Supporters Trust consultation:

Discussion in 'Dulwich Hamlet FC' started by Dulwich Mishi, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    This is currently being sent out to members:



    Purpose of this consultation
    Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust (DHST) is holding a consultation to hear the views of its members in relation to the future use of funds currently held by the Trust.
    Many of you will be aware of Meadow Residential’s decision to withdraw all financial support to the Football Club, with effect from 1 November 2017. This followed the abandonment, in late October, of Meadow’s application to redevelop Champion Hill. Subsequently, Meadow has taken further decisions that leave the Club with reduced profit on match days. In particular, Meadow has recently confirmed that the Club will not receive any match day profits from the bar for the period since 1 November, with the exception of profits earned at the Christmas party.
    This has left the Club in a difficult position financially. Although no specific request has yet been made, it’s likely that the DHST Board may be asked to provide loans or other financial support to enable the Club to continue to operate.
    DHST’s constitution requires the Board to act in the best interests of the community served by the Football Club, and is therefore inviting you to express your views as part of the decision-making process.
    In order to assist you, please see the following information on the current position and use of the DHST funds.



    How to respond to the consultation
    The consultation will run until 14 March 2018. All current adult and child members of the Supporters’ Trust are welcome to respond. To respond, please reply to this email or you can send a separate email to: info@dhst.org.uk with the subject heading “DHST Members Consultation”. Please include your name and address with your response.
    After the consultation period has ended, DHST will listen to all feedback and then issue a public statement on the use of funds. This will be posted on the Trust’s website and sent to members.

    CONTINUED IN NEXT POST...
     
  2. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    CONTINUED:

    Background to DHST
    Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust (DHST) was founded in 2002 as an independent, democratic, not for profit organisation. Its aim was to secure a successful and sustainable future for Dulwich Hamlet Football Club by increasing supporter involvement in its running. When the Trust was formed, its primary objective was to raise money which would be invested in the Club for the benefit of supporters. This would help acquire a significant shareholding and enable the Trust to have an influence, on behalf of supporters, in the way the Club was run. Since 2014, when Champion Hill was sold to Hadley Property Group, the Trust’s objectives evolved to seek full fan ownership of the Club and be a leading example of a financially sustainable football club with a secure home in East Dulwich. Our membership now stands at around 570 members, which represents just over third of our average home attendance.
    DHST provides significant financial and non-financial support to the Club. Financial support includes player and match day sponsorship, payments for advertising at the ground and in the match day programme, organising fundraising events such as the Christmas party in December (which raised £2,000 for the 12th man scheme), and sharing the profits from merchandise sales (30% of which goes back to the Club with some of this money going towards maintaining the Club’s online video channel DHFC-TV).
    Non-financial support includes co-ordinating match day volunteers, promoting the Club, and lobbying in support of its interests.
    DHST Governance

    DHST is a Community Benefit Society governed by a set of Rules which can be found here. The Rules form DHST’s constitution and sets out the objects (purposes) DHST seeks to achieve.
    DHST’s objects, set out in Rule 2, are:
    (i) To strengthen the bonds between the Club and the community which it serves and to represent the interests of the community in the running of the Club;
    (ii) To benefit present and future members of the community served by the Club by promoting encouraging and furthering the game of football as a recreational facility, sporting activity and focus for community involvement;
    (iii) To further the development of the game of football nationally and internationally and the upholding of its rules;
    (iv) To encourage the Club to take proper account of the interests of its supporters and of the community it serves in its decisions;
    (v) To encourage and promote the principle of supporter representation on the board of any company owning or controlling the Club and ultimately to be the vehicle for democratic elections to the board;
    (vi) To promote, develop and respect the rights of members of the community served by the Club and people dealing with [DHST] as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, having regard in particular to the need to provide information to members and conduct the affairs of [DHST] in accessible and appropriate ways;
    (vii) To allow the supporters of the Club and members of the local community to contribute to the health and success of the Club;
    (viii) To ensure a sustainable and affordable ground for the Club to occupy within the vicinity of the community it serves.
    The DHST board is under an obligation to act in the way it considers is most likely to achieve these objects. It also has other legal obligations, including an obligation to act with reasonable care, skill and diligence.
    All funds available to the Trust, which have built up over many years, are set aside for the Trust to deliver on its objects and maintain ongoing cash flow for the merchandise operations in the Mega Container (shop). Rule 6 requires DHST’s profits to be applied, in accordance with the constitution:
    · to maintain prudent reserves
    · on expenditure to achieve the Society's objects
    It should be noted that 100 Club funds are governed by a separate set of rules to those of Trust funds. Rules governing the 100 Club can be found here.
    DHST Objectives
    DHST’s constitutional objects underpin a series of shorter term goals and targets – the objectives – which we use to measure performance, and review every two years.

