Statement from the club

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Post by Mark Tanner on Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:13 am

There were a few ground improvements made when I went down on Tuesday night, the dugouts had new roofing on them.

Lets hope we can stay at Twerton, we just need a real collective effort to try and raise some money from somewhere. If what few fans we have left are passionate, positive and vocal about our club then it may convince potential investors that we are worth investing in.

If it gets to 6 months time and nothing has been done then we may be forced to sell up!

I'm looking forward to seeing what our largest share holder has to say about it, whether we can propose the community ownership plan again. But the stark reality is if the board don't want that then we're stuck in all honesty!

From a business point of view who is going to invest in a club in decline now, when say in 6 months their money could go a lot further if the club has to declare bankruptcy. That way they would look more like a saviour as they have then properly saved the club and on the sly got their hands on our largest asset, Twerton Park.

Of course 3 points on Saturday will help but will Hemel Hempstead draw the 1,000 crowds back so that we can make a small profit for just that one week?

We need to be mobilising a real supporters fundraising effort if the Society don't/aren't allowed to implement an alternate plan. That's when all the petty, and they really are, petty disagreements that go on in real life and on this forum are put to one side for 6 months to at least attempt to raise a few £1000 which could effect a final outcome.

Lets not beat about the bush, I don't want to see my club die, but we need a real leader either from the club or from one of us if they won't provide it!
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Post by Colin Voutt on Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:20 am

yuffie wrote:I not sure the point you're trying to make. Regardless of what 'most people' may have been led to believe there were clearly developments going on which were aimed at dealing with the club's long term problems. I agree that selling TP appeared to be the basis of the plan but that doesn't mean it was not a realistic strategy. A alternative site would be required, which did not seem to be forthcoming, and which investigation show would be difficult, even with Manda’s connections

Whether it would have reached a point where the full details were made public and then voted on appears to now be just speculation give the boardroom changes.The last Chair would have been very eager to present a plan.


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Post by comrade powell on Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:50 am

Mark Tanner wrote:There were a few ground improvements made when I went down on Tuesday night, the dugouts had new roofing on them.

Lets hope we can stay at Twerton, we just need a real collective effort to try and raise some money from somewhere. If what few fans we have left are passionate, positive and vocal about our club then it may convince potential investors that we are worth investing in.
telling potential investors that appeals by the club are 'ignored' by the fanbase was not the brightest thing to do, even if it made us thoroughly ashamed of our tightness.

If it gets to 6 months time and nothing has been done then we may be forced to sell up!

I'm looking forward to seeing what our largest share holder has to say about it, whether we can propose the community ownership plan again. But the stark reality is if the board don't want that then we're stuck in all honesty!
your second sentence is the key there! The Society was told by at least one of the major shareholders that he would reconsider his opposition to the community ownership project if the board had not come up with a viable alternative within 12 months. Back to that ticking clock!

From a business point of view who is going to invest in a club in decline now, when say in 6 months their money could go a lot further if the club has to declare bankruptcy. That way they would look more like a saviour as they have then properly saved the club and on the sly got their hands on our largest asset, Twerton Park.

Of course 3 points on Saturday will help but will Hemel Hempstead draw the 1,000 crowds back so that we can make a small profit for just that one week? i doubt it, we're playing Maidenhead!

We need to be mobilising a real supporters fundraising effort if the Society don't/aren't allowed to implement an alternate plan. That's when all the petty, and they really are, petty disagreements that go on in real life and on this forum are put to one side for 6 months to at least attempt to raise a few £1000 which could effect a final outcome. of course such a fundraising push would have started 14 months ago had it not been for the major shareholders' statement

Lets not beat about the bush, I don't want to see my club die, but we need a real leader either from the club or from one of us if they won't provide it!
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Post by Mark Tanner on Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:27 pm

*3 points this Sat against Maidenhead would bring back crowds but the not the 1000 we need to make a small profit. We have Gosport then Hemel at home, all 3 don't usually bring many*
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Post by stillmanjunior on Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:57 pm

