Share Scheme – Three Years On

March 20, 2006

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Introduction
The Introduction to the Share Scheme section explains why 3 years ago the Supporters Club decided to launch the share scheme. This introduction sets out the three main problems facing our club:-
· The need to pay back loans and other debts to reduce interest charges
· To improve the ground
· To improve performance on the pitch

So what has changed?
In terms of the problems facing our club little has changed. We still have large debts, the stadium still requires improvement, we still need to progress up the leagues and our directors are continuing to provide loans to keep us solvent. In short we have moved from a very difficult financial position to a more stable one but still have some way to go before we can start trading from a positive financial position.

So what have we achieved?
The primary objective of the Share Scheme was to obtain a 28% shareholding in on behalf of the Supporters Club whilst raising £3.5M to support the football clubs finances. The aim was to:-
· Ensure that, through the Supporters Club, a sufficient shareholding is held to influence any major Football Club boardroom decision
· To help the club finance new signings to improve performances on the pitch
· To help fund development of the Memorial Stadium

These were very tough goals. Whilst we are some way short of these targets, there is no doubt about the magnificent achievement of you the fans who have supported this initiative. There is little doubt that without the signing of Andy ‘Rambo’ Rammell through the Supporters Club Share Scheme we would have gone into the Conference. We may even have gone into administration. Hey but that’s not Bristol Rovers is it? Together we have survived in the face of adversity. It is for other clubs to take the easy options. When the going gets tough the tough get going and “Together we have made a difference”.

Whilst there has been some improvement on the pitch we are no where near where we all aspire to be, at that is at least in the first Division and preferably in the Championship or Premier League. Financially we have avoided the necessity to consider administration but the reality is that whilst our finances are much more stable we have some way to go before we can clear our debts and start trading in a in a positive position. The “where’s the Money Gone” report, which was commissioned by the supporters club and undertaken by a group of independent fans, has been highlighted that without transfer income we would not have survived. Since the Bosman ruling, transfer income has largely dried up. Without the share scheme income and the receipts from the Nathan Ellington and Scott Sinclair transfers we would certainly have been in a very unstable financial position. The playing budget has been brought under control but if we are to emulate the likes of Charlton we need to further strengthen the team and redevelop the ground whilst not compromising control of our income and expenditure.

As at the 14th February 2006 the total raised through the Supporters Club Share Scheme stands at £500,464.25. This represents a magnificent achievement and represents an enormous commitment from those of you who have supported the Share Scheme. You have “made a difference”. There is probably not another set of fans that has raised more money to support their club. The share scheme is only one of the many fundraising activities of the Supporters Club. Those clubs who have raised large sums have invariably been in or under the threat of administration or in some cases raised the money to buy their club.

The Supporters Club now owns 136, 550 shares and has a 7.91% shareholding in BRFC 1883 the holding company and owners of our primary asset ‘The Memorial Stadium’. Because of the Supporters Club Share Scheme, we have two ‘fans’ on the Board of Directors to represent your views. Stadium re-development plans are progressing and subject to planning consent it now looks like we have proposals that can be made affordable.

So where do we go from here?
The one problem we don’t have is fans that are fully committed to the team. You the fans deserve a 21st century stadium and a team in a much higher league. Your support has been fantastic despite continued poor performances on the pitch. That is why it is vitally important that we stick together and build on the success of the share scheme. With your help we can move into a positive trading position. We have almost completed the foundations and can soon start building the walls. We are starting to get the debt under control and reducing interest payments. We are ready to make a big leap forward but need your continued help. We need your help in ‘growing’ the Share Scheme income.

If you are not a member of the Supporters Club Share Scheme would you please consider joining? If you are a member you can help by introducing a friend to the main scheme or even a ‘Corporate Scheme’ if they are a small business. In addition to the obvious rewards to the club we will give you a signed yellow shirt for each new member who stays in the scheme for at least 6 months.

Details of the different membership schemes and standing order mandates can be found on this website. We can post or e-mail copies of the Share Scheme advertising leaflet and/ or standing order mandates to you. Hard copies can be collected form the caravan in front of the Memorial Gates, Pirate Leisure or 199 Two Mile Hill Road.

Should you want any further information on the Share Scheme you can contact David Brain on (07765) 254110; or by email at [email protected] or Clare McDonagh at Pirate Leisure on (0117) 952 4001.

In order that our communication with you can be improved, please could you send an e-mail to [email protected] with your address, telephone numbers and any other relevant contact details? We can then capture your e-mail address and this will enable us to keep you updated more regularly.

Thanks for your continued support,

David Brain, Share Scheme Chairman and Associate Director

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