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Update On Club Ownership Issues

January 12, 2022

David Brownlee – Sons Supporters Trust Chair

On behalf of the Trust Board, can I offer our best wishes to you for a safe and happy 2022. I hope that you are in good health and are coping with the effects that Covid-19 continues to have on all our lives.

For many months now the Trust Board have been monitoring events on and off the pitch with growing concern. Toward the end of last year, a letter with detailed questions was sent from the Trust to DFC Chairman Neil McKay. I have attached a copy of the letter to this email for your information.

I’m pleased to report that a courteous reply has now been received and a provisional date has been agreed for a meeting between Trust representatives and the DFC Board at the end of this month. You have my assurance that once the meeting has taken place, then we will contact the Trust membership with the outcome.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Neil,

I am writing in my role as Chair of the Sons Supporters Trust Board to yourself in your position of Chairman of Dumbarton Football Club, regarding the current ownership structure and proposed future direction of the club. The Trust retains some serious concerns on these issues and other aspects, and also seeks clarity on what we consider to be potential irregularities concerning land ownership transactions conducted since the takeover of the club in May 2021.

To reinforce this further, over several months we have received a number of enquiries from Sonstrust members and private individuals in the wider Dumbarton support. The general tone has been one of growing alarm at recent developments on and off the pitch and a rising concern over the club’s physical and footballing direction of travel. Listed below are a number of questions which basically summarise these concerns.

I would however intimate that the Sonstrust appreciates that the local Directors on the DFC Board are fully committed to what is best for the football club. We also recognise that the DFC Board is the official conduit between ourselves and the club ownership, and as such we would very much welcome a meeting at a practicable early juncture with Colin Hosie, Stephanie Park and yourself to discuss matters. We would also be open to other supportive stakeholders being in attendance.

We would respectfully suggest that following such a meeting, it would be beneficial additionally to arrange a more public forum, bearing in mind that in the period since the takeover of the club by Cognitive Capital in May 2021 there has been no in-person contact between Dumbarton FC and the support base. This is far from ideal, especially bearing in mind that this period has witnessed Boardroom departures and the resignation of the Club Secretary.

As stated above, we now have serious concerns and we would welcome definitive answers to the following points:-

  1. There are a number of transactions listed this year on the Companies House website containing charges made against Dumbarton FC. Of major concern to the Trust are the three charges against Cognitive Capital held by Pendragon Ltd, an Isle of Man Company who in turn have a charge against all their assets by Ice Tone Holdings, another Isle of Man company with links to the Far East.
  2. We are aware that these transactions were not authorised by a special resolution of the Club’s shareholders. If, as it appears, Cognitive Capital have used Dumbarton FC assets as security against their purchase of the club, we have concerns that Financial Assistance rules contained within the Companies Act 2008 may have been broken.
  3. We are surprised that a company based in North West England, who specialise in house extensions and summer houses, should wish to sponsor a third-tier football club in Scotland. We believe that previous sponsorships of both the stadium and the team jersey raised around £35,000 for the Club. We note that the most recent accounts of this company, Moreroom Extensions Ltd, show their net assets to be worth £17.5k. We are also aware that in the past sponsorship monies contracted to the Club for shirt sponsorship by the company, Bet Butler Ltd, were never forthcoming. Can you give any assurance about receipt of monies from sponsorship, and specifically whether Moreroom Extensions Ltd have paid their promised amount?
  4. When Cognitive Capital took over from Brabco736 in May 2021, they stated that they wished to resurrect the previously failed attempt to relocate the Club to Youngs Farm. Seven months on, we can find no record on the Land Register of Scotland of any purchase from Chivas (Pernod Ricard) of land at Dalmoak. We would like a full update on this, on the relocation proposals, and on how this will be achieved and financed in a way that benefits the Club.
  5. We note with that the Company Secretary, Stephen Lynch, recently tendered his resignation. How is his vital role in overseeing financial affairs and assisting the board in financial planning being filled?
  6. We note also that all three associate directors have now resigned from the DFC Board. Is it now the intention to augment the current club Board complement with particular emphasis on additional local representation?
  7. Can you clarify the role of major shareholder Andrew Hosie, and confirm or otherwise whether he currently has his direct input and involvement in financial affairs and decisions relating to Dumbarton Football Club given that he is currently disqualified from company Directorship as a result of historic business malpractice set out in detail by the Insolvency Service?
  8. Last but not least, can you please confirm if there is a business plan in place intended to secure the future of Dumbarton Football Club, and how would any further failure to secure Planning Permission for a proposed new facility at Youngs Farm be accommodated?

