Sunday, 29 May 2011 19:31

Members Briefing 13

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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 that’s 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, Colliers Park and the Racecourse moving forward in the ownership of its supporters and the community. On Tuesday, 24th May the two parties announced that they were working on a detailed heads of terms, which we originally hoped would be concluded by Friday, 27th May 2011.

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 WST’s members at a Special General Meeting (SGM).

Next Steps

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 Manchester are opening the account specifically for this purpose and will take deposits in advance of the launch of the scheme. Please note that if the scheme does not go ahead then you will get your money back.

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 Snowdon . Others have suggested holding gigs, such as the memorable Sweet concert in 2006 at the William Aston Hall to raise money for the football club following the takeover.

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 we’re 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 FC’s Supporters’ Trust’s membership shot up from 400 to over 2000 members after they bought the club.

WST Merchandise: We’re 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. We’re just in the process of getting some stock down to Rob, which we hope to do this week. Many thanks for your support Rob.

Red Army: We are also giving some thought to the immediate jobs that will need our attention if we are successful in taking over the football club. With this in mind, we are setting up a volunteer ‘red army’ with a view to finding the right people with the right skills to do particular jobs. Please bear with us though as we will need a little time to understand what needs to be done. In the meantime please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." ymailto="mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text41989+'<\/a>'; //--> to help us build a database of people willing to help.

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 Wales to provide competitive savings and affordable loans to over 10,000 people in the region). In particular, we would like to thank Michael Cantwell for his continued support. Our initial meetings with WCU revolved around the provision of loans to fans wishing to purchase season tickets and we were delighted that they were able to establish a scheme last season to enable fans to pay for tickets over the course of the season. Wrexham FC did promote the initiative last year after Lindsay Jones helped to it set up, but we are pleased that the club is promoting it more heavily this coming season. Most recently we have discussed the idea of supporters being able to save or loan money via the Credit Union to participate in our proposed share scheme. We will be exploring this possibility further this coming week as we see the NWCU as a key partner of the Trust and Wrexham FC going forward and are keen to develop this relationship further.

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’ Direct’s 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 it’s 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 England and Wales .

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 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 Direct’s website.

Engaging politicians

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. Ian’s 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 Colliers Park.

Conservative Party Conference: WST Chair, Richard Owen has been invited to present at a fringe event of the Conservative Party Conference entitled “Football and the Big Society”, which is being held at Manchester Grammar School on October 3rd and 4th. Richard has accepted the invitation to appear alongside David Gill (CEO of Manchester United), Mark Howell (Community Officer at Chester FC), Jesse Norma (University of Buckingham and author of the Big Society) and Jim White (Sports Journalist at the Daily Telegraph). Further details will be provided closer to the time.

Your questions and suggestions

We received a large number of enquiries this week about whether fans should take advantage of the club’s early bird season ticket offer. We issued the following statement on Friday afternoon to clarify our position.

Early Bird Season Tickets: “Wrexham Supporters Trust is in ongoing discussion with the owners of Wrexham FC (2006) Ltd which are likely to continue beyond the club’s 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.”

Fundraising: You may have ideas to hold local car boot sales or big concerts at the Racecourse; big or small we’d like to hear from you, as the future success of Wrexham FC will depend upon us all pulling together and making this work. Please email your fundraising ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." ymailto="mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text70030+'<\/a>'; //--> and entitle your email "fundraising". The more detail the better, but we will be sending out project forms in due course to capture the finer details.

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.

Your Questions: Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." ymailto="mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text39203+'<\/a>'; //--> with any questions you might have in the coming week. Please note that the two Board members who normally monitor this address are on leave next week, so please bear with us if it takes slightly longer than usual to respond. Another Board member has stepped in to answer your queries and will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

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 Colliers Park.  We’re disappointed that Mr Cleeve chose to make public a different opinion of the conversation.