The HMRC Winding Up Order
We have had a constructive meeting with Geoff Moss, asked for feedback from our members and contacted the Football Conference to enquire as to whether our position in the play-offs could be at risk.
Meeting with Geoff Moss: Members of the Board met with Geoff Moss on Saturday before the Kettering game last Saturday to discuss potential options to secure the future of Wrexham Football Club. The discussions, which were constructive but not detailed, revolved around the possibility of making a loan to Wrexham FC or making a bid with the support of other potential investors. We updated our members on Mr Moss request for a loan at our meeting on Monday evening and continue to hold constructive discussions to come up with a solution to the current situation.
The Football Conference: We emailed the Football Conference on Wednesday to enquire as to whether there was any risk of Wrexham FC not being allowed to take part in the play-offs, given the forthcoming winding up hearing on May 11th. We have not yet had a response, but note the statement that has been released on the Football Conferences website and will continue to closely monitor the situation. We also plan to make enquiries into the timeline that Wrexham FC has committed to adhering to.
Special General Meeting (SGM) on Monday, 18th April 2011
Vote on Resolutions A & B: On Monday 118 WST members converged on the Wrexham Lager Club to discuss and vote on two resolutions proposed by the WST Board. Resolution A which puts in place a framework for WST members to measure any future bids that require WST funding for Wrexham FC, The Racecourse Ground and Colliers Park was passed with 250 votes for the proposal, with 1 against and 2 abstentions. Resolution B which now enables the WST Board to call a SGM at 7 days notice instead of 14 days was also passed with 251 votes in support, with 1 against and 1 abstention. In total 252 members voted for the resolutions in person, online or by proxy, a 27% turnout.
Members meeting: With the formalities of the evening over a members meeting followed which included updates on meetings with key stakeholders and potential investors, the progress of the due diligence exercise and an open discussion in regard of the HMRCs winding up order. We note that the following day, the Daily Post reported members hostile reaction to a request from Geoff Moss to loan Wrexham FC £50,000.
The meeting ended with a member asking the Board to conduct an informal vote on three potential options going forward: do nothing, loan Wrexham FC £50,000 and to proceed with a bid. The Board agreed to the request and asked for a show of hands on each option. Members voted unanimously against loaning Wrexham FC money to pay off the HMRC debt and asked the Board to proceed with a bid.
We would like to thank all our members for taking the time to vote on the two resolutions put forward and for providing us with a steer going forward.
WST Board Meeting on Wednesday, 20th April 2011
The Board of the WST then met on Wednesday evening to discuss members feedback and to agree next steps.
Calling a second SGM: The Board noted that members had given it a clear mandate to progress a bid but not to loan Wrexham FC money at this stage. In any event, we also noted that it would now not be possible to loan Wrexham FC any money before the end of the season because our funds are tied up in a 7 (working) day notice account. We also noted that we need to give members 7 days notice of a SGM, which is now not possible given the three bank holidays between now and the end of the season on April 30th.
Business Plan: The Board instead agreed to continue to produce a business plan to secure the future of Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers Park. Based upon the experiences of other clubs in similar positions, we are led to believe that a robust business case could be sufficient to ask the High Court to adjourn the winding up order to provide us with more time to get the investment case right. Only Chester City have been wound up at the first hearing in recent seasons and we understand that they did not contest the case.
Prioritising our workload going forward: The Board met on Wednesday evening to discuss how it could manage its workload going forward and prioritise its time to secure the future of Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers Park. Due to its significant workload the Board has decided that it will ask potential investors to submit documentation in advance to enable it to prioritise meetings and to decide upon which Board member is best placed to attend.
Progress towards understanding Wrexham FCs financial position
The main news this week is that we have completed the first stage of the due diligence exercise.
Due Diligence Exercise: The Board provided an update to its members on Monday evening in relation to progress towards completion of the due diligence exercise. We have now had sight of the management accounts and the forecasts for the 2011/12 season but have been advised that some information is missing and that key areas require further investigation. The next stage of this exercise will involve interviews with club officials to explore areas of concern and to develop a budget for next season.