We look forward to your responses to these questions. We would also greatly appreciate a prompt indication of the DFC Board’s willingness to engage with ourselves and the wider Sons support, as proposed above in the near future. This to discuss the ownership, running and development of Dumbarton Football Club.

With Seasons greetings to yourself, your fellow Directors, and your families.

Yours sincerely,

David Brownlee

Chair

Sonstrust Statement on Colt Teams Proposals

June 7, 2020

THE SONSTRUST would like to reaffirm its opposition to the idea of ‘colt teams’ being introduced into the SPFL League system. In a consultation conducted in 2018, 89% of Trust members voted against the idea of having Colt teams play in our lower leagues, and it is also the unanimous position of the Sonstrust Board. We would therefore firmly oppose any league reconstruction proposals which introduced colt teams into the bottom tier.

We believe the democratic principle of ‘one club, one team’ should be upheld, and to see the lower tier devalued into little more than a development league for the top two sides in Scotland to test their youth against is something we could not support under any circumstances. This opportunistic attempt to use the crisis in Scottish football to shoehorn their development sides into the lower leagues, with the promises of guaranteed ticket sales and joining fees should be recognised as no more than a bribe – one that compromises the integrity of the competition. We believe that whatever financial benefit can be obtained by admitting colt teams into the league will be outweighed by the loss of revenue and goodwill from our supporters who overwhelmingly oppose the idea. The low attendances and boycotts at Challenge Cup fixtures involving colt teams both at The Rock and at many other grounds across Scotland show that there is little appetite to see the introduction of colt teams into the league.

The Sonstrust will therefore be making firm representations to the Club in opposition to any reconstruction proposal involving colt teams being introduced into the league setup. No matter the financial gain, the Club should not sells its soul by voting for such a proposal and risk antagonising its supporters who have been incredibly generous to the club over the past few months, rallying around and contributing financially to help ensure the future of our club.

A Letter to Members From Stephanie Park

May 19, 2020
The New Sonstrust Director on the Club Board with a message for Trust Members

Dear Trust Member,

I hope you are all well and looking after each other.

I am absolutely delighted at being elected on the to board as your Sonstrust Representative, especially  as the other two candidates were stiff competition.

I hope I will do you proud and aim to carry out the role to the very best of my abilities.  It is going to be a challenge as we are in very strange and worrying times but WE WILL get through it.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or queries or indeed ideas to help our club through these difficult times. It is important now more than ever that we all work together as a team to help our club survive this crisis.

You can contact me at hospitality@dumbartonfc.co.uk

As I said during the voting stage I want to be approachable to all, obviously I can’t see you in person at the moment but please, feel free to contact me by email at any time. I will respond to everyone. Meetings will be held once it is safe to do so.

Once we know what is happening next season I will see and speak with everyone, I know how much I am missing my Saturdays at the club so I am sure you will be the same.

Stay safe and hopefully see you all soon.

Kind regards,

Stephanie

SONSTRUST 2019-20 AWARDS

April 29, 2020
by

sons-viewThe Sonstrust Player of the Year Awards will this year be held online, with a virtual award ceremony! With the season coming to a close early due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, we’ll be asking Sons fans to cast their vote online for their Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year. If you travel with us on the Trust organised bus to away games then you’ll also be able to vote for the Sonstrust Travel Club Player of the Year.

We then hope to bring you a pre-recorded POTY show on Facebook on Saturday evening, which will feature acceptance speeches from the recipients of the awards. Other awards up for grabs include the Sons View Player of the Year (chosen by the matchday programme team), Highest Goalscorer award and Goal of the Season.

You can vote from now until Friday 1st May at 10PM for your POTY picks at this link: https://forms.gle/ZJDLQCLydRccwRfE8

TRUST DIRECTOR ELECTION

March 2, 2020
by

VOTING is now open on our online voting platform for the election of the Sonstrust Representative on the Club Board! Members for whom we have email addresses on file should have received an email last night with information about the election and with a link to the online voting platform. Members we do not have this information for have been sent a postal ballot.

