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FAQ on Stadium Relocation

January 12, 2018

Brabco faq

THE owners of Dumbarton FC have given public responses to ten key questions posed to them by the Sonstrust, based on the trust’s engagement with its members and monitoring of questions and issues raised by fans on social media over a number of weeks. 

Along with the six assurances provided to supporters by Brabco, the FAQs seeks to summarise in brief and readable form some of the issues involved in lengthy, detailed discussions that have taken place over several months between the clubs owners and representatives of the trust. The talks have included exchanges about stadium ownership, the process of moving, the commercial and business case, changes needed at the club from both the fans’ and owners’ perspectives, and much more.

There will be an opportunity to hear more about this and to ask questions at the forum in the Community Suite at the YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium tomorrow (Saturday 13th January 2018) before our game against Championship leaders St Mirren. We will also be hearing directly what the Club Board thinks from vice-chairman Colin Hosie.

This material (attached, link below) will be sent out to trust members by email shortly, together with an opportunity for them to indicate whether or not they feel the trust should give a public ‘green light’ as a body to the planning application being considered by West Dunbartonshire Council on 31st January (a key stage in what has been, and will be, a long process if all this moves ahead). The other option will be to continue to leave it to individual members to make representations as they choose.

The trust will be writing as a matter of course to councillors to seek an assurance from them that a fixed condition of any planning consent would be a requirement that a new stadium be ready before any sale at Castle Road. That is a condition that Brabco have publicly accepted and are expecting, as part of their assurance that there will be no ground share involved in the proposed relocation, and therefore no threat to the security of the club.

You can read the full ten-point FAQ and the six assurances here: Brabco FAQ & Assurances.

 

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50/50 MATCHDAY CO-ORDINATOR REQUIRED

January 10, 2018

THE Sonstrust are looking for a reliable supporter/trust member  to become part of the half-time draw (50/50) team.

The half-time draw is co-ordinated by the Supporters Trust but we need a match day supervisor and if you are over 16, available for all home matches (Saturdays and midweek), reliable, have an outgoing personality then you could be the person required.

Interested? Then contact Alan Findlay on 07904 666 014 or drop an e-mail to secy@sonstrust.net

Alternatively leave contact details in the comment section of this post and we will respond.

Owners Give Written Assurances to Fans

January 9, 2018

meeting3

THE owners of Dumbarton Football Club have given six written guarantees to the club’s fans through the Sonstrust about the conditions applying to the planning application for a new stadium development at Young’s farm.

The move comes after a three-hour meeting of trust representatives with Brabco director Chris Stainton last Friday, and the first of two Q&A session at the club’s stadium ahead of Dumbarton’s game against Dunfermline on Saturday.

The statement (which will be made available to fans) has been co-signed on behalf of Brabco by Chris Stainton and by former Dumbarton FC director Ian Wilson.

It promises that “the new stadium will be owned in such a way as to secure its continuing use as a sustainable facility for DFC into the foreseeable future” and that “there will be no ground share during the relocation process”.

Brabco also pledges that there will be significant changes to the club’s governance and board, with the trust guaranteed continuing board representation and a commitment to find “people with the right skill sets to move the club forward.”

In addition, the Sons’ owners agree with the trust that Dumbarton needs to be a strong community club. They pledge to involving fans in commercial planning for the new development, and commit the club to “best practice processes for engagement with the DFC fanbase.”

Brabco has also committed publicly to bringing the ownership of the club onshore, which the trust has pushed for. That is in process at present.

Should the relocation move ahead, trust representatives also foresee the opportunity arising for us as a fans’ group (or for our CiC vehicle) to increase our holding and influence in the club.

The commitments Brabco have now made in writing represent significant progress in our discussions with the owners of Dumbarton FC in recently, following nearly nine months of exchanges and meetings.

We have negotiated based our own cast iron priority as a trust – which is the to ensure the security and flourishing of the club we love.

Moving forward, and whatever transpires in terms of the stadium issue, we want to see substantial community engagement, better governance, fresh commercial development to support the team, and a real and lasting partnership between the club board, the majority owners and the trust.

We have had beneficial conversations with the owners about how this can take shape, and we will bringing further ideas and proposals of our own in the coming weeks, in consultation with our members.

ANOTHER CONSULTATION ON SATURDAY

In the meantime, a second Q&A session will take place before the St Mirren game on Saturday 13th January (2pm in the Community Suite), ahead of a vote of trust members on whether or not the trust should give its green light to the next stage in all this, the planning application – bearing in mind that even if that hurdle is passed, there’s a long way to go. That vote should take place for trust members early next week.

