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Post by Too Late... on Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:54 pm

I take it that this is an Official statement so here goes:

Marc Monitor wrote:We have been unable to reach any halfway house agreement with the club’s majority shareholders with the money to hand, so instead we remain focused on raising the minimum £750,000 figure originally envisaged.

It would be interesting to hear a statement from the majority shareholders in response to this statement and where they are with their current discussions with potential buyers/investors.


Marc Monitor wrote:grant-funding organisations of another £300,000

As there are only so many grants available, would this affect any future grants you will be relying on?


Marc Monitor wrote:We remain in ongoing contact with the majority shareholders and if circumstances change in the short term we will be as supportive and responsive as possible to ensure the security of the club, as long as it goes hand-in-hand with the mandate you’ve given us for irreversible shift towards community ownership.

Currently, being the majority shareholders, it is their club and if they want to sell out or even declare the club no longer a going return, they are perfectly within their rights to do so whatever anyone elses opinion. This statement sounds like you are saying to them "If you don't do what WE want, and make YOUR club OUR club, on OUR terms, and when WE are ready we will threaten you with, with, with..."  

I wonder if that sort of rhetoric would have got a better response when the supporters previously bought the club back from Foster!

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Post by Marc Monitor on Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:14 pm

Too Late... wrote:I take it that this is an Official statement so here goes:

I appreciate that should have probably made that patently obvious but, yes, it's an official statement.

Marc Monitor wrote:We have been unable to reach any halfway house agreement with the club’s majority shareholders with the money to hand, so instead we remain focused on raising the minimum £750,000 figure originally envisaged.

It would be interesting to hear a statement from the majority shareholders in response to this statement and where they are with their current discussions with potential buyers/investors.

Wouldn't it, though?


Marc Monitor wrote:grant-funding organisations of another £300,000

As there are only so many grants available, would this affect any future grants you will be relying on?

Don't know, I am afraid. I have pulled back somewhat from the Bid team to concentrate on work within the Supporters' Society.


Marc Monitor wrote:We remain in ongoing contact with the majority shareholders and if circumstances change in the short term we will be as supportive and responsive as possible to ensure the security of the club, as long as it goes hand-in-hand with the mandate you’ve given us for irreversible shift towards community ownership.

Currently, being the majority shareholders, it is their club and if they want to sell out or even declare the club no longer a going return, they are perfectly within their rights to do so whatever anyone elses opinion. This statement sounds like you are saying to them "If you don't do what WE want, and make YOUR club OUR club, on OUR terms, and when WE are ready we will threaten you with, with, with..."  

I wonder if that sort of rhetoric would have got a better response when the supporters previously bought the club back from Foster!

Depends on your persuasion as to how you read it. To me, it looks like it is being as open as possible while still saying that the Bid team is committed to community ownership which is kind of the whole point of the Bid. The Bid team can't say "We will be as supportive and responsive as possible to ensure security of the club even if this means the club being run by Xi Jinping which is the complete opposite to the mandate given to us by the supporters to carry on towards total community ownership, being the principal aim of the Bid.
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Post by OliverH on Sat Oct 24, 2015 4:23 pm

Well said Marc - I'd just add that, re: grants, the business plan laid out in the prospectus does not in anyway "rely" on future grants. Yes, we would be more likely to be able access grant finance as a community-owned club (most likely for infrastructure investment), but accessing grant finance now in order to reach the £750K target in no way affects the future business plan.
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Post by SteveS on Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:55 pm

Too Late says it would be interesting to have a statement from the major shareholders giving an update on where they are with discussions with potential buyers / investors. I agree, but as we have been waiting 3 and half years for this I would not hold your breath. There was supposed to be a 3 year plan during which time the Directors would put forward proposals to the shareholders that would map out the long term future of the club. The 3 years was up some months back and there has been absolutely nothing. The Board cannot even fulfill their statutory obligations to hold an AGM, presumably one of the reasons for this is they do not want to face difficult questions.
The club does have other shareholders whose shareholding may not be so great as the 5 major shareholders but this is still hard earned cash that they have put into the club and they deserve respect.
If the Board had come up with proposals for a way forward that everyone could have backed then their may have been no need for the 'Bid' in the first place, certainly as far as I am concerned it has been born out of a lack of direction from the Board.

