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Author Topic: Community Ownership Bid?  (Read 2673 times)
That Nestor Lorenzo Heade

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« on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:39:12 »

I propose a community takeover bid to acquire STFC from its current owner(s) and install a fan-elected board to oversee the short to long term management and operations of the club.

This would require the production of a share offer prospectus and the issuing of community shares based on 'one member one vote' to achieve the required amount  to secure ownership of the club and provide sufficient working capitol for a period of time.  The prospectus would include the appointment of an interim board to run the club pending the election of a full-time board.

I have no idea what the running costs are, but 10k community shares at £250 each would generate £2.5m, and I reckon the same amount could be generated in donations and grants. Would £5m be enough to secure the ownership of the club and buy some time to install some much needed stability?  Clearly these are back of a fag packet projections and required detailed study.

I know many will point to the examples of where community ownership hasn't worked or has reverted back to private ownership.  But in the absence of any other credible alternative I reckon it's worth a shot, even if for a short period of time, and has the potential to really galvanise the club, the fans and the wider community - and perhaps most crucially reset some of the embedded decision making processes which have gone so wrong for so long and are a genuine threat to our survival.

Who's in?
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Bogus Dave
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« Reply #1 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:44:17 »

We could call it the supporters trust of Swindon town
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jayohaitchenn
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« Reply #2 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:45:11 »

Splitters!
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Nemo
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« Reply #3 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:46:29 »

A lot of work has gone into this in the past through the actual Trust. The finances are very, very difficult, which is probably why the Trust has concentrated more recently on owning the ground.

In theory fan ownership would be great and I'd happily pony up the money, but many couldn't or wouldn't. Football clubs are not, whatever people might think about Power, gold mines - they require almost constant investment even in good times, let alone now when income is near zero.
« Last Edit: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:48:04 by Nemo » Logged
That Nestor Lorenzo Heade

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« Reply #4 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:51:59 »

A lot of work has gone into this in the past through the actual Trust. The finances are very, very difficult, which is probably why the Trust has concentrated more recently on owning the ground.

In theory fan ownership would be great and I'd happily pony up the money, but many couldn't or wouldn't. Football clubs are not, whatever people might think about Power, gold mines - they require almost constant investment even in good times, let alone now when income is near zero.

Yep it's a lot of hard work for sure.  But to quote King Eric (who supported the Bath City FC takeover) - "to surprise others you must surprise yourself first" -
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Nemo
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« Reply #5 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:55:04 »

The Bath City story is great, but that took an incredible amount of hard work and they're a semi-professional non-league club in an exceptionally wealthy area of the country. The numbers involved just aren't in the same ballpark.
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That Nestor Lorenzo Heade

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« Reply #6 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 13:00:55 »

The Bath City story is great, but that took an incredible amount of hard work and they're a semi-professional non-league club in an exceptionally wealthy area of the country. The numbers involved just aren't in the same ballpark.

Agreed, but they're also a small football club in a heavily rugby dominated city.  The catchment area of Swindon is massive by comparison.  We sold shares in Bath City to football fans across the globe, who bought into the story.  I think "the UKs biggest community owned football club" is quite an exciting opportunity, and to be blunt I don't see many credible alternatives at the moment. 
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Red Frog
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« Reply #7 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 13:11:24 »

Assuming you're Steve Mytton, I'm all ears.
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horlock07

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« Reply #8 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 13:12:12 »

Power reckons he can get £7.5m for the club, so that's 30,000 of these community shares, plus the ground is £2.2m so that's another 8,800 shares needed.

Even without day to day costs, paying any staff/players, doing any much needed maintenance to the ground that's c.40,000 community shares that need shifting just to remove Power.
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That Nestor Lorenzo Heade

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« Reply #9 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 13:15:42 »

Power reckons he can get £7.5m for the club, so that's 30,000 of these community shares, plus the ground is £2.2m so that's another 8,800 shares needed.

Even without day to day costs, paying any staff/players, doing any much needed maintenance to the ground that's c.40,000 community shares that need shifting just to remove Power.

You're right, and at that price I don't think it could work.  But arguably it's a buyers market at the moment and I wonder if LP would walk away for a lot less than that, just to be free of the ongoing financial headaches.

