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Trust Response to DFC Owners’ Update

March 22, 2017

DFCscarvesBRABCO development leader and Dumbarton FC director Ian Wilson has this morning (Wednesday 22nd March 2017) provided a second update about relocation proposals on the club website.

The Sonstrust welcomes regular provision of information from the owners, Granada Enterprises/Brabco, which we have been requesting for some time.

We are currently seeking agreement with Brabco over terms on which we (and non-Brabco members of the club board) can see the plans to which Mr Wilson refers, so that local knowledge and concerns can be brought on board.

Nothing of this kind has been shared with us so far, or over the past three years, but we look forward to that changing very soon.

The issue of the viability of a new stadium development (financially and in planning terms) overlaps with, but is distinct from, the question about what is realistically sustainable for a club Dumbarton’s size moving forward.

That sustainability issue, which both we and the club chairman have pressed strongly, and which we are glad Brabco are publicly acknowledging, is a matter of business modelling and planning for the future of Dumbarton FC.

This has yet to happen, though various ideas have been mooted in relation to income streams.

We want all of that examined and tested independently from ours and the club’s perspective, not just from the developers’, as mentioned by Mr Wilson.

Our determination is that the best path forward is taken for the club we love, and that supporters have a real stake and say in the emerging future.

In terms of being convinced that the proposed relocation is the best option, that will depend not upon dreams or promises, but upon comparable and testable business proposals with robust details and investment specifications.

We are also pleased that Brabco are starting to answer the questions posed independently by the Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter. However, there is further to go in this regard, as this statement from Mr Wilson illustrates.

We note that the question about who is involved in Granada Enterprises (Brabco’s holding company) – reworded from the form in which the Reporter has repeated it over the past weeks – has still not been answered beyond information already in the public arena, and that some of the owners still wish to maintain their anonymity.

We believe, along with the Scottish Football Supporters Association and others in influential positions across the game, that all football clubs should be owned and run in a way that is open, accountable and scrutinisable. That is a matter of good business practice and ethics. It is something the game has suffered a lack of in the past, sometimes to fatal effect.

It is evident that proper transparency is only possible when you know who you are dealing with and what their interests are. This matters a great deal to us and to those who have concern for our club and for others. It is the only basis for confidence and success in ventures like this.

We will continue to press this issue in the coming weeks. It is one of the reasons that we are asking the club to hold an AGM for the first time in many years, so that all shareholders have the chance to make their views or concerns known.

We also note that, outwith private conversations, there is no response from Brabco to the specific comments made by our MSP, Jackie Baillie, who is a valued member and backer of the Sonstrust, and who has a genuine and informed concern for Dumbarton FC, along with the local MP and other figures of influence we have talked to.

We very much look forward to continuing engagement with the majority shareholders, to gaining sight of the plans about which they talk, and to doing our utmost in ensuring a successful outcome to these deliberations from the perspective of Sons fans and the community.

Trust Travel – Ayr United – 25th March 2017

March 21, 2017

SUPPORTERS bus bookings are now being taken for Sons next away day at Somerset Park (v Ayr Utd) on Sat 25th March 2017.

Bus leaves Dumbarton Church St at 12.30pm

Our usual booking procedure applies – 4 ways!

1. Call Tommy Hughes on 07710 771341
2. E-mail memsecy@sonstrust.net
3. Use our dedicated Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/719497688160601/
4. Leave a comment on this post

John Thackrey

March 21, 2017

WE are extremely sad to hear of the passing of long-term trust member and DFC supporter John Thackrey last weekend.

Trust members send their deepest sympathies and condolences to John’s family and friends at this difficult time. He will be hugely missed.

He was a well known and liked figure around the Dumbarton community, contributing to supporting Dumbarton in a large variety of ways

Rest in peace fella.

Funeral will take place at Cardross Crematorium on Sat 25th March at 9.30am.

Sonstrust Response to Brabco Statement

March 13, 2017

SonstrustAGM

THE lead representative of the club’s owners, Ian Wilson, who is also a DFC director, has put an update about the stadium relocation proposals on the Dumbarton FC website this morning.

The Sonstrust welcomes this statement from Brabco/Granada, who ultimately control Dumbarton FC as the majority shareholders.

The contents of the statement are a direct response to proactive public and private engagement from the Sonstrust over the past three years.

During that time, since the new stadium proposal was first mooted publicly, there has been little information coming out directly from the club and the owners, aside from what has been gleaned from two meetings organised by the Sonstrust and other discussions initiated by us.

So we are pleased to hear that there will now be the regular updates that we have been asking for.

We are also pleased that Brabco are now responding to our request to bring their operation fully onshore, following publicity in the Reporter, the Sunday Herald and other parts of the media.

This is crucial to providing the confidence that supporters and the community need. Our position is that the ownership of football clubs should be a matter of demonstrable transparency.

As shareholders in the club the trust will continue to press for an AGM, which has not been held for many years, so that we and other stakeholders can ask appropriate questions. While not a formal legal requirement, this is clearly good business practice and a basic element of accountability.

We are glad that Brabco recognise that the key issue for the club we love is that any new stadium must be financially sustainable for Dumbarton FC in the long term.

The viability of the project in these terms needs to be confirmed independently in advance of it going ahead, and supporter representatives can and should be an essential part of that process.