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Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:58 pm

Happy to use statement in the programme if that's ok (or slightly differently worded if anyone wants to amend it). Please let me know Smile
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Post by comrade powell on Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:06 pm

Thanks, Mark. I'll check and confirm tomorrow.
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Post by davebart on Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:21 am

I am concerned that official statements are being made on people's personal accounts. I think the official statement should be a sticky and any comment within the forum on a different thread so that it is clear that people are responding for themselves and not officially.

If anyone responds in an official capacity they should say so.

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Post by Marc Monitor on Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:47 pm

I am happy with that, Dave. I did stress that it was an official statement posted by me rather than one from me. I also stated that I had stepped back from the Bid team (and, as such, all statements from myself were, by definition, personal). I actually waited to se eif there was going to be an official release of the statement on here before I posted it but it didn't appear so.
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Post by comrade powell on Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:48 pm

I'd like to clear up a couple of things. Marc copied and pasted an update which had been emailed to Bid supporters on Saturday - those offline should be receiving it in the post this week. Although it's perhaps a moot point, this was not an official Bid statement - it does not appear on the official website. However, the updates will hopefully be covered in the Chronicle this week and it may well be that they will also appear on our site.

I agree with davebart's points. Obviously someone has to post a statement under their name but they should state which capacity they are acting in. However, if the intention is for responses to be made on a separate thread, the original will have to be locked, with a request sent to the forum moderators to do this.

Finally, I hope forum members have no problem with the Bid team occasionally using the forum to publicise things. The Bid website is the place to find all the latest news, but I usually ask the rest of the team if it's ok to post things on here which may be of particular interest. Likewise, there was no problem in posting a statement recently from the majority shareholders..

http://bathcityfc.forumotion.co.uk/t930-statement-by-the-majority-shareholders

Martin Powell - Bid steering group member
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Post by Marc Monitor on Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:19 pm

I apologise, I was posting the statement in the same manner that I would post stuff from the club website or from the Chronicle for those that hadn't yet seen it. I can see that, with my involvement in the Bid, it may not have been clear that it wasn't the Bid team posting it.

The reason I posted it was because there had been a lot of speculation, some of it unhelpful, about what was going on with the Bid so I thought that getting as definitive statement on here would add some facts to the discussion and lessen speculation.
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Post by SteveBradley on Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:06 am

Too Late... wrote:
Marc Monitor wrote:We remain in ongoing contact with the majority shareholders and if circumstances change in the short term we will be as supportive and responsive as possible to ensure the security of the club, as long as it goes hand-in-hand with the mandate you’ve given us for irreversible shift towards community ownership.

Currently, being the majority shareholders, it is their club and if they want to sell out or even declare the club no longer a going return, they are perfectly within their rights to do so whatever anyone elses opinion. This statement sounds like you are saying to them "If you don't do what WE want, and make YOUR club OUR club, on OUR terms, and when WE are ready we will threaten you with, with, with..."  

I wonder if that sort of rhetoric would have got a better response when the supporters previously bought the club back from Foster!

Two personal thoughts from me (not speaking in any capacity)

I think you're reading a negative interpretation into the quote you've posted there TL. The entire raison d'etre of Supporters Society's is to pursue democratic means for fans to have a direct say in the clubs they support. Our Society has also been given a clear steer by its members that it should seek to fulfil the aim of community ownership. I personally don't see anything wrong with the Bid team stating that it is keen to assist with the security of the club, whilst at the same time reminding everyone of its core purpose and the mandate it's been given.