Which begs the question, what is the current market value of STFC? 
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Flashheart

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« Reply #10 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 14:23:16 »

I think that while it might be one of the least risky options out there, it is also one of the least exciting. Most clubs do well to break even at best and fan ownership won't change that.
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theakston2k

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« Reply #11 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 14:35:18 »

Agreed, but they're also a small football club in a heavily rugby dominated city.  The catchment area of Swindon is massive by comparison.  We sold shares in Bath City to football fans across the globe, who bought into the story.  I think "the UKs biggest community owned football club" is quite an exciting opportunity, and to be blunt I don't see many credible alternatives at the moment. 
To counter the Bath argument both Portsmouth, Wrexham and even Swansea to an extent abandoned the fan ownership as all it does is maintain the status quo and provides very little in the way of excitement or the ability to move the club forward.

Other than AFC Wimbledon there are no examples of full fan ownership really improving a club in this country, Exeter and Newport for example just seems to muddle around in league 2 with very little in the way of success. In the case of Exeter if they hadn’t sold a couple of players for a decent whack over the past few years they’d probably be struggling now.

A fan on the board seems sensible, supporter ownership no.
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That Nestor Lorenzo Heade

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« Reply #12 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 14:54:08 »

To counter the Bath argument both Portsmouth, Wrexham and even Swansea to an extent abandoned the fan ownership as all it does is maintain the status quo and provides very little in the way of excitement or the ability to move the club forward.

Other than AFC Wimbledon there are no examples of full fan ownership really improving a club in this country, Exeter and Newport for example just seems to muddle around in league 2 with very little in the way of success. In the case of Exeter if they hadn’t sold a couple of players for a decent whack over the past few years they’d probably be struggling now.

A fan on the board seems sensible, supporter ownership no.

These are fair comments, and I agree there is probably no solution better than having a benevolent owner with deep pockets and a strong sense of community spirit.

But these are few and far between at the moment... a mate works at Oakwell Sports Advisory (a business that specialises in buying and selling football clubs) and when I asked him what the chances of finding a buyer for STFC he replied "nobody wants to catch a falling knife at the moment.... all the buyers are waiting for the storm to pass".  But how long can Swindon afford to wait... even Clem seems to have gone quiet.

Community ownership could be an interim measure, to avoid the worst case scenario of us going out of business, and pave the way for a new owner with some protection measures in place with regards the ground, a fan on the board etc. 

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RobertT

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« Reply #13 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 15:03:55 »

To counter the Bath argument both Portsmouth, Wrexham and even Swansea to an extent abandoned the fan ownership as all it does is maintain the status quo and provides very little in the way of excitement or the ability to move the club forward.

Other than AFC Wimbledon there are no examples of full fan ownership really improving a club in this country, Exeter and Newport for example just seems to muddle around in league 2 with very little in the way of success. In the case of Exeter if they hadn’t sold a couple of players for a decent whack over the past few years they’d probably be struggling now.

A fan on the board seems sensible, supporter ownership no.

I think you are right and wrong in equal measure.

Does it provide a long term framework to push a club on, it seems the evidence suggests not.  Most clubs eventually sell up t private investors.  The clubs abroad who do this at scale tend to also have huge sponsorship deals to provide the real finance.

Does it mean it is not a viable option for a defined purpose, no.

What could work well is a project designed to take control of the club, buy the ground and create a stable and viable asset that private investment can then be sought for.  At the moment we have a chancer who would likely sell to anyone, and the only people interested will be looking at a distressed business like vultures.

So maybe frame this as a short to medium term salvage operation with an ultimate goal to sell the business in a few years and everyone then gets the opportunity to decide whether to take the proceeds at sale or re-invest and won a smaller share in the club or donate to a fund held in Trust to finance community aspects/the ground in the future.
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horlock07

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« Reply #14 on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 15:15:52 »

I think you are right and wrong in equal measure.

Does it provide a long term framework to push a club on, it seems the evidence suggests not.  Most clubs eventually sell up t private investors.  The clubs abroad who do this at scale tend to also have huge sponsorship deals to provide the real finance.

Does it mean it is not a viable option for a defined purpose, no.

What could work well is a project designed to take control of the club, buy the ground and create a stable and viable asset that private investment can then be sought for.  At the moment we have a chancer who would likely sell to anyone, and the only people interested will be looking at a distressed business like vultures.

So maybe frame this as a short to medium term salvage operation with an ultimate goal to sell the business in a few years and everyone then gets the opportunity to decide whether to take the proceeds at sale or re-invest and won a smaller share in the club or donate to a fund held in Trust to finance community aspects/the ground in the future.

Even with that you are talking in the region of £5-10m to get the assets in hand. Not saying that the club is remotely worth the £7.5m suggested by Power, but ultimately he is going to want some cash and as it stands he owes a small fortune to Standing, Clem and possibly others we don't know about.

I seem to recall the Trust suggesting that some sort of Statement would appear from them this week, interested to see what that says. 
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