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Recruitment drive on Saturday

April 10, 2017

THE Sons Supporters Trust will stage a recruitment drive at Saturday’s home game against Dunfermline Athletic.

Fans who are not yet members of the Trust are invited to sign up for next season NOW, for only £10 per year.

Existing members who do not pay by standing order can also renew their membership on Saturday for the same price.

We’ll be promoting this recruitment drive vigorously throughout the week leading up to the Dunfermline match. Joining the Sons Supporters Trust really is a way to have a say in the future of YOUR football club.

If you’re already convinced you want to join the Trust, you can of course do so now! Email memsecy@sonstrust.net for details.

Trust response to comments by Ian Wilson

April 10, 2017

sonstrustlogoAN article profiling the views of Brabco lead developer and Dumbarton FC director Ian Wilson appeared in the Scottish Sun newspaper on Saturday 8th April 2017, containing various claims about the proposed stadium location and the alleged attitude of Sons fans.

In particular, Ian Wilson stated:

“[N]egativity is coming from a small group. I don’t know if that’s because we’ve not involved them enough but I’m trying to correct that.

 “I’ve met the Sons Trust and other fans to get them involved. I’m incredibly disappointed some fans feel the way they do.”

The Sonstrust board is not aware of the existence of the ‘small group’ being referred to here, or their views, but we are asking Brabco for clarification about this. (We have been actively willing and able to introduce our owners to fans and to enable fans to engage with them. We last did that on a large scale at an open meeting in November 2016.)

For factual clarification, the Sonstrust, unlike any ‘small group’ with whom Mr Wilson is in contact, has a membership that is approximately the same size as the entire season ticket and regularly attending supporter base of Dumbarton FC (not including under-16s, who are not eligible to join a provident society). We continue to grow as a registered cooperative, a shareholder in Dumbarton FC, the holder of a seat on the club board and the provider of regular services and financial backing to DFC. We are the representative body “for every Dumbarton fan”, as our membership badge proudly makes clear. That is based not just on our membership, but on a demonstrable record of listening to and representing the fans, to whom we are accountable, over many years. We also have the active support of our local MSP and of leading figures in the wider Dumbarton community, for which we are very grateful.

The trust’s clearly-stated position on the stadium relocation question is that we are willing to back any plan, whether for relocation or for staying at the Rock, which can guarantee the security and sustainability of the club and demonstrate benefit for supporters, the community and the local environment. Our position is therefore one of constructive engagement, not the negativity Mr Wilson alleges some to be displaying. However, rightly and properly, there are no ‘blank cheques’ as far as the financial security of the club we love is concerned.

What we have been asking for over the period of three years, since Brabco’s proposal was first mooted publicly, is a clear, costed plan that demonstrates the necessity, feasibility and sustainability of a stadium relocation. We are glad that, after many months of us asking, Brabco are now meeting with us and are promising that they will provide evidence as their project moves forward. We have yet to see any plans, but look forward to them being presented. We have made it clear that, in return, we can provide expert local knowledge, as appropriate.

The trust’s responsible stance on the stadium issue is guided by extensive, direct consultation with hundreds of Dumbarton fans, in person, in writing, at two open meetings, through mailings, across four AGMs, and through regular social media contact over many months. This includes nearly 250 comments documented in writing, related to information from the statutory consultations and two open meetings – the most feedback collected by any party so far on these matters, including Brabco and its planning consultant. Fans are therefore well informed on the issues that have been made public so far, but there are naturally still many questions we would like addressed – including those posed by the local press, some of which have not yet been responded to.

The unanimous wish of Dumbarton fans is that whatever is done regarding the stadium should be done in a way that secures the future of the club. We welcome any assurances from Brabco, the controlling shareholders, in this direction, and we look forward to seeing such assurances formulated in a binding way.

There are other important issues raised by Mr Wilson’s interview with the Scottish Sun which are very important to Dumbarton supporters and to all who care about the future of the club.

The main one is the eventual ownership of the proposed new stadium. Fans have made it abundantly and overwhelmingly clear to us that they wish the stadium to be owned outright by the club. We do not see any tax issues getting in the way of that, but will engage directly with Brabco and the club about technical and legal matters, based on the top-level, independent financial advice. We had thought that this issue was on the way to being resolved in a satisfactory way, but it appears from Ian Wilson’s statement that it is “likely” that the club will not own the stadium. We are seeking urgent clarification about this. We want the best possible solution, of course.

We remain positive about the future of the club, the capacity of fans to ensure its survival and flourishing along with the hard-working club board, and our ability to ensure that any stadium development or relocation is done in the appropriate way, with proper accountability, evidence and transparency.

Dumbarton fans will always be positive about plans to strengthen and develop our club in ways that involve them and are credible. Suggestions to the contrary, from whatever source, are unhelpful, disrespectful and wrong. The Sonstrust continues to believe that the best way for Brabco to demonstrate their goodwill is to back our call for a club AGM or EGM, at which all shareholders can ask questions and make comment about the largest development this historic club will ever have been involved in.

We are also monitoring progress on bringing our controlling shareholders’ operations fully onshore, and we note that fans would still like to know the identity of all owners of the club. This kind of openness is the way to address lingering doubts or fears from whatever quarter.

Sonstrust Awards Night 2016/17

April 5, 2017

WE have had a few enquiries, in person and via social media, about the Sonstrust end-of-season awards night for season 2016/17.

As we have seen over the last couple of seasons, there is the possibility for the final day Championship fixtures to be moved for TV coverage. This was particularly prevalent last season, when the matches were moved to the Sunday at less than a month’s notice.

Once we know whether this is the case again this season, and if so, when the fixtures are moved to, we will be able to make a firm announcement on arrangements for the annual awards bash.

In the meantime – don’t make any plans for either Saturday or Sunday evening on the first weekend in May, when Dumbarton’s season ends at home to Falkirk!

As previously advised, voting will take place for the Player and Young Player of the Year Awards at the home game with Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday, April 15.

Trust Travel – St Mirren – 8th April 2017

April 5, 2017

SUPPORTERS bus bookings are now being taken for Sons next away day v St Mirren on Sat 8th April 2017.

Bus leaves Dumbarton Church St at 1.30pm

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

YOUR VOTE COUNTS

April 1, 2017

THE votes for Dumbarton’s Player and Young Player of the Year, organised by the Sons Supporters Trust, for season 2016/17 will be held at the next home match, against Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday, April 15.

Fans can cast their votes in the supporters’ bar ahead of the match.

So who will succeed Garry Fleming (pictured) as Player of the Year, and Jamie Lindsay as holder of the Dick Jackson Memorial Shield for Young Player of the Year?

YOU decide.

Details of the Sonstrust end of season awards celebration will be announced in due course.

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

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