Also - the club does not belong to the majority shareholders in the way you suggest. The club belongs to everyone who has shares, and as SteveS has said all current shareholders deserve to be treated with respect on that basis. Secondly, the majority shareholders are not legally entitled to do whatever they want with the club. Major decisions affecting it - e.g. selling the ground, selling the club etc - would need a 75% majority amongst voting shareholders. So they are not legally entitled to sell the club without persuading a significant chunk of the other shareholders. And nor would they be able to just declare the club no longer a going concern on a whim.

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Post by OliverH on Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:06 am

Agree with SteveB (also in a personal capacity) - that interpretation is rather uncharitable to say the least.

The Bid raised £300K in pledges and a lot of goodwill based on A) the principle of community ownership and B) a particular approach and timeline to achieving community ownership as laid out in the community share prospectus launched on June 2.

I personally understood this to mean that the Bid team would be flexible about negotiating changes and compromises to B) as long as the principle of A) was upheld.

If they abandoned A) then I think it's a fair assumption that a large proportion of the £300K pledges made by people putting their money towards A) would evaporate. I doubt that there is much appetite to simply bail the club out, but I could be wrong.
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Post by comrade powell on Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:50 am

OliverH wrote:I doubt that there is much appetite to simply bail the club out, but I could be wrong.

According to the majority of the responses to the recent Bid questionnaire, you are most definitely correct!
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Post by Too Late... on Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:51 pm

SteveBradley wrote:Two personal thoughts from me (not speaking in any capacity)

I think you're reading a negative interpretation into the quote you've posted there TL. The entire raison d'etre of Supporters Society's is to pursue democratic means for fans to have a direct say in the clubs they support. Our Society has also been given a clear steer by its members that it should seek to fulfil the aim of community ownership. I personally don't see anything wrong with the Bid team stating that it is keen to assist with the security of the club, whilst at the same time reminding everyone of its core purpose and the mandate it's been given.

Accepted. But my opinion is that The Bid are not in a position to make demands...

SteveBradley wrote:Also - the club does not belong to the majority shareholders in the way you suggest. The club belongs to everyone who has shares, and as SteveS has said all current shareholders deserve to be treated with respect on that basis. Secondly, the majority shareholders are not legally entitled to do whatever they want with the club. Major decisions affecting it - e.g. selling the ground, selling the club etc - would need a 75% majority amongst voting shareholders. So they are not legally entitled to sell the club without persuading a significant chunk of the other shareholders. And nor would they be able to just declare the club no longer a going concern on a whim.

I'm afraid that although you believe all of those things, the current state of affairs mean that they aren't necessarilly true. Just as you would say that my comments were a tad negative towards The Bid, I would point out to you yet again that you have just stated why (to me at least) the Bid won't change the long term future of the club. I looked at last years shareholder list and it would appear that even at a glance the names contained would mean that already at least 90% of the shares are owned by supporters and that scenario has been there for over 10 years now since the supporters originally took over the club for the second time. That hasn't kept the club out of trouble, indeed the debt has grown at an irresponsible rate during that time under the control of SUPPORTERS! And even if you manage to drag this Bid out (I see you've given up on the Crowdfunder despite extending it's end date twice) until you get the £750,000 the Community Club could still be in @half a million £'s of debt.

But to also just claim that a 75% shareholder vote would stop any of the scenarios that I pointed out in my original post is laughable. The fact is that several decisions by those majority shareholders would not need anyones vote. The majority shareholders could simply sell their shares to several different people, or even just one person and that means that the Club has been sold and that/those person/s would then technically own the Club (any claims to the contrary and I will have to again ask "What was the point of the Foster buy-back?).  

And as for the Club being declared no longer a going concern? The only reason the Club is currently trading is that the current board/majority shareholders made a statement in the last published accounts that they are willing to continue subsidising the club (but only for a limited time). That statement was in response to the auditors questioning the Clubs ability to continue trading with the losses they continue to make. It would appear that the same statement will also appear in the next published accounts because if they withdraw that statement at any time then the Club would immediately go into administration. Even if they didn't do that it would only take one of the Clubs creditors to lose patience and again the Club would quickly fall into administration. Even just one supporter/shareholder (maybe ONE majority shareholder) could theoretically take the club down that route also...

