't met them but is it profit, a hobby, or a passion to help the club which they didnt have any regard for before?
Look forward to sensible replies thanks. these are all questions we should be asking and shareholders should be asking. apologies if I've missed stuff.



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