    The current objectives are set out in full here but in summary:
    1. DHFC has a secure long-term home in East Dulwich
    2. DHFC is fully owned by its supporters
    3. DHFC is a transparent and well-run Football Club
    4. DHFC has a growing Supporters’ Trust that communicates regularly with its members
    5. DHFC has strong links with all fans and the surrounding community
    Securing a home in East Dulwich is at risk due to the fact that Meadow Residential is unlikely to grant a new licence to play at Champion Hill beyond the end of the 2017/18 season or possibly earlier.
    To date, the Supporters’ Trust has not acquired any significant stake in the ownership of DHFC Ltd (the entity that owns the Football Club). The Trust is not in a position to do so at this time due to a legal agreement held by Meadow Residential over the majority shareholding.
    Advice from Supporters Direct
    DHST has spoken to Supporters Direct (SD) - an independent body that provides support and advice to Supporters’ Trusts - and below is a summary of their guidance for your information.
    1. In view of the present uncertainty about the Football Club’s finances and the very real risk of insolvency, SD strongly advise against using DHST reserves to prop up Dulwich Hamlet Football Club Limited (the entity which owns the 'Football Club') without being clear that the Club is sustainable, is not throwing good money after bad, and without there being any long-term benefit to supporters.
    2. For the same reason, SD cautioned strongly about DHST getting too involved in current decision making and running of the club at present due to risk of being seen as a 'shadow director' and exposing DHST to liability claims.
    3. At present, SD's view is that the likely outcome will fall into one of 4 scenarios:
    (a) DHFC Ltd becomes (or is) unsustainable and cost cutting is undertaken to make it sustainable (e.g. cutting the player budget).
    (b) DHST negotiates with Meadow Residential and DHFC Ltd to achieve a consensual transition of DHFC Ltd to the ownership of DHST and costs are cut to enable the Club to be run sustainably.
    (c) DHFC Ltd enters insolvency proceedings and DHST starts a Phoenix club.
    (d) Someone rescues DHFC Ltd – a White Knight scenario.
    Whilst option (c) is clearly the option we are all trying to avoid, and option (d) is the most appealing short-term solution for the club, nothing concrete has materialised to date.
    Over the course of the last 3 months, since Meadow Residential withdrew funding assistance to the Club, DHFC Ltd has relied on gate takings, sponsorship and donations alone to pay the Club bills. To date the Club has managed to meet these obligations but there is a strong likelihood that this may not be the case for much longer unless any of the existing funding streams increase or the overall situation changes and a new owner is found.
    DHST Funds
    DHST has three main sources of income. They are:
    1. Membership subscriptions
    2. Profits from merchandise sales (70% of which are retained by the Trust, the remaining 30% given to the Club)
    3. 100 Club
    The total funds held by DHST as of 27 February 2018 is £75,761.86 (comprising 100 Club funds of £34,554.42 and Trust funds of £41,207.44)
    DHST has always intended for the 100 Club money to be used in consultation with the 100 Club contributors. Ultimately the Supporters’ Trust Board have the final say, however, contributors would be invited to express their views (and the Trust Board would listen).
    Therefore, any initial requests from the Club to the Trust will be made against the Trust Funds. If the request for funds extends to the 100 Club ‘pot’, then the Trust will consult further with the current 100 Club contributors.
    The total amount of Trust Funds may be sufficient to enable DHFC Ltd to continue to operate until the end of the season (assuming no unexpected, additional costs are identified).
    However, it is important to highlight some longer-term considerations.
    · The Club is very unlikely to be playing at Champion Hill beyond the end of the season, possibly before if Meadow Residential chooses to evict the Club early. Therefore, revenue from gate takings may reduce.
    · Debts against DHFC Ltd are significant and reported at circa. £750,000. The majority is believed to be owed to Meadow Residential or its subsidiary companies. Terms of these debts are unknown and represent a risk to short term funding.
    · Meadow Residential have issued a back-dated rent invoice for circa. £121,000.
    · If the debts are called in, it is likely the Club would be forced out of business.
    · We understand DHFC Ltd has an outstanding VAT bill of circa. £30,000.
    · Other four-figure bills have been identified in recent weeks and months – there could be more.
    · We have the second highest average attendance across step 3 in the English pyramid. If promoted although this average would keep us in the top 10 average attendances for step 2, our rivals would be more competitive and would be spending more on players than our competitors in step 3 are now.
     