You can cast your vote in 2 minutes here: https://forms.gle/f5bxnDYxbDgm9Z8k6

A small number of people have not received the email as the email address we have on file for them is inactive. If this applies to you don’t worry, you’re still able to vote at the link above!

We have also released a video interview with all 3 candidates where they set out why you should vote for them. You can view that on our newly created Sonstrust YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/1YGBsAXRijE

Voting is open until the 16th March at 17:00. Please use your vote!

Election information

February 26, 2020
by
THE postponement of the game last Saturday vs Forfar Athletic, sadly also brought the cancellation of our planned hustings for the election of a Sonstrust Representative on the Club Board. The Trust Board have however decided that a less formal setup than that of a hustings would be a better alternative:
  • Candidates will be available at the Trust table in the Community Suite for members to ask them questions
  • Copies of their candidate profiles will also be available
  • The Sonstrust will also be releasing a short video interviewing the candidates, which we plan to release on social media as well as sharing a link on this website.

As previously publicised, members can vote in one of 3 ways, please try to include your membership number however you choose to vote:

  1. For members who have provided the Trust with an email address, they will be able to vote via an online election platform. Members will be sent a link to this, along with a link to the interview with the three candidates, as well as each of their candidate profiles
  2. For members who haven’t provided an email address, they will be sent a paper ballot by post, which they can fill out and return by post to:Sons Supporters Trust, The C&G Systems Stadium, Castle Road, Dumbarton, G82 1JJ
  3. Alternatively, any member wishing to do so will have the opportunity to cast a paper ballot at the stadium at the Trust table this Saturday (29th Feb vs Raith Rovers), where they can meet and question the candidates. This can also be done on the 14th March (vs Falkirk) both days between 13:30-14:55
  • Members may vote only once
  • The poll will now close on Monday 16th March at 17:00. Members should ensure their ballots are cast by then, and that members voting by post send their ballots in time. The results of the ballot will be shared shortly afterwards
  • Any Dumbarton fans who have not yet become members of the Trust have until 17:00 on Friday 28th February to submit an application and vote in this election. Any new members submitting applications after this will not be entitled to a vote.

STEPHANIE PARK – STATEMENT

February 20, 2020
by

Stephanie Park

ROBBI DOCHERTY – STATEMENT

February 20, 2020
by

Robbi Docherty

DAVID BROWNLEE – STATEMENT

February 20, 2020
by

David Brownlee

ELECTION OF A REPRESENTATIVE TO THE DFC BOARD

February 20, 2020
by

SONSTRUST members will have their chance to have their say on who should be the new Trust representative on the Club Board. As a result of Alan Findlay standing down from the Club Board after many years of incredible work for both the Trust and the Club, the Sonstrust will be running an election to nominate his successor. Three candidates have put themselves forward; David Brownlee, Robbi Docherty and Stephanie Park. The Trust board that formed after the AGM in October has been working hard to organise the election and details are as follows:

A hustings will take place post-match on Sat 22nd February (vs Forfar Athletic) in Bar 72, where members can hear from the candidates, and ask any questions they may have.

Voting will then take place

  • For members who have provided the Trust with an email address, they will be able to vote via an online election platform which members will be sent a link to. This will also be shared on the Trust website and social media platforms
  • For members who haven’t provided an email address, they will be sent a paper ballot by post, which they can fill out and send by post to:

Sons Supporters Trust, The C&G Systems Stadium, Castle Road, Dumbarton, G82 1JJ

  • Alternatively, any member wishing to do so will have the opportunity to cast a paper ballot after the hustings on the 22nd February, and also pre-match at the Trust table on the 29th February.
  • The poll will close at 17:00 on Monday 9th March. Members should ensure their ballots are cast by then, and that members voting by post send their ballots in time. The results of the ballot will be shared shortly afterwards.

In the meantime, the three candidates were asked to provide a short statement including answers to the following questions. Their answers will follow after this post.

“What experience will you bring to the role of being a director of Dumbarton FC, and how will you make the voice of trust members heard?”

“What do you see as key issues facing Dumbarton FC which need to be addressed at board level?”

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