July 14, 2006
Supporters Club chairman John Malyckyj has issued a further statement outlining how talks have progressed with the Football Club in the last seven days.
As indicated in the previous two Supporters Club statements, we have been involved in many discussions with the Football Club relating to recent boardroom events. I am now able to report further on these talks and the progress that has been made as we attempt to heal the considerable damage that has been done to Bristol Rovers Football Club.
Given that there is little likelihood of the resigned directors returning to the boardroom in the near future discussions have focussed on the future of the Football Club, the future of the Supporters Club and the relationship between the two bodies. We have taken a conscious decision to leave the circumstances of the departed directors behind, we simply do not have the time to stand still and continually re-visit these issues. Bristol Rovers is both a Football Club and a business; time spent looking back is time not spent planning and working towards the future.
Over the last few weeks the Supporters Club Executive Committee members have been discussing and studying the budget and business plan of BRFC for the coming year. We also sought evidence that the plan and budget were properly costed, and could be implemented. This may have taken longer than some people hoped, but we felt that it was critical that we had a full understanding, and ample opportunity to return to the table and ask questions or seek assurances, before we commented.
Much has been made of the plan that Mike Turl proposed and the cash injection that would go with it. Kim Stuckey stated at an early stage that he would draw comfort from evidence that the remaining board members had a costed plan, with contingencies, to cover the Football Club’s projected trading deficit for the coming financial year.
Naturally we are not able to comment in detail on the figures in the budget set by the remaining Directors, but we are satisfied that new investments have now been made to equal the initial cash injection proposed in Mike Turl’s scheme. The second conditional investment has also been identified and factored into the year’s accounts.
Any professional Football Club’s fortunes will be heavily dependant on both the performance of the team and the loyalty of the supporters, so there are no cast iron assurances of financial performance. It was heartening to see from the trading projections that they were realistic and did not depend on items such as ‘extraordinary income’, (this would be items such as a high profile cup match, a payment triggered by the transfer of a player, etc).
There has been some debate about the future of the Share Scheme and linked to it participation of the Supporters Club within the boardroom of Bristol Rovers. The process that we have gone through within the last couple of weeks has underlined the need to re-establish the principles of the Share Scheme and the participation of fans in the running of the Football Club. The choice is stark we can either walk away and effectively collapse the Share Scheme and the opportunity to build on the work of Kim Stuckey in recent months will be lost forever or we re-group to further develop what has already been achieved.
We have taken the latter view and it would be fair to say that we held open and productive discussions on the subject. We are at a point where we felt, in all honesty, we would be unlikely to achieve the £3.5 million required to secure the 28% shareholding that was the original objective of the Share Scheme. We’re also mindful of the fact that over half a million pounds of Supporters’ money has been injected into the club; at a time when following Rovers was largely a labour of love with scant reward.
The support given by members has been critical during a very difficult period for the Club and once again we thank all those who have contributed to this fantastic effort. We have put forward a proposal to reduce the price paid by the Supporters Club for shares purchased via the Share Scheme. We are still discussing options but we feel that we can move towards an agreement – as soon as these discussions are finalised we will publish the information on our website.
This has been a difficult time for all Rovers supporters and I have been struck by the unity of purpose and opinion engendered by recent events this now needs to be channelled in a positive way for the good of our football club as we move towards the new season. People have been telling us that they are holding back from buying season tickets or considering their position within the Share Scheme because of what has happened. The Supporters Club will be aided in our continuing talks if we can show that our members are responding to us in a positive way and that they are behind us by in fact renewing their season tickets and continuing with their Share Scheme subscriptions.