  3. Dulwich Mishi

    Dulwich Mishi Old Skool Terrace Dinosaur-embracing the new-veau!

    AND LAST PART:
    The Future of DHST / DHFC
    The ability of the Trust to fulfil its objects, achieve its objectives, and provide any further funding to the Club beyond the end of this season may be severely impacted by immediate, short term, financial assistance.
    The Trust Board has intended to use the funds to gain something in return, such as: an increased shareholding in DHFC Ltd.; a separate legal agreement that provides some comfort of protection and worthwhile powers; or, an enforceable undertaking from Meadow Residential to continue to provide support and/or allow the club to continue playing at Champion Hill. This is increasing unlikely, with the legal charge over Nick McCormack’s majority shareholding still in place and the destabilising and significant level of debt that exists. If DHST transfers funds to DHFC Ltd., in the absence of any increased shareholding, it would seek to have a greater say in the running of the Football Club.
    When expressing your views, consider the following: do we want a Club that maintains its current level of expenditure with the chance of promotion this season? Or, do we want a Club that exists beyond this season and therefore should the Club seek to reduce its expenditure to more sustainable levels now? What, if any, funds should the Trust contribute to the club for the purposes of helping during this time of financial difficultly?
    Thank you for your ongoing support of the Club and Trust and we look forward to hearing your views. We may quote from the responses we receive in order to reflect the diversity of the views expressed by members, but we will do so without identifying individuals.
     
  4. Griff_Turnstile

    Griff_Turnstile Agenda confused turnstile operator

    Could someone from the Trust please provide a precise of this for those of us with a shorter lifespan than that of the Galapagos Giant Tortoise. Just a suggestion but might it have been better to ask a simple yes or no question along the lines of Should Dulwich Hamlet Supporters Trust support Dulwich Hamlet financially in this current time of crisis?
     
  5. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    I understand that it's a complicated issue but the email is fucking huge and hardly conducive to soliciting feedback. As you say, surely the issue could have been condensed down to something a little concise than War & Peace Vol 2.
     
    clog and Dulwich Mishi like this.
  6. Pink Panther

    Pink Panther Well-Known Member

    Given the gravity of the situation I think it was right to be as thorough as possible in composing that message. There are a few things there I wasn't previously aware of. Where has this enormous figure of £750k suddenly appeared from for a start?
     
    Ronco and Lucy Fur like this.
  7. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    I would have thought a better approach would be to condense the piece down to the major salient points so people can get a grip on the situation quickly, and then provide links for further reading.

    I understand it's a tricky thing to write and it's a complicated issue, but if we really want as much feedback as possible, then the easier we make it to comprehend, the more likely people are to respond.
     