The meeting on Saturday will involve DFC vice chair Colin Hosie explaining the club board’s perspective on the way ahead, as well as trust representative on the club board, Alan Findlay, the leader of our trust negotiating team, Simon Barrow, and members Stevie Lynch and Alistair Thorn.

(Brabco’s PR team will likely be present again on Saturday, but this particular Q&A at 2pm is for fans and trust members, focusing on what’s the best future for our club, and the risks and opportunities involved in a decision to stay or move.)

Trust Q&A Before Dunfermline Game

January 4, 2018

IMG_5625THERE will be a brief update from the Sonstrust on the stadium relocation proposal and a chance for people to make comments and ask questions before the home game against Dunfermline on Saturday 6th January.

We’ll start around 1.50pm for half an hour in the Community Suite. And yes, bar service will continue as usual!

The Playfair team, who are promoting the new stadium plans on behalf of DFC’s owners and the club, will also be around with their display and leaflets. So you can question them, too.

In addition, this will be the first chance in 2018 to renew or take up your Sonstrust membership, and Tommy Hughes will be keen to sign you up at the trust table.

Last year we reached our highest ever membership number of 360, and this year we are going for 400. It costs just £10 to renew or join, makes you part of a shareholding in Dumbarton FC, and gives you a strong voice in decisions about the future of the club.

As a percentage of season ticket holders and regular fans we have the one of the largest memberships in Scotland, bringing together the great majority of Sons supporters in a registered provident society (co-operative).

Please help make us even stronger… and support the work we do: running the club website,  programme, commercial activities and 50/50 draw, Sons TV and matchday media, holding social events, raising funds, consulting fans, representing your concerns to the club and owners, and having a voice in the boardroom through our trust director.

There’s No Confusion – Fans Will Decide

January 3, 2018

Page 25 - pic 1VARIOUS newspapers still seem to be in a wee bit of a muddle about the (longstanding and consistent) position of the Sonstrust on the planning application by Dumbarton FC’s owners to build a new stadium for the club at Young’s Farm.

First, the Evening Times and the Herald grandly announced last week that ‘Dumbarton fans back bid to move historic ground’. They said this on the strength of an (unchecked) quote about potential local benefit, mined from the ‘Thumbs Up for Young’s Farm’ press release.

(In a letter back, we pointed out that we have indeed “recognised the community and  commercial potential” that could come from a sustainable stadium development. But the trust hasn’t yet made any decision about formal endorsement of a particular plan — because to take such a decision we’d need to put it to a members’ vote, which hasn’t happened yet. That’s all.)

The Dumbarton Reporter was appraised of this important distinction, and this week has published a story about it along with a full page about the Young’s Farm campaign. But its chosen front page headline for this was  ‘Fans deny backing stadium move plan’, which to many innocent readers might seem to imply that we’ve decided not to back it.

No, that’s clearly not the case either! There was nothing to ‘deny’. All we did was point out that the Evening Times claim about “full support” was not accurate because no official vote has been taken, that we are maintaining our positive and ‘Open mind on a ground move’ right now, and that the Sonstrust is very constructively engaging with the club’s owners on all the issues involved in either moving or staying — because, like everybody else involved, we want the right decision to be taken for the benefit of DFC.

IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT… or, if you want a bit more detail, this!

PS. We have a further meeting with an owner’s representative planned at the end of this week, and we are hopeful about reporting further progress in the near future. There’s also a Q&A session before the game on 6th January.

 

The Sonstrust and DFC Stadium Proposals

December 28, 2017

sonstrustagm

FOLLOWING recent press coverage, and reaction on social media to the launch of the ‘Thumbs Up for Young’s Farm’ campaign, people have been asking if the Sonstrust could say more about the issues involved in relation to ourselves. We are happy to do so.

What we can say at present is as follows.

1. We are taking a positive approach

We very much welcome the community engagement emphasis that the owners of Dumbarton FC have recently brought into their proposals to relocate the club to a new stadium at Young’s Farm.

The community approach is one we have advocated for many years – and it is really good to see that it is being taken seriously at last.

A well-respected sports development consultant, Penny Lochhead of PMR, has also been brought on board by the owners.

We have had two positive informal meetings with Penny. We like the PMR business watchword, “proven not promised”.