About 17 of the 20 other clubs in our league don't bring many...
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Post by comrade powell on Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:15 pm

because of our location? forget lansdown, build the new ground in chiswick!
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Post by Eddie Hitler on Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:05 pm

Mark Tanner wrote:We need to be mobilising a real supporters fundraising effort if the Society don't/aren't allowed to implement an alternate plan. That's when all the petty, and they really are, petty disagreements that go on in real life and on this forum are put to one side for 6 months to at least attempt to raise a few £1000 which could effect a final outcome.
I coughed-up a grand last time. I have to say I'm beginning to regret it.
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Post by comrade powell on Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:45 pm

To be fair, Mark, we are talking about a lot more than a few £1000s.
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Post by Mark Tanner on Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:28 pm

A few Gs is better than rolling over. Needless to say looking forward to the developments in the next week or so, once the Society have their say!
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Post by BigChaz on Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:04 am

A few points I would like to make. I'm new here although not new to following Bath city.
firstly, the debt was indeed, close to £1m in the set of accounts approved at the last AGM in December 2013 but these were the May 2012 figures. The last set filed on companies house were 31 May 2013 which are an abbreviated set show creditors of close to £1.1m and you would have to assume that as that was now 18 months ago the current position is worse.
The creditors are going to be mostly directors loans, I would not think the bank has a problem if it has a charge over the stadium. As has been alluded to previously on this thread, the issue is going to be if certain directors require payments of their loans. simple as that I imagine.
In terms of the boards strategy, I don't agree with the general criticism. Its bordering on the impossible job. you have a loss making business that is highly geared. massive loans the non repayment of which requires the continued goodwill of everyone on the board. upset someone, sack them etc and these large creditors then have no reason to loan the club money indefinitely. The club suddenly has a huge financial liability which is imminent and they cannot repay. That situation does mean that making any radical decisions is tricky. if one of the big lenders disagrees then the club has a problem.

On the point of ambition or lackof,  it is worth noting that when we were up in the conference prem playing great football in that first season, thumping Cambridge , holding Wimbledon, thrilling draw with Newport etc, what was the attendance we were achieving.
In the absence of a big away contingent I would estimate that home support was around 800-900.  I do not believe that that is enough to break even.
It just isn't enough revenue, especially with the costs associated with being in the higher division. This is the dilemma anyone who takes over the club faces. For whatever reason the core support even at a good level of football with the likes of Luton, Grimsby, Newport etc visiting the club, as a business, is not viable.
What is the answer to that? I can see why the former Chair and the current board were contemplating a move away from Twerton. I firmly believe that all the directors who have served in the last 5 years have the best interests of the club at heart. The often mentioned move to Lansdown is much criticised. It would kill the club people say. maybe. but where we are we are slowly dying anyway. in the absence of someone coming in with literally millions to invest then I personally think a move is the only other viable option.


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Post by Dodgycarpet on Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:16 am

As I have said before i am staggered the debt has been allowed to get this high.  When it was 750k the board's stated aim was to keep it at that (or reduce it).  What killed that plan? Spending money we didn't have in the conf premier for 2 seasons.  Hence my questions to the board at AGMs etc about budgeting.  To be fair to Manda she realised something had to be done. I did sit down with her to go through stuff (my day job has involved sitting down with many businesses of the same or higher turnover and looking to change things for the better) but felt she wasn't really interested at the time in the questions I was asking (fair enough - her call), but there were clearly flaws in how the club was run previously that she had picked up on.
I understand the board would have been in a difficult situation - but we should never have budgeted to overspend by over 100k a year.  Even if the alternative was to refuse promotion or play young'uns and anticipate finishing bottom.  Don't get me wrong - I fully appreciate and thank those who are working hard to keep the club going and who have done so - and that I am sat 1000s of miles away.  But the financial reality will always catch up and I feel very strongly that any business has to face the difficult decisions - and that the club has shied away from them.  Before we just sold lumps of land off - can't really do that now.  I do wish I was back in the UK as feeling very helpless here!
I am happy to discuss and have noted no-one on here really seems to want to do so - when I have touched on this there are just remarks that it would be foolish to just refuse promotion willy nilly - which is not, of course, what I was saying.