So what the majority shareholders do is absolutely crucial to everything, and yes, their decisions are currently the law according to the future of Bath City Football Club Ltd. I use that title because when it comes to business shareholders deserving respect doesn't even come into it, ask Volkswagon. In fact, if any respect is/was due then the football club should have been shown the respect it deserved many years ago. With those 2 historical supporter takeovers the opportunities were there for all of this to be sorted. None of those supporters/shareholders gave the Club the respect it deserved by considering and acting upon it's long term future! They just allowed the Club to continue on its road to ruin. Those same people are now asking other people to bale them out (and asking for respect) and some of those same people are actively involved in promoting the bid.

I was going to stop there but (if only to try to get people to learn from the mistakes of the past) I would just like to add one more scenario. I would lke to point out that had the Clubs supporters acted on it's problems several years ago and actually created an (even relatively) debt free situation, then turning the Club into a Community Club would have been easy-peasy in contrast to this effort. There would only have been around £400,000 of shares to get funding for...

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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:03 am

There are some things in your post that I - talking for myself - entirely disagree with and some that I agree with. What I haven't seen in your posts challenging the past running of the club as well as the present running of the club by the majority shareholders and the running of the Bid is your alternative for moving the club ahead.
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Post by OliverH on Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:39 am

The Bid is not "making demands", nor is there an antagonistic relationship with between the Bid team and the current Board.

It's just that if a new solution arose which completely closed the door to community ownership, there isn't much we could do to help, as community ownership is the basis on which we've raised £300K in pledges and is the reason we're even in the conversation at all. It's completely overblown to talk about "threatening" or "making demands".

Neither is anyone denying that "what the majority shareholders do is absolutely crucial to everything".

You are correct that the majority shareholders could sell their own shareholdings, of course - I think SteveB may have misread "sell out" as "sell the club/ground" (as I did at first). The difference post-Foster is that you now have a democratically-run Supporters Society & Supporters Club holding c. 20% of the shares between them. Major changes to the club e.g. ground sale require a 75% yes vote of those present in an EGM, I believe. So "selling out" would just create a new majority shareholder or shareholders, not a new owner who could do whatever they wanted.

I believe you are also correct re: declaring the club no longer a going concern (although let's hope it doesn't come to that!)

Would a successful Bid change the long-term future of the club, when we've been down the supporter buyout path before? It's worth remembering that there is a difference between supporter ownership and community ownership - specifically, the one member one vote model of democratic participation, including elected boards.

I'm not saying that this would magically secure our future on its own, but this model is less likely to produce a situation where a handful of directors come under pressure to pump more and more of their own money into the club as loans in order to keep the fans happy.


Last edited by OliverH on Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:46 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added the bit about post-Foster buyout)
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Post by Too Late... on Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:56 am

Marc Monitor wrote:There are some things in your post that I - talking for myself - entirely disagree with and some that I agree with. What I haven't seen in your posts challenging the past running of the club as well as the present running of the club by the majority shareholders and the running of the Bid is your alternative for moving the club ahead.

I'm sorry, very very sorry. Not for you but for the Club because collectively, every one involved with the running of the Club just doesn't get it!

You repeatedly ask people what their alternative is as if you have the only answer, ie the Bid. The Bid will not deal with the issue that threatens the Club because the Bid cannot see the issue that threatens the club. In fact the Bid proposes to continue spending money the same way as the current supporter group does. The last 18 years of the Clubs history tells us that a club takeover in any form hasn't changed anything. Each time the success was that the Club changed apparent ownership. The Bid is just another way of delaying the inevitable.

The Club (currently run by supporters) is continuing on its merry way at this precise moment, spending money that they cannot afford and continuing to increase the debt. How much I don't know but if that 11 Freunde article has any truth in it then (about players wages) it will be a lot. So much that even if the Bid finally reaches the target figure in 4/5 months then the debt will have increased by another £50,000 plus. Past financial history shows that this figure is the average and it means that the business plan of the Bid will already be out of date (so the relaunch target figure should rise to £800,000 plus?). The bid, clutching increasing attendance figures out of the air say that this will be the answer. We've heard that lots of times before and oh yes, that HAS worked for the last 18 years hasn't it?

