From Despair to Where
This relatively unknown Manic Street Preachers song from the seminal album Gold for the Soul, perhaps sums up how Wrexham fans feel this week. Last week we were all bitterly disappointed to have lost out in our bid to acquire Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers. This week we are hopeful of completing a deal to transfer the football club and its assets into the ownership and control of the community and people of Wrexham. From despair to where sums it up nicely.
So where did we get to this week?
They say a week is a long time in politics, but thats nothing compared to what happened at Wrexham Football Club this week!
Meeting with Geoff Moss: On Monday, 23rd May representatives of the Wrexham Supporters Trust met with Geoff Moss and Jon Harris to discuss the terms of a potential transaction which would result in Wrexham Football Club,
Meeting with Dean Saunders: On Wednesday, 25th May members of the Wrexham Supporters Trust Board had a very positive meeting with Dean Saunders to discuss the proposed takeover of Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers Park. The discussions, which centred around the budget for next season, the signing of players and the stabilisation of the club, were an opportunity for both parties to discuss plans for next season.
In a press statement on Thursday, 26th May the Trust confirmed its plans to honour the budget commitments already made to Dean Saunders to enable him to continue with his pre-season preparation. The Board does not intend to get involved in signing players going forward as long as they are within the agreed budget. This will enable Dean to get on with the day-to-day running of the club without interference from the Board.
Ongoing discussions: Our lawyers continued to have discussions regarding the acquisition of Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers Park throughout the remainder of the week. Due to the complexity of the deal and the demonstrable need to get it right once and for all we were unable to conclude negotiations by the end of the week. In a press statement on Friday, 27th May we asked all supporters to remain calm and patient and provide both parties with the breathing space to complete the negotiations.
As a result we did not go ahead with the planned press conference on Friday, 27th May and will set a revised date once the talks are concluded. Any deal negotiated will be subject to approval by WSTs members at a Special General Meeting (SGM).
The Board met on Monday evening to discuss the immediate next steps and agreed that the following activities would take priority next week.
Stage 2 Financial Due Diligence: The success of Wrexham FC on the field will, to some extent, be contingent upon getting the finances right off the field. With this in mind the Trust has commissioned BDO LLP to conduct stage 2 of its due diligence exercise next week in order to finalise the business plan for next season. This plan will enable the Trust to outline the timescales for balancing the books and enable us to set targets for revenue generation and fundraising activity.
Legal Due Diligence: The Board has also commissioned Cobbetts LLP of Manchester, to conduct legal due diligence next week to assess any legal risks to the proposed acquisition. This is normal practice for any acquisition process and will give the Board and its members assurance as to the assets and liabilities it is taking on. In particular, Cobbetts will also advise on the most appropriate corporate structure for asset locking the Racecourse Ground and Colliers Park.
ESCROW account: Supporters Direct and Cobbetts LLP are in the final stages of setting up an ESCROW account for supporters to deposit money in ahead of a proposed share scheme fund the acquisition of Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers Park. Cobbetts LLP of
We are currently in the final stages of designing a flyer to advertise the scheme, which will go to print next week. Once the flyer has been printed we will be marketing the scheme and contacting everyone who has so far made pledges. Supporters Direct has kindly offered to provide telephone support for the scheme to answer supporters queries, so when the scheme is launched we will advertise contact details. In the meantime, please sit tight.
Fundraising, Merchandise, Membership and Events
Since news broke of Wrexham Supporters' Trust proposed takeover of Wrexham Football Club, the Racecourse and Colliers Park the Board has been inundated by offers of help and fundraising suggestions.
Fundraising: The Board has received literally hundreds of ideas from supporters eager to offer help and support to our proposed takeover via email, Red Passion and Facebook. Some ideas are already on the way to fruition, with some fans already planning a sponsored walk up
Yma o Hyd: The WST version of Yma o Hyd (Still here), which is set to a memorable collage of photographs of Wrexham players from yesteryear is now available on You Tube for viewing. Please feel free to forward this link onto your friends on Facebook so that we spread the word that were still here and still working towards completing a deal to aqcuire Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers Park. We would like to take this opportunity to give our heartfelt thanks to Dafydd Iwan for his permission to use this beautiful Welsh folk song.
