The main news this week is that we have received over £200,000 in pledges for our bid to acquire Wrexham FC.
Wrexham Supporters Trust bid to acquire Wrexham FC
We are delighted to announce that we have received indicative offers of support totalling over £200,000 for our bid to acquire Wrexham FC. This includes pledges of over £100,000 from individual supporters and two expressions of interest in investing £50,000 by a local business man and the Friends of Wrexham FC.
Response from supporters: Members of the Trust Board have been overwhelmed by the response of supporters to our campaign. To date we have received indications that individual supporters would be prepared to invest over £100,000 in shares in Wrexham FC, should the Trust be in a position to acquire the club and conduct a share issue. This is a tremendous response from supporters within the first two weeks of the Trust launching its campaign.
Response from the Friends of Wrexham Football Club: As reported above, we were approached this week by the Friends with an indicative offer to invest £50,000 in the current shareholding of Wrexham FC 2006 Ltd. Due to the volume of our work at present the Board did not have the opportunity to discuss their proposal in detail this week, but will do so at its next Board meeting on Monday. We continue to maintain regular telephone and email contact with representatives of the Friends, with whom we are developing good relationships.
Response from local business people: We met another potential investor this week who has shown an active interest in working with us to acquire the club and have corresponded with three other potential parties who all responded positively to our approach. This is in addition to the potential investor, who expressed an interest in investing £50,000 last week. We have also resumed discussions with a potential local investor who was on leave over Easter.
Response from the media: We continue to receive support from our local and national media, including BBC Wales, ITV Wales, the Daily Post and the Leader. BBC Wales online is keeping in regular contact for updates on our ¢‚¬Å“Million Reasons¢‚¬ campaign, which demonstrates the level of national interest in this campaign. The Daily Post today publishes a keynote article from our friends at Supporters Direct in support of our campaign to acquire Wrexham FC.Read it HERE
Ongoing discussions with other potential investors
We met with Colin Poole and Steve Cleeve this week who both offered us a minority shareholding in Wrexham FC and a single seat on the Board. Stephanie Booth has now advised us to progress our own separate bid.
Colin Poole: We reported that the Ward Consortium had resumed its interest in acquiring Wrexham Football Club last week. We met with Colin Poole this week who stated that he planned to make an imminent bid for the club in his own right, with support from interested local business people. He proposes to offer Wrexham Supporters Trust a 25% shareholding in return for £250,000 or a 25.01% shareholding for £300,000.The Trust would also have a seat on the Board. Clearly, the Trust is unable to react immediately as it needs to meet as a Board and consult with members.
Steve Cleeve: We met with Mr Cleeve in the north West prior to the Luton Town game on May 5th to discuss his proposal to take a majority shareholding in Wrexham FC, as reported last week in the Daily Post. Mr Cleeve outlined a number of ideas, including a provisional offer of a 15% shareholding in return for one seat on the Board. However, he has not made a firm proposal at this stage so we have asked for further written details before we meet again.
TNS: We regret to inform members that we have not yet had an opportunity to follow up our telephone discussion with a representative of TNS, but plan to do this coming week now key Board members have returned from leave.
Stephanie Booth: The Trust was advised to progress its own bid by Stephanie Booth this week, which was noted by the Board. We advised Mrs Booth that we would update our members in our weekly briefing.
Further to last weeks briefing and 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.
Leveraged buy-outs (LBOs)
Following discussions with potential investors this week, we also plan to ask potential investors whether they are prepared to match any Trust investment pound for pound - as opposed to funding an acquisition through loans - as we are concerned by the potential for a leveraged buy-out (LBO) which may not be in the best interests of Wrexham Football Club.
The leveraged buy-out of Liverpool by Hicks and Gillett did not work out and the LBO by the Glazer family is creating substantial loan re-payments at Manchester United, which we understand are only sustainable due their ongoing success. Clearly Wrexham is not as successful as either club and may not be able to sustain repayments on any LBO.