We are very pleased that our request for members of the Sonstrust to be involved in examining revenue and income plans around the stadium relocation has now been acknowledged publicly by Brabco.

We have made it clear that we are of course willing to observe reasonable and specific confidentiality around commercial issues. However, this cannot be at the expense of proper transparency, accountability and a role for the trust in ensuring that concerns from supporters and the community are dealt with openly. That remains a bottom line for us.

We have always made it clear that if a testable plan for a new stadium is developed which provides new facilities, which secures the future of the club and which benefits supporters, the Dumbarton community and the environment, we will support that plan with the backing of our members.

We are not at that point yet, but we seem to be making progress, which is good news. The priority now is having sight of, and input into, the developers’ emerging plans in order to make sure that this is the case. Supporters and members of the community can also bring on board vitally needed local knowledge and ideas.

We know that verifiable business modelling is the wish of the club chairman and other non-Brabco directors of Dumbarton FC, too. We have a common interest in that.

We also note the possible aim for Dumbarton to become a full-time team. That would evidently require significant new revenue, in addition to the extra income needed to maintain a new stadium.

Hitherto the majority owners have not invested specifically in the football side of the club, but we welcome signs that this may change moving forward.

We will comment on issues as they emerge, and we look forward both to the next stage in the discussions and to further updates.

(Comments and responses welcome.)

Trust Travel v Hibs, 18th March 2017

March 13, 2017

SUPPORTERS bus bookings are now being taken for Sons next away day at Easter Road on 18th March 2017.

Stevie Aitken’s men travel to Scotland’s capital city to play Hibs in another crunch SPFL clash – get along to #supportoursons

Our usual booking procedure applies – 4 ways!

1. Call Tommy Hughes on 07710 771341
2. E-mail memsecy@sonstrust.net
3. Use our dedicated Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/719497688160601/
4. Leave a comment on this post

Trust Travel – v Dunfermline Ath

February 27, 2017

SUPPORTERS bus bookings are now being taken for Sons next away day at East End Park (v Dunfermline Ath) on 4th March 2017

The bus leaves Dumbarton Church St at 12.45pm.

Our usual booking procedure applies – 4 ways!

1. Call Denise Currie on 07706 025820
2. E-mail secy@sonstrust.net
3. Use our dedicated Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/719497688160601/
4. Leave a comment on this post

Congratulations Stevie and Sparky!

January 11, 2017

BOOM, bust…and Bonnyrigg.

In those few words, you can sum up the year of 2016 for Dumbarton. In fact, you can probably sum up the final 25 days of it.

Tuesday, December 6 was an evening which will be recalled with horror for many years. For Huntly a quarter of a century ago, read Bonnyrigg Rose, the junior side who claimed a fully deserved Scottish Cup victory at Dumbarton.

Stevie Aitken left the pitch that night listening to the venom that comes the way of many a manager on the receiving end of that sort of result. Mark Docherty was one of the players he had to rehabilitate, and work together with to make things better – quickly.

Three and a half weeks later they walked off having claimed the season’s second victory over Dundee United, Sparky having scored the winner in each of them. It was also a result which made it seven points from the last nine, and put daylight between Sons and the Championship’s bottom two places.

And now, with the hearty congratulations of all at DFC and the Sons Supporters Trust, they have been rewarded for that with the league’s manager and player of the month accolades. Prizes which, four weeks ago, seemed eons away.

Boom and bust indeed. 2016 was a year when one extreme became another more times than most.

The club website’s recent countdown of the top 10 moments of the year wasn’t difficult to compile. Games which failed to make the cut included December’s victories over Queen of the South and Falkirk.

Even the goalless draw against Dundee, on only the club’s second trip into the last 16 of the Scottish Cup since the 1980s, didn’t get in.

It would, though, have been just as easy to chart the most forgettable moments of the year, and make it a countdown to match or beat several years. Conceding five goals or more four times before July was out (although none for the rest of the year). Failure to win any of six cup ties against lower league opposition, allied to two such outcomes in 2015. And Bonnyrigg – grrrr…

But everybody at DFC prefers to remember it as the year when Dundee United and St Mirren were beaten twice, one of the victories over the latter securing survival. Hibs and Falkirk, too, have left the Rock with nothing on one visit.

For every time to say ‘I was there’ in a hushed, reserved voice, there is at least one to say it with real pride.

And while we are now into a New Year, the season is only at its halfway point and its goal has not changed.

The Sons team which lost to Huntly in 1992 went on to…actually, we won’t tell you that. That campaign is being documented in Sons View this season to mark its 25th anniversary and if you don’t want to know the ending, we won’t spoil it for you.

They picked themselves up from that loss, responded and met their target. Whether the class of 2016/17 reach their goal ultimately won’t be known until May.

However, the other elements of that sentence have been done with some vigour since the evening of Tuesday, December 6. They say that if you’re going through hell, keep going and the rewards will follow. It’s happened as a result of the first class effort over recent games.

And with Hibs coming to the Rock on Saturday, nobody wants it to end yet.

Congratulations Stevie, and Mark. These are honours you have earned and fully deserve.

Twenty-four hours of football now stand between them, the rest of DFC, and an even bigger prize.

If, after the remaining 16 Championship matches, there are at least two teams below Sons in the table, there will only be one ‘B’ word for everybody.

Bring, or in full – bring on season number six in the second tier.

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