Update on discussions with potential partners
The main news this week is that we had a productive first meeting with a potential local investor in Wrexham FC in addition to receiving a number of requests for meetings from five other potential investors.
A local businessman: We met with a local businessman who has indicated an interest in investing in Wrexham FC alongside Wrexham Supporters Trust. This was an initial discussion but we are heartened by the possibility that local businesses see the opportunity to work with Wrexham Supporters Trust to secure the long-term future of Wrexham FC.
Friends of Wrexham Supporters Trust: A representative of a group of Wrexham supporters approached us on Friday with a proposal to establish a network of like-minded individuals who have the skills, time and money to invest in Wrexham FC. We intend to explore this proposal during the Easter week and will report back to members in next weeks briefing.
Steve Cleeve: We regret to inform our members that we were unable to meet with Mr Cleeve this week because of Board members work and leave commitments. We do intend to meet with Mr Cleeve and ask our members to be patient as we have a high workload at present and have multiple requests for meetings from a number of parties.
TNS: We received a phone call on Wednesday this week from a representative of TNS who asked for a meeting to discuss the future of Wrexham FC and the Racecourse. We have not yet agreed a date, but propose to ask for further details before entering into discussions.
Ashley Ward consortium: We received a request for a further meeting with the Ward Consortium this week, but have not had the opportunity to meet yet.
Stephanie Booth: We have now received a signed NDA from Stephanie Booth and intend to resume talks in the near future.
Fundraising, Merchandise and Events
Supporters' 8-a-Side: A reminder that the annual supporters 8-a-side tournament takes place at Colliers Park on Easter Monday prior to the Tamworth game. It is a fantastic morning and you may also get the opportunity to play against the Former Players Association - the players you have supported from the stands - which also enters a team.
WST Merchandise: Monday is your last chance to get your hands on exclusive WST merchandise before the end of the season. Items that we have for sale include the Our Club, Our Ground range of car stickers (£1), Red Hoodies (£25), T-shirts (£10), mugs (£5) and car kits (£5), Wrexham FC T-shirts (£10), The Turf mugs (£5), Oh Fluffy Sheep Mugs (£5) and WST baseball hats (£8).
Buckley Reds Football Forecast: The profit from the Buckley & District Reds Football Forecast next weekend will be donated to the WST. Please feel free to download the form from here and print some off for family and friends to enter. It costs just £1 a go and can be returned, without a stamp, to 'Freepost WST'. Many thanks to the Buckley Reds for this generous gesture.
Supporters Direct NewsWST is delighted to announce that Ian Lucas MP has accepted our invitation to attend the launch of Supporters Directs two reports into football governance on May 11th at the Houses of Parliament.
Facebook: Supporters Directs new Fans Page on Facebook will replace Supporters Direct current Group Page. Just visit the new page here and click like to access more articles, videos, photos and debates than ever before. This page also aims to be more interactive, so its an opportunity to share thoughts and experiences with members of other supporters trusts. In particular, there are regular updates about the Football Governance Inquiry.
Fans Weekend: The SD Fans' Weekend which includes the SD Annual Conference and SD Cup will take place in Chester, on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th July 2011. The Conference will be held at The Queen Hotel on the Friday and the SD Cup will form part of a Fans' Day held on the Saturday at the Exacta Stadium, home of Chester FC. Tickets are £37 for members of Supporters Trusts and £42 for non-member. Click here for further details.
Football Governance Inquiry: Supporters Direct is launching two reports to coincide with the conclusion of the government's inquiry into football governance which is due to report very soon - Developing Public Policy to Encourage Community Ownership in Football and Developing Football Regulation to Encourage Greater Supporter Involvement and Community Ownership. Wrexham Supporters' Trust is proud to have been invited to this event following our submission to the Football Governance Inquiry.