We will continue to monitor this situation closely and advise our members accordingly.
The HMRC Winding Up Petition
Like all Wrexham FC supporters, we were relieved to hear the clubs announcement that the monies owed to the HMRC had been paid last week. We understand that the winding up petition brought by HMRC will still be heard by the High Court on Wednesday May 11th, but hope that this will now be dismissed. We will report back to our members in next weeks briefing.
Progress towards understanding Wrexham FCs financial position
Following discussions with potential investors with week, the Board will meet on Monday to discuss the next steps.
Due Diligence Exercise: As reported in last weeks briefing, 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. Subject to approval by our Board and the Directors of Wrexham FC, the next stage of this exercise will involve interviews with club officials to explore areas of concern and to develop a robust budget for next season.
Annual General Meeting and Elections to the Society Board
The Society Board have set a provisional date of June 30th for this years Annual General Meeting. The exact venue, date and time of the meeting will be confirmed to you at least 14 days prior to the meeting taking place.
Elections to the Society Board: If you would like to become involved in the running of WST, with EIGHT vacancies available on the Board this year, now is the time to put yourself forward.
In accordance with the WST Election Policy an Election Supervision Group (ESG) has been set up. The Chair for this group will be Campbell Smith of Chester City Fans United who will be supported by current Board members Mark Williams and Thomas Stanford.
Members should how have been in receipt of the letter from the Secretary with with full details of the election process.
Fundraising, Merchandise and Events
We are delighted to announce that the Buckley & District Reds have donated £659 to the Trust, of which a total of £159 was raised through their weekly Football Forecast and £500 donated from members ongoing fundraising activities. We would like to extend our grateful thanks to all members of the Buckley Reds for their ongoing support and commitment to Wrexham Supporters Trust.
Buckley Reds Football Forecast: Julia Collins won the £50 first prize with 46 points, while Sue Roberts, Vernon Tidman and Graham Price finished in second place and collected a prize of £17 each. The Buckley & District Reds will be contacting the lucky winners directly. We would like to thank our friends at the Buckley & District Reds for organising this fundraising event and for all supporters who participated and helped to raise funds for the Trust.
WST e-Bay: We now have our own eBay account up and running which is kindly being managed by one of our members. So, if you are on the lookout for any Wrexham memorabilia then please add Wrexham_Supporters_Trust_WST to your favourite sellers as items will be added on a regular basis. So far, signed shirts, programmes and WST merchandise have been up for sale - with all money raised going towards WSTs equity fund.
Leafleting: We placed an order for 2,500 leaflets with our printer in Cardiff earlier this week, who arranged to courier them up to the Racecourse ahead of our match against Luton Town. Unfortunately the leaflets did not arrive and we were extremely disappointed not to be able to distribute them to a bumper crowd ahead of our play-off match. We have been informed by our printer that Parcelforce lost the package in Coventry and is currently trying to track it down. Clearly this is now too late for us and we have advised our printer to seek compensation from the carrier.
WST Merchandise: We still have a limited range of merchandise left following the play-off match against Luton Town, which are available for purchase online at www.wst.org.uk. 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).
Supporters Direct News
WST 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.
Daily Post article: James Mathie, Development Manager at Supporters Direct, has written a keynote article in Friday's edition of the Daily Post outlining the financial crises that have plagued football clubs across England and Wales in the last 20 years and the steps being taken by UEFA and the All Party Select Committee into Football Governance to address financial sustainability. Perhaps the most alarming issue raised in the article is that 50 clubs in the top 5 divisions have lost their stadia to holding companies, private individuals or have been evicted or forced to sell up since the Premier League was formed in 1992. Scary stuff!
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. Members of the Wrexham Supporters Trust Board will be attending so why not come along for a chat and an update. 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 looking forward to attending this event next week following our written submission to the Football Governance Inquiry in January 2011.