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Comment Following Trust General Meeting

November 27, 2014

26thNov2FANS who took part in the Sonstrust general meeting on 26th November have described it as positive meeting with good discussion, robust questions and forthright answers.

The proposals for a major stadium relocation and redevelopment are at an early stage. The Sonstrust is determined to ensure that the views and concerns of fans are taken fully into consideration as the consultation and discussion continues.

We are encouraged by the clear, public commitment of the club chairman and CEO that Dumbarton FC will not be exposed to any financial peril from these plans. The risk is being born fully by the developers, we are being told, and the aim is a ‘win-win’ situation for them, the club, fans and the local community.

The trust will continue to ensure that tough and necessary questions are asked as things move forward, and to reflect the different views fans hold.

We are a fully independent registered cooperative of supporters, and we are looking to be a major part of the future of Dumbarton Football Club.

We see partnership and community involvement as key, whether it is through this proposed development or another way forward.

** All articles on the stadium issue: https://sonstrust.wordpress.com/tag/stadium/

(Trust comment made to the press: Simon Barrow. Picture: Jack Crawford)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen Miller permalink
    November 29, 2014 7:29 pm

    I thought it was a well presented pitch, and on the face of it I cant see any major objections to the idea as long as the guarantees that Gilbert and Alan Jardine confirmed are solid.

    I don’t believe for one minute that we need a 4000 seater stadium, and I doubt we would even fill the first phase at 2500, that bit of the scenario just does not make sense.

    However, if we get a new stadium, we generate non football income, and we continue to progress, then fine by me.

    One question. Mr Jardine emphasised on numerous occasions that without this we are heading for League two, or as he called it Third Division, cos chairman rarely know what is actually happening around them.

    So whats the plan to make sure in the next four years until Utopia is built that we dont’

    Milby

  2. Peter McCormick permalink
    December 10, 2014 8:36 am

    As I understand that the Board have stated that they will take on board opinions of fans from the Trust website, I have noted my thoughts on the proposed stadium move below.

    I feel like I have a few questions unanswered, but appreciate the chairman saying he’s open to future consultation.

    The statements about how DFC aren’t exposed to any risk and simply won’t move if it isn’t right or will all resign their directorships if Brabco upset them left me more concerned than appeased. I’m also somewhat perturbed by the chairman saying he’s only ever met 4 of the 6 Brabco members over the years. I’d have thought that the majority shareholders would be more familiar with the club chairman.

    From the chairman’s comments at the recent open meeting:

    “People ask why get bigger when the ground is only half full. Alloa and Cowdenbeath will make £180,000 more than Dumbarton will this season because of the games they have.

    “It’s not about the size of the stadium – it’s about the facilities. We need more than season ticket money and gate money and right now we don’t have more than that.”

    Surely he’s contradicting himself there? It either is about the stadium attendances for this very rare season, or it isn’t. So which is it?

    “To turn the key in our current stadium, and keep it running, is costing £75,000 to £100,000 a year, and it will get worse before it gets better.”

    He made this fairly bombastic statement about running costs for the current stadium, but never answered me when I asked him about this.

    As for his statements about the club going full time (or quasi full-time, as he corrected himself to), where has the number of “within 4 seasons” come from? Also, based on the information we were given at the open meeting, full time status would only be achievable by staying in the Championship and big clubs with big away supports being in there with us every season plus constant use of the additional income stream facilities at the new ground. If we have a rough year and don’t get much use out of the gyms, hotels etc and there are no “big” clubs in the Championship one season then our own crowds would not sustain full time football, so that’s a concern.

    Additionally, he stated that we already pay more than double the season ticket and gate receipts on the wage bill currently, but that players are complaining that Alloa and Cowdenbeath pay bigger bonuses and bigger basic salaries. Now, to be honest, I don’t really believe that, but taking it as true, my response would be to tell the players to find employment elsewhere and replace them with others who’d be happy to play for our wages, which are more than ample. I asked him about this and said that we, as supporters, are more likely to be satisfied with a team playing at a lower level (if need be) and a secure future than to stay in a higher league paying wages which he himself says we can’t really afford, but again he never really answered that.

    He said repeatedly that we need to move or we will slip down the leagues. I just don’t really believe it, nor does the concept really concern me, because leagues work two ways, not just up and no club can stay up forever just by throwing money at the wage bill and building new commercial facilities to sustain full time football on part time crowds.

    Another, smaller, point which I’m not sold on is the idea of a supporters bar at the new ground which is open 7 days a week and will generate income. The fact is that the new stadium is away from housing and transport and the town centre and is therefore unlikely to be used except for match days. If the idea is to increase revenue by keeping the bar open all the time then it’ll quickly be a case of costing money to keep the lights on and the staff on shift when there’s no-one using it. But that’s for years down the line and not nearly as important as the bigger issues.

    In terms of populating all of the new “land parcels” that generate commercial revenue on the new stadium site prior to the club making a move, that could literally take years to achieve as we have seen with the Artizan, Lomondgate and St James’ Retail Park. If, as Gilbert Lawrie suggests, the club will not move at all until every single commercial contract is signed to fill these units then the club could be waiting a very long time.

    Also, the chairman seemed to contradict himself when saying that Alloa and Cowdenbeath pay better wages / bonuses than us, but then saying that we have offered players more than full time wages but they’ve preferred to stay full time for less. Additionally, Cowdenbeath reportedly offered Scott Linton and Colin Nish contracts when we signed them, so if Cowdenbeath’s wages / bonuses are better, how come those two play for us?

    Given the various points raised above, I feel that I cannot give my support to the proposed stadium plans at this time.

  3. sonsteam permalink*
    December 18, 2014 6:17 pm

    Thanks Peter. Appreciate you taking the time to respond.

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