Membership: Since the news broke that the Trust was back in the running to acquire Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers Park our membership has shot up by nearly 10% to over 1100 (as of Saturday, 28th May). Evidence from other supporter-owned football club demonstrates that membership of Trusts tends to increase significantly following acquisition. Exeter City FCs Supporters Trusts membership shot up from 400 to over 2000 members after they bought the club.
WST Merchandise: Were delighted to announce that Rob Clarke, proprietor of Mad4Movies, which is based at the Butchers Market has agreed to stock WST merchandise going forward. Rob is a huge Wrexham fan and a big supporter of the Trust, having also been a member of the Wrexham Supporters Association in the not too distant past. Were just in the process of getting some stock down to Rob, which we hope to do this week. Many thanks for your support Rob.
North Wales Credit Union: Last week we reported that we had had a series of meetings with senior officers and Board members of the former Wrexham Credit Union (which recently merged with the other five unions in north
Supporters Direct News
WST would like to thank Tom Hall (Head of Policy and Development) and James Mathie (Development Manager) for their support this week in the development of the proposed share scheme.
Facebook: Supporters Directs new Fans Page on Facebook has replaced 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 and news from Supporters Trusts across
Fans Weekend: The SD Fans' Weekend which includes the SD Annual Conference and SD Cup will take place in
Football Governance Inquiry: Supporters Direct has launched 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. The two reports can be downloaded from Supporters Directs website.
At our Board meeting on Monday we agreed that it is important for the Trust to continue to engage with our political representatives in order to maximise the cross-party support it received for its bid. We will be contacting all political parties in due course, but have the following updates this week.
Ian Lucas MP: We met with Ian Lucas MP this week to provide him with an update on our progress to acquire Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and Colliers Park. Ian has supported the Trust throughout its 9 years and continues to be a source of immense strength and support. Ians support has been invaluable over this period and in particular following the events of last week when we initially received the bad news that our bid had been unsuccessful.
Plaid Cymru: Plaid Cymru councillors were at our public meeting on the 17th May and they recently tabled an emergency motion to the full council asking for Wrexham Council to support community ownership as the only long-term solution for Wrexham FC. In addition the new Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for North Wales Llyr Huws-Gruffydd elevated our cause to the top of Welsh Government by raising the matter with the First Minister to elicit support for a community owned football club. We would like to thank Plaid Cymru for their public display of support for community ownership of Wrexham Football Club, the Racecourse and
Conservative Party Conference: WST Chair, Richard Owen has been invited to present at a fringe event of the Conservative Party Conference entitled ¢‚¬Å“Football and the Big Society¢‚¬, which is being held at
Your questions and suggestions
We received a large number of enquiries this week about whether fans should take advantage of the clubs early bird season ticket offer. We issued the following statement on Friday afternoon to clarify our position.
Early Bird Season Tickets: ¢‚¬Å“Wrexham Supporters Trust is in ongoing discussion with the owners of Wrexham FC (2006) Ltd which are likely to continue beyond the clubs current deadline for the early bird season ticket offer. We anticipate being in a position to extend this offer for a period of one week should we complete the deal as anticipated.¢‚¬
Membership: We would like to welcome all new members to the Trust and ask you to help us spread the word by inviting friends and family to sign up to help us grow our membership even further. Please feel free to forward this email onto your friends or ask them to sign up here. Thank you to existing members for your ongoing support and welcome to our new members who are reading these briefings for the first time.
And finally¢‚¬¦ a footnote
The WST board can confirm that it was contacted by Steve Cleeve earlier in the week, who asked if he could partner us in a deal to buy Wrexham Football Club and for him to become the majority shareholder. When we declined, Mr Cleeve then asked if he could be a minority investor and have a job at the club. We told Mr Cleeve that no decisions could be made at this juncture as the immediate priority is to conclude our discussions regarding Wrexham FC, the Racecourse and