2. We regard flexibility as important

If the new stadium project is given the next green light by the Council at the end of January, or if it is approved at a subsequent juncture, we will want to continue to be fully engaged with the development as it moves forward.

We recognise, of course, that planning consent is only a first step, and that there is much more to be done, especially on the commercial and financial side.

Equally, if the club were to end up staying at its current location – which quite a few fans would still hope for – then we will engage positively on a different way forward, ensuring that supporters remain active participants in shaping the club’s future.

3. We put supporters first

As a supporters trust (a registered fans’ cooperative) we are there to represent the views of our 350 members, who constitute the great majority of the regular home gate at Dumbarton – along with many well-wishers in other parts of the country and beyond.

After three public meetings and much consultation we know that quite a few supporters are warming towards the idea of a new stadium with additional facilities and income potential, while others remain concerned about its feasibility, the desirability of moving and the longer-term intentions of the owners.

All supporters put the security of the club they love as their first concern, and that will continue to be the trust’s first concern also, along with the club board on which we have representation.

4. We want the club to flourish

We want Dumbarton FC to have a thriving future, with fans and the community at its heart. That’s why we naturally welcome the potential of a community stadium offering great facilities for the club, the local community and youth football in the area – while at the same time continuing to work for the concrete assurances and sound business plans that fans want to be convinced of its genuine viability.

The planning application for the new stadium is due to be considered by the Council at the end of January 2018. We are encouraging supporters to make their own views known, and the owners are naturally lobbying hard for support for their project.

Our aim remains to ensure that any community stadium development, on a new site or on the current one, is appropriate, sustainable and beneficial for the club, and that fans are fully engaged.

5. We remain accountable to our members

The trust will be consulting its members and seeking a formal mandate for any further comment on the new stadium planning application early in the New Year.

Before that, we will be talking to the owners at the beginning of January about what further assurances they are able to give to address remaining concerns before and after the end of January.

We will also be continuing with the creation of a community interest vehicle (a CIC) capable of increasing our positive influence and stakeholding in Dumbarton FC and promoting an asset lock.

6. We believe in partnership

The Sonstrust remains confident that, with the right will and approach on all sides, the fans, the club and the present owners can move forward positively – with the interests of the club paramount. We will continue to engage, both publicly and behind the scenes, with that as the objective.

We will say more in the New Year.

Wishing one and all a great Hogmanay!

—–

The full back story on the stadium move:

Sep 16 2014 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1c0
Oct 29 2014 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1cu
Nov 3 2014 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1cR
Nov 6 2014 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1d1
Nov 9 2014 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1de
Nov 10 2014 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1do
Nov 27 2014 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1dH
Jun 4 2015 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1hS
Oct 25 2016 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1qS
Oct 30 2016 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1r5
Nov 5 2016 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1s7
Dec 2 2016 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1sm
Mar 13 2017 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1tB
Apr 10 2017 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1uu
Jun 5 2017 – http://wp.me/pbyRe-1xu
Oct 5 2017 – https://sonstrust.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/consultation-on-stadium-plans-fans-meeting/
Oct 18 2017 – https://sonstrust.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/join-us-on-thursday-to-discuss-dfcs-future/
Oct 20 2017 – https://sonstrust.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/meeting-a-success/
Dec 22 2017 – https://sonstrust.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/stadium-project-info/

Stadium Project Info

December 22, 2017

DFC-Panels-FINAL-4THE promotional team behind the proposed stadium relocation will be handing out leaflets and showing plans to Sons fans at the Falkirk game on 23rd December, seeking endorsement for the proposals.

The planning application for a new stadium for Dumbarton FC at Young’s Farm is due to be considered by the Council at the end of January 2018, and there is a lot riding on it. We would encourage supporters to make their views known.

The Sonstrust will go on engaging positively with the club and its owners on any and all plans for the future — and seeking the necessary assurances about our own role as key stakeholders.

The trust’s priority will continue to be to reflect the concerns of fans, and to ensure that any development, on a new site or on the current one, is appropriate and fully benefical for the club we love.

We want Dumbarton FC to have a thriving future, with fans and the community at its heart. A sustainable community stadium development could create major opportunities for us and for the local area, which we want to be fully part of.

There will be more about the planning application and what it means for the club, for fans and for the community over the next few games. It’s vital that supporters are fully engaged with key decisions about the future of our club.

(A press release and showreel will be on the DFC website from midday.)

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