|CLUB SALE UPDATE
(Saturday 15th March 2014)
The proposed sale of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club to the group of potential investors, advised to Trust members during February 2014, looks to reached a deadend. An email sent to Trust members on Thursday 13th March 2014 said that 'some progress has been made' but added that "In the interim, we have been approached by two other interested parties, and we have commenced initial discussions with them to see if their interest is legitimate and worthy of presentation to the members. If this is the case, we will seek to arrange a presentation in the very near future."
Trust Chairman Trevor Stroud also commented to the press, "We are working to establish how genuine it is in terms of who they are. There's lots of people who have dreams and aspirations of owning a football club but don't have the means to do it. One of them appears to be legitimate." The Trust have been frustrated with the lack of progress from the orginal bidders but Stround added, "From the Trust point of view it's good there are other interested parties now and we are not in the hands of one particular party. We are now in a situation where they may be under pressure to be decisive, which they have so far failed to be."
The shock news of the proposed sale of the Football Club was first made public on 13th February 2014 and explained to Trust members at a meeting five days later. However, the indentity of the group was never revealed.
However, despite the apparent collapse of the original deal, Football Club Chairman Don Woodward has used this as an opportunity to suggest where the future financial direction of the Club may head in what he describes as the 'bigger picture'. He said "The recent approach to buy the football club leaves us in a position where our future lies in the hands of you, the fans, who must soon decide how this club moves forward." Legacy Trust Members will have the final say in whether the Club falls back into private ownership, and away from the current model of being in the hands of the supporters. But Woodward added, "It doesnít have to be that way Ė if you donít want it to be. But to be run by the fans means the club must be funded by fans, because although we are doing everything we can to breakeven, itís a constant uphill struggle to keep the momentum towards stability without working capital Ė the books need to be balanced, cash is needed to trade."
A 'Plan B' option explained to Trust members at a meeting on 18th February 2014 is now set to gain momementum and asks fans for regular donations in an effort to raise £2m over a five year period in what is being described as Community Share Scheme. Woodward explained, "If you want the club to continue and thrive under supporter ownership, I ask you to subscribe to the share capital scheme as proposed by the Trust, you can also help us achieve a large season ticket take-up by renewing your own and encouraging friends, family, colleagues and lapsed supporters to join you in getting behind your local club. There is proof that the share scheme will work. Portsmouth may have a considerably larger fanbase than we do, but the £4.1m million they raised recently via this initiative has secured their future and enabled them to plan ahead under supporter ownership. Whilst we have aspirations for £2m we are realistic that this may take time, but we need to get this going now to be able to fend off potential acquirers, but we do need some funds now."
Visit the Wycombe Wanderers Trust website for more information.
Meanwhile, Woodward is also urging fans to renew season tickets as well as signing up for the share scheme, adding "We have something really special here, and a club we can all be proud of, but we have to separate romance from reality and ask fans what they can contribute to continue the legacy that we are trying to build."
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