The innevitable is that the club has got to stop spending beyond it's means whoever owns it be that supporters, supporters or even supporters (in any guise). It should have started to do that many years ago.

And it has to start doing that TODAY!








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Post by OliverH on Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:31 am

I agree with much of what you say, and the Bid has from the start said that the club has to spend within its means.

As you point out, the business plan in the prospectus lays out the way in which we think we can *grow* that means and thus support the current level of football.

What is interesting is what will happen if that does not pan out. Under a coop-style model, more directors' loans to make up the shortfall are simply not an option - who would offer them?. We could maybe go to the bank and extend the overdraft, or take out loans. But all of these decisions would be directly accountable to the club's members, on a one-member one-vote basis.

In other words, the entire fanbase (or membership anyway) would be equally responsible for making those tough decisions. Living within our means would become less of a choice and more of a necessity.
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Post by pete mac on Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:10 am

It's great that the bid is back up and running again!

And the news of people like Nick Blofeld coming to join us is absolutely brilliant. He has a good track record of involvement with a successful sporting set up.

A group of us are raising funds via this:

http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/bigbathcitybid/?t=Easyfundraising-li&v=a&u=225XVU&=

Please join in if you can.

It's a painless way to help raise a few quid......there are 8 of us so far.......

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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:12 pm

Too Late..., Oliver has alluded to this somewhat but you appear to be conflating a supporter-run model in the way it is run now with a democratic one-member-one-vote community ownership model the Bid is proposing with regulations, mandates and answering to the members.

Personally, I think the Bid is the only game in town and, crucially, even if we had a rich sugar daddy owning us, I would still think that. It's the future of running football clubs. While there have been some issues with it (just as there is in many models of football club administration), there have been a lot of great successes but the main point is that those successes and failures have been due to the community members rather than the capriciousness of one or a group of businessmen.

People have suggested that certain other partly owned community ownership models are better such as the Swansea City model (which, it has to be said, is a fantastically run club and probably the best in the top two or three divisions) and the German model. It has to be said that the former was a fortuitous coming together of circumstances, the involvement of the council in building the stadium and, indeed, the move fro the Vetch. This was on top of, of course, the community trust involvement. The latter is governed by German law and, as such, there is a more receptive context for a such a club to be successful.

For Bath City, in our position, I think that a wholly community owned club such as AFC Wimbledon, Exeter City or Portsmouth is the ideal model. I think that most would be very happy to be in a community owned club in League Two in our own stadium.

Lastly, Too Late..., you do have a lot of good ideas and a clear focussed idea of how the club should be run (although you haven't quite fleshed out the bones of the direction you would take). On the assumption that you couldn't put these plans into action yourself - and I am only assuming this, this sort of thinking would be very useful within the Bid.
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Post by OliverH on Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:39 pm

(Yes this did get me thinking - if there *was* an election for the board, I'd be more inclined personally to vote for someone with Too Late's views than someone promising "League Two at all costs"!)
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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:26 pm

I hope you don't think that I was advocating "League Two at all costs", Oliver? Wink

As it happens, some of my favourite football watching experiences were in Division 4 (in old money) but the one thing that did teach me is that upward trajectories do not necessarily guarantee a better time watching football. For me, League Two would be great for Bath City but a safe, secure community-owned long-term future is above all else.

I also agree that the more people advocating sensible housekeeping at a club is to the benefit of the club.
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Post by BenE on Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:24 pm

My understanding is that a community owned and run club cannot be run at a loss. A break even budget has to be set.

Furthermore it is my understanding that a community club can generate more money because it is used by the community throughout the week.

The £750K to be raised includes £260K for running the club for the first year. In that year you will see what income can be raised and budget the next year accordingly.

And this is why a community club take-over is different to previous fan buyouts.

I have to say that if it isn't different then there is no point.

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