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Post by pete mac on Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:57 am

I think a huge part of the problem is that we fans never really know the full position on finances......just look at the speculation on this thread. How can we talk about solutions without a clear view of what the problem is.

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Post by 2weirdtown on Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:47 pm

The fans in the shape of the Supporters Trust and Steve Bradley were firmly rebuffed by the (then) Board when proposals were put forward.
I guess everyone is feeling rather fatalistic about it all now.
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Post by turnstyle13 on Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:45 pm

Pete - if 'the forum' had full access to the full finances what would that achieve?

I can imagine the numerous forum threads of endless pointless discussion on how much:- the bridge club pay for the hire of the rooms,
we have to pay the conference/fa how much
do we really pay player X's travel expenses to come up from where they live,
OR do we really pay that player that much money


How would you like it if your salary was discussed in a forum like this and whether what you did was value for money?

No didn't think so.
So how full do you want the full financial facts to be to allow you to come to a conclusion?

I agree that the accounts presented at the AGM, are not very helpful since generally they deal with a period of time 18 months gone and don't identify current issues that could be addressed if their was greater transparency.
But if that transparency simply shows what the board, who have taken on the burden of trying to run the ship, are saying; that money out is bigger than money in and that as a result we are in the yeovil then personally I believe them.

Its how we get out of the yeovil that matters and if that means knocking on Paul Williams door and saying I think I can help then please form an orderly queue.

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Post by Twerton Parker on Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:03 pm

It would be interesting to know what it costs to run the club over a season if what I presume is the biggest single expense, the players' wages, was not included in the figure.  If income from the gate and all the other money making activities generates a profit then perhaps all is not lost as there must be other ways of generating the players' wages.

It is interesting to see that the Caterham Grand Prix team have raised through crowd funding the best part of £2.5million in just over a week to enable them to race at the back (and therefore achieve nothing, as they have done throughout their time in Formula 1) of the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.  How come?  It beats me, but there you go.  What I'm saying is this exercise demonstrates that there must be people out there who are prepared to support the little guys and I wonder if Bath City could manage something of a similar nature, albeit on a smaller scale? Finding a separate way to fund the club's biggest expense has to be a priority as the way things are at the moment clearly isn't going to be able to sustain the club for much longer.

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Post by pete mac on Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:05 pm

Absolutely astonished that there was nothing in Today's match day programme about the Board statement. Paul Williams didn't mention it. I don't know what to make of it

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Post by Roman Mike on Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:15 pm

turnstyle13 wrote:Pete - if 'the forum' had full access to the full finances what would that achieve?

I can imagine the numerous forum threads of endless pointless discussion on how much:- the bridge club pay for the hire of the rooms,
we have to pay the conference/fa how much
do we really pay player X's travel expenses to come up from where they live,
OR do we really pay that player that much money


How would you like it if your salary was discussed in a forum like this and whether what you did was value for money?

No didn't think so.
So how full do you want the full financial facts to be to allow you to come to a conclusion?

I agree that the accounts presented at the AGM, are not very helpful since generally they deal with a period of time 18 months gone and don't identify current issues that could be addressed if their was greater transparency.
But if that transparency simply shows what the board, who have taken on the burden of trying to run the ship, are saying; that money out is bigger than money in and that as a result we are in the yeovil then personally I believe them.

Its how we get out of the yeovil that matters and if that means knocking on Paul Williams door and saying I think I can help then please form an orderly queue.

I, for one, don't necessarily want details on every line item. What astonishes me is that there is no overview even - i.e. what is the debt? when are larger creditor payments due? what are the annual running costs? what is the major asset (the ground) worth? and most importantly, what is the plan / strategy?

