Statement from Darren Ratcliffe – Trust Oldham representative to the Board of Oldham Athletic
Fans may be aware that I was granted access to the club’s full accounts for the year ending June 2018 last week. My intention has always been to view these with fellow Trust Oldham director Philippa Whittaker who is a retired accountant.
The first date offered to access the accounts was 8th August which coincided with Philippa’s holiday. I attended on my own so things weren’t held up. However, I have run my own business for the past 12 years so I am familiar with financial accounts, their structure and content. Other Directors of Trust Oldham have subsequently been briefed on what I have seen.
Firstly I must stress that as a Director of Trust Oldham and in representing the Trust on the club board, I am entrusted to use my professional judgement on the club. As part of this role and remit, I would ask fans to recognize that I cannot divulge intimate details shown in the club’s accounts. I do not have the authority to disclose such confidential information, though it is my duty to raise concerns (including in an open manner where appropriate) if I think that is necessary based on information I access and practices I observe.
The accounts were filed later than Trust Oldham would have liked, but with new systems and processes that have put into place, and critically following the appointment of an operational Board of Directors, it is our expectation that this will not be the case in the future.
I went through the full accounts as filed for the year ending June 2018 and asked as series of questions – some based on advice received before I went and others that came up as I ran through the accounts. The Club Accountant was present throughout the meeting. Based on the accounts as filed, and the evidence I was given, here are my high-level observations:
- The structure of the club’s liabilities and how they have changed since the previous reporting period were explained to me. This looks to be in hand and being progressively looked after.
- The way the turnover for the club fits into budgets was ran through and how the club is complying with EFL regulations. At this stage I am content with what I have seen with regards to this matter.
- The creditors the club has were explained as were the new financial systems and the processes that had been put into place to help better manage these. At this stage I am content with what I have seen with regards to this matter.
- I was shown proof of the funds the owner has been put into the club, which does generally correlate with the claims made by Abdallah.
- The accounts have been submitted to the EFL where they are further scrutinized, alongside the season budgets for the club. The EFL’s review of the accounts is intended to provide a further layer of review and regulation to ensure accounts are in order as part of the EFL’s overall remit to ensure effective governance and stewardship of Football League clubs.
For completeness, it is the intention of the Trust to get a second opinion on the accounts through Philippa and the owner has confirmed that this can be arranged.
Darren Ratcliffe 15th August 2019