Since our last update, lots has been happening with our Club, our fans and the Trust. We have had feedback that we have not been giving enough updates. Believe it or not, this is our fourth update this month and we have listed the links below just in case you missed them:
It has been a slow start to the season for the team, although in the last two weeks we have collected four points from our last two games. This has lifted us from the bottom of the table and we hope to pick up another three points today. Welcome to new players we missed from our last update and we wish David Wheater every success as Club captain.
Earlier this year a large number of fans wanted to voice their concerns with regards to our club. You will recall a public meeting was held in March. The result was the creation of the six fan expectations and to attempt dialogue with the owner in order to gain some transparency. This is still ongoing and we will update you soon with progress against those expectations.
We have all been watching events unfold at Bolton Wanderers and the appalling demise of Bury. It is a sad situation and makes us all more aware of the pressures that small football Clubs face. This has added to the anxiety of fans.
Recently, we became aware of incidents of scuffles between fans at various games and vandalism at home in the Joe Royle stand. We completely condemn this behaviour. As fans we have an excellent reputation amongst other EFL Clubs and are great embassadors’ for our Club and town, we are stronger together.
As a Trust, we respect the fans’ right to peaceful protests with concerns over the future of our Club. However, we would remind all fans to be respectful to one another and their differing views. There is nothing wrong with healthy debate.
The Trust also has the best interest of the Club at heart. We are using our place on the board of the Club to effectively monitor how the business is being run. Darren has previously stated that he has found the board and staff welcoming and co-operative. It is a tentative start to the transparency we want.
We are in a better position to hold the Club to account than at any point over the recent year and we will provide updates on progress in line with the bi-monthly board meetings.
Almost all EFL clubs are on a financial knife-edge as only minimal television money reaches League 2 clubs. In addition, the Bosman ruling has severely impaired transfers as a source of revenue.
OAFC is by no means an exception in making losses. Like other clubs, we are dependent for survival on the capacity and willingness of an owner to continue to pump significant finance into the club. Without any immediate prospect of recouping it.
Unlike Bury and Bolton, our Club is not entangled in a complex multi-layered web of mortgages and guarantees. It seems that our external debt burden is being reduced.
Ultimately, we all want to see our Club successful on and off the pitch and under the guidance of a sound board of directors.
We want current Latics fans to feel secure in our home, and we want to ensure that Boundary Park is handed down as a football legacy to future generations of our fans.
To build on this, we have set ourselves some objectives for September that we would like to share with you below:
Meetings between the Club and fans as required by EFL Rules.
We will be asking the Club again to confirm dates for this season. We understand plans are in place for this to happen in the not too distant future. This will help fans with questions for the Club and to have them answered face to face.
Trust to get up to date information from Club on:
- Debentures that are still registered at Companies House.
- Access to SCMP (Salary Cost Management Protocol) submitted to the EFL pre-season.
- Historic pension problems and possible financial consequences.
- Continuing insight into the situation between the Club and the OEC regarding the North Stand.
- Continuing clarity of the situation between Brass bank Limited and the Club regarding the land and stadium.
- Confirmation of next Club board meeting.
- Darren and Philippa (retired accountant) to review the full up to date accounts, cash-flow forecast and SCMP mentioned above.
Football Supporter’s Association.
As members, we have access to a wealth of knowledge from their experiences of working with other EFL Clubs, Trusts and fans. This support gives the Trust peace of mind that we are not alone as supporters. We have arranged to meet the new regional representative and we will be discussing the following:
- Trust progress with Owner and Club: Ensuring we are asking the right questions and getting the correct information we are legally entitled to have at board level. To ensure as an organisation ourselves that we are following good governance and doing things in a correct manner.
- Access to funding streams: The FSA have helped various Clubs with regards to fan/community funding initiatives. We hope they can help the Trust to think outside the box when it comes to raising funds. Whether for asset acquisition or other fan-funded ideas.
- Clubs in Crisis: This is a group that has been recently created by the FSA to look at the challenges that face all football clubs. Although we do not class ourselves in this category, we need to be open to learn from what has gone wrong elsewhere. This is relevant given the situation with our neighbours over not just the past few weeks, but months too. We will also be developing contacts with other Clubs and sharing experiences across the EFL Leagues.
We will keep you all updated and we thank you for your continuing support. Here’s to another three points this afternoon.
Onwards and upwards.
Come on Oldham!