  8. blueheaven

    blueheaven Well-Known Member

    I appreciated the length of the email as it's valuable for us all to have access to this information. I have to admit, though, that I found it difficult to suss out exactly what I was being asked.

    One question I have is about the back-dated rent the club has been asked to pay. How is it possible that Meadow can continually shift the goalposts in this way? Does the club not have a written rental agreement drawn up with Meadow which makes it clear what the rent situation is? Surely the club either has to pay rent, and would be aware of this, or it doesn't?

    Also is part of this debt due to the fact that Meadow were previously funding the club but are now asking for this money to be paid back? Was the football club previously aware, while Meadow were spending this money, that it was in fact building up debt that would be passed to the club? Or did Meadow previously state that the club would not be responsible for this money?

    Also the whole thing about the extra £1 gate entry being required for VAT - was that extra money being put towards VAT or was it not? If it was, how can it be that the club is now being hit with the VAT bill?

    I'm no legal expert by any stretch but it seems to me as if Meadow are just making up a lot of this stuff as they go along and I'd have thought that a decent lawyer could surely pick a lot of this stuff apart. What exactly were the original terms of the club's relationship with Meadow and, if those terms are now being changed, has the club sought legal advice over this?
     
    pompeydunc, editor and Pink Panther like this.
  9. Griff_Turnstile

    Griff_Turnstile Agenda confused turnstile operator

    Sadly I am not in a position to answer the majority of these questions as some of these figures are new to me. I can add that a second email has now been received from the Supporters Trust correcting the situation size of the VAT which reads as follows:

    “Dear Members,

    We’ve been made aware that the VAT bill figure we stated in the original consultation text of “circa. £30,000” is in fact the gross figure on which tax is due. The total VAT bill due is circa. £6,000.

    Apologies for any confusion.

    DHST”

    Sources for some of the other figures would prove useful too.
     
    blueheaven, editor and Pink Panther like this.
  10. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Have we got access to a suitably qualified legal expert who could challenge all this stuff? It really feels like Cunty Meadow are leading us on a merry dance here.
     
    blueheaven and Pink Panther like this.
  11. clog

    clog she seems to like to nitpick and moan a lot

    I read it and lost the will to live after the first few paragraphs. I need a tl;dr that tells me in two lines what I am being asked to do.
     
    the 12th man and editor like this.
  12. Pink Panther

    Pink Panther Well-Known Member

    The whole message raises many questions. There are figures quoted I've never seen before. Who provided these? Were they supplied to DHST by the club committee? If so why didn't the committee make its own announcement to publicise this? I think we need much better co-ordination to make certain we're all pulling in the same direction .
     
    the 12th man and clog like this.
  13. B.I.G

    B.I.G Well-Known Member

    Purpose of this consultation

    Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust (DHST) is holding a consultation to hear the views of its members in relation to the future use of funds currently held by the Trust.

    Many of you will be aware of Meadow Residential’s decision to withdraw all financial support to the Football Club, with effect from 1 November 2017. This followed the abandonment, in late October, of Meadow’s application to redevelop Champion Hill. Subsequently, Meadow has taken further decisions that leave the Club with reduced profit on match days. In particular, Meadow has recently confirmed that the Club will not receive any match day profits from the bar for the period since 1 November, with the exception of profits earned at the Christmas party.

    This has left the Club in a difficult position financially. Although no specific request has yet been made, it’s likely that the DHST Board may be asked to provide loans or other financial support to enable the Club to continue to operate.

    DHST’s constitution requires the Board to act in the best interests of the community served by the Football Club, and is therefore inviting you to express your views as part of the decision-making process.

    In order to assist you, please see the following information on the current position and use of the DHST funds.


    How to respond to the consultation

    The consultation will run until 14 March 2018. All current adult and child members of the Supporters’ Trust are welcome to respond. To respond, please reply to this email or you can send a separate email to: info@dhst.org.uk with the subject heading “DHST Members Consultation”. Please include your name and address with your response.

