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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

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