It would appear from the numbers being bandied about on here (this is what happens when there is no real info), that there are only 2 real otpions. Sell the ground and / or hope that a rich investor pops up. So where is this strategy - who is doing what etc. It doesn't sound realistic at all to expect the debt to be eradicated by fund raising and / or through the gate. Obviously, we all want to see more fans and to get into the virtuous circle of better football = more fans = more money = better players = better football but some simple maths says that this won't clear the debt. £1M / £12 gate money = 83K fans.
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Post by pete mac on Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:56 am

Phil, I wasn't really asking for complete transparency of all the details just a clearer idea of what debt the Club have to deal with by when.

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Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:24 pm

The more I talk to people about that statement, the more stupid it looks. Being snarky about fans' efforts to bring what little money - on top of tickets - and extra supporters they can is a particularly bad bit of public relations. It may be that the statement was a veiled dig at fans who are in a position to invest that sort of money and haven't as yet. Firstly, it read as a dig at all the fans and, secondly, having a dig at possible investors is stupid.

Moving from TP is an unwelcome but possible alternative. However, only a move to the Rec would work. Moving to Lansdown/Odd Down would kill the club through smaller and smaller attendances.

Also, can we make sure that Vincent Tan, Sam Hammam or Peter Ridsdale don't invest? I have had enough of those three to last me a lifetime.
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Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:42 pm

It has just crossed my mind that Kris Stewart, the founding chairman and chief executive of AFC Wimbledon is a mate of mine. He is also a management accountant. Don't celebrate, he has no cash but I am sure I could get him down to speak to the fans. He is also a great advocate of supporters' trusts and community owned clubs. Would there be any interest if I could get him down to talk to us?
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Post by SteveBradley on Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:49 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:It has just crossed my mind that Kris Stewart, the founding chairman and chief executive of AFC Wimbledon is a mate of mine. He is also a management accountant. Don't celebrate, he has no cash but I am sure I could get him down to speak to the fans. He is also a great advocate of supporters' trusts and community owned clubs. Would there be any interest if I could get him down to talk to us?

Would there be interest from the fans ? Probably.

Would there be interest from the club ? Probably not.

There is currently a veto in place from a group of 4 major shareholders on any notion of a community-owned club. Unless and until they're prepared to consider the idea, there is sadly little point trying to push it forward. Bath City is not a democracy where the view of fans carries significant weight.

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Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:07 pm

The club may not be interested but the Supporters' Society and, as you say, the fans may be. I have only known Kris since well after he stopped being chairman so I can safely say that what he and others did at Wimbledon is truly brilliant. Not only was he part of a truly community-owned club right at the start but he was instrumental in resurrecting of a club from dead. Both of those areas of experience may be useful to us in the near future.

Mind you, like me, he is a rampant socialist so politics may have to be off the agenda, Steve ;-)
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Post by SteveBradley on Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:28 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:The club may not be interested but the Supporters' Society and, as you say, the fans may be. I have only known Kris since well after he stopped being chairman so I can safely say that what he and others did at Wimbledon is truly brilliant. Not only was he part of a truly community-owned club right at the start but he was instrumental in resurrecting of a club from dead. Both of those areas of experience may be useful to us in the near future.

Mind you, like me, he is a rampant socialist so politics may have to be off the agenda, Steve ;-)

I've been a shareholder in AFC Wimbledon since it set up, and it is an inspiring story and a great example. Maybe chat to Comrade Powell about what the Society's plans are following the club's statement, and see if getting him down would be of help.

BTW - mutualism/community ownership is much more of a liberal ideology than a socialist one. Socialism would want state-owned clubs. Capitalism wants free-market ones. Liberalism is about devolution and putting the community in charge.... Wink

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Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:36 pm

Oh, yes, I remember you saying that. My brother is one too.

I would quite happily see football nationalised.
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Post by SteveBradley on Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:46 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:Oh, yes, I remember you saying that. My brother is one too.

I would quite happily see football nationalised.

You really are an old fashioned socialist if you think the state is the best answer to any societal ills ! Very Happy

Have more faith in ordinary people and communities. They usually know what's best for their own area better than mandarins in Whitehall do Wink

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