    After the consultation period has ended, DHST will listen to all feedback and then issue a public statement on the use of funds. This will be posted on the Trust’s website and sent to members.
     
  14. B.I.G

    B.I.G Well-Known Member

    Is the above not clear enough for anyone?
     
    pompeydunc likes this.
  15. Harry R

    Harry R Active Member

    Tl;dr

    Should DHST use its cash reserves to pay for the football club's running costs -- when such use of cash is arguably contrary to its objectives and also goes against the advice of Supporters' Direct -- or should it save that money for an eventuality where it might have to take over the running of the club, or even start a new club, in the event that the existing club goes bust?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
    darryl, editor and clog like this.
  16. clog

    clog she seems to like to nitpick and moan a lot

    thank you!
     
  17. clog

    clog she seems to like to nitpick and moan a lot

    too long for me I'm afraid.
     
  18. Nivag

    Nivag Well-Known Member

    To clarify something, who gets the profit from the merchandise?
     
  19. clog

    clog she seems to like to nitpick and moan a lot

    and actually from that long bit the question being asked isn't clear. So thanks to Harry R for clearing that up.
     
  20. B.I.G

    B.I.G Well-Known Member

    Not clear! :rolleyes:
     
    pompeydunc likes this.
  21. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    I think adding multiple choice questionnaire with tick-boxes would garner more responses as I'm not entirely sure what form my response should be.

    Sorry to be a pain but I'm just finding this whole thing confusing. I know it's a complex issue but there has to be a way to make it more accessible and encourage more responses.
     
    clog likes this.
  22. clog

    clog she seems to like to nitpick and moan a lot

    Roll your eyes all you like. I'm not the only person who says it isn't at all clear from the email what we are being asked to do.
     
  23. scousedom

    scousedom Well-Known Member

    Per the DHST email:
    DHST Funds

    DHST has three main sources of income. They are:

    1. Membership subscriptions

    2. Profits from merchandise sales (70% of which are retained by the Trust, the remaining 30% given to the Club)

    3. 100 Club
     
    pompeydunc and Nivag like this.
  24. Harry R

    Harry R Active Member

    It's clearly a difficult one, but I can understand the trust's hesitation to support the club financially, when it can't get anything in return (like shares). Say the trust hands over enough to pay wages for a month, but then in a month that money is gone. Then the club needs more, but the trust has no more cash.

    I can also understand the need for objective advice from SD -- and the advice is pretty clear.

    Arguably the trust is better off keeping its reserves in case it needs to pick up the pieces if the club goes bust.

    But then all this needs to be weighed against a potential immediate need to keep the club going to fulfil its fixtures this season.
     
    Ronco, clog and Pink Panther like this.
  25. B.I.G

    B.I.G Well-Known Member

    Members are being asked to give a response. Its not an election or referendum #brokenbritain
     
    pompeydunc and Matt The Cab like this.
  26. Pink Panther

    Pink Panther Well-Known Member

    FFS Can't you just take this seriously and stop antagonizing people?
     
    darryl, blueheaven, editor and 2 others like this.
  27. B.I.G

    B.I.G Well-Known Member

    Im not taking it seriously? Please.
     
    pompeydunc likes this.
  28. clog

    clog she seems to like to nitpick and moan a lot

    my response then would have been "I have literally no idea why you are telling me all this and what you are asking me to do."

    Not the most helpful. At least others have tried to explain succinctly what is being asked. The rest is background to the actual question the trust want an answer to.
     
    Nivag likes this.
  29. B.I.G

    B.I.G Well-Known Member

    I'd be devastated if I was given more information on our current situation. Devastated.
     
    takkforalt and pompeydunc like this.
  30. liamdhfc

    liamdhfc Well-Known Member

    See next post as original post wasn't very clear. Expand it for full reply to all points
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
    Radical-Cliff and Fingers like this.

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