Trust Oldham members got to read this first!
As a membership organisation, we want to give priority to our members, and this article was shared with them in advance of this becoming a public article. Joining us as a member supports us in helping the owner being the best Oldham Athletic owner that he can; and gives us a louder voice when we are reaching out to find partners to develop a stable future for future chapters of the club.
Our exclusive chat with Simon and Danny from Brassbank
The board of Trust Oldham met with Simon Blitz and Danny Gazal on February 11th as the Trust looks to strengthen ties with the key stakeholders in Oldham Athletic, and also the wider business community of Oldham.
This section of the meeting lasted for around 90 minutes and involved a range of discussions where Simon and Danny were open and frank with their answers to a number of questions – some of which were submitted by fans, and others by the Trust board.
So, let’s get the elephant out of the room – one of the most prominent questions you had was does Simon Corney financially benefit from Brassbank or Oldham Event Centre? The answer was a firm no, not since his involvement with both companies ended some time ago. He has no ongoing benefit financially from either company.
This led on to a discussion of finishing the North Stand including the installation of fans bar, cafe and better facilities in the food concessions. Simon told us there are firm plans in place for the top floor of the North Stand, and when there is news to share on that we will do, which should be in the not too distant future.
At the moment the concessions are run by the football club, so whilst it had been asked if things such as quick pour and barriers to make queueing more organised at half time, that would be responsibility of the club and quick pour had been investigated and not cost effective for the crowds we get at Boundary Park.
We started to discuss the relationship with Latics owner, Abdallah Lemsagam and Simon and Danny said they have a good working relationship with him. Questions had been raised regards to payment of rent at Boundary Park, and Simon did acknowledge that some rent was “contra’d” under the previous ownership, that was in the past and both Simon and Danny had no great issue with the current status of rent payments with Aballah.
We discussed the purpose of Brass Bank and Oldham Athletic and the interests it has in Oldham Athletic Football club and Simon and Danny underlined the fact Brass Bank was there as owners of the land of the Boundary Park site, and the club has a land-lease and was responsible for the stadium facilities located on the land (with the exclusion of the North Stand).
We asked if they are looking to sell the land back to the club, Simon and Danny were clear that they always wanted to make sure that Oldham Athletic has a long-term future in the town, and would do what they could do to support that. In time, they acknowledge the ownership of the stadium does need to be transferred for the long-term health of the football club.
When Darren (Trust vice-chair) met Simon down at Craven Cottage, he asked the question that was raised by other fans ahead of the meeting – why did he leave the club and go back to America? Simon is clear that if it wasn’t for business commitments in the United States and having a young family things would be very different.
Oldham Athletic will always have a very special place in their hearts, their time as owners of our Football Club is certainly at an end, and it’s time for the next chapter of the football club. We pressed them on the commitments they made to the club back in 2004 when they took ownership, and they made it clear that the fact they are still here 14 years on shows that commitment has never gone.
Simon did point out that originally they were not expecting to have any involvement in the construction of the Joe Royle stand, but felt they had to step in to help fund the construction and ensure the project was completed, when previous finances stalled, for the good of the club.
In relation to the revenues generated to the North Stand, the rental from the match-day boxes, concessions and ticket sales all goes directly back to the club. Oldham Event Center has a contract to deliver the catering for the boxes including all costs (staffing, stock etc), and the club pay for them to do that. Again, absolutely no revenue goes back to Mr Corney.
We asked why they gave their address as Boundary Park for Brassbank – and they clarified this has been the case since 2004, and it’s just something that hadn’t been updated with Companies House, but papers were due to be submitted to change this (if it hasn’t already).
Simon and Danny want to see Oldham Athletic survive and flourish, and displayed a lot of financial commitment over the years (even when they weren’t directly around) to ensure the club is run on a stable footing and we appreciated their honesty with us. They see the long-term structure of Oldham Athletic Football Club to have the ownership of the stadium in the one company… but it’s clear that won’t be something that they are going to be part of for family and business reasons.
They have professional relationship with the new owner and seemed to be content when it comes to the financial obligations between them and the football club.
Next invited guest:
An invitation has been extended again to Abdallah, he has indicated that if he is in the country he will attend and we’re waiting for clarification on attendance and will let you know when we have heard back.