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Sonstrust Response to Brabco Statement

March 13, 2017


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.)

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