Report from BT Community FC AGM: Wednesday 27 November 2019
Summary of Meeting Content
Terry Brown Chairman
Apart from Dan Brownlie’s team review, the three main contributions focused upon the challenges in getting to Winklebury so the club could prosper.
Terry Brown said the premature ejection from the Camrose – where we could still be playing – deprived the new Community Club team of 7 significant sources of income . Yet the former owner expected us to run the homeless club from Winchester when he could only do so by running up debts of £2million.
Rafi Razzak, a very wealthy individual, should do the right and honourable thing. This would be to make the minimal sum of £120,000 -£130,000 available now (money in his back pocket) so that the necessary ground enhancements at Winklebury could be done before the League deadline of 31 March 2020 .This would avoid a further uneconomic ground share. This was money he would be obligated to provide anyway as a condition of getting planning approval of the Camrose
He likened Razzak’s statement ‘I won’t let the club die’ to Neville Chamberlain’s guaranteeing ‘peace in our time’ shortly before outbreak of World War 2. He said Rafi Razzak’s actions and omissions were killing the club and he was deluded if he didn’t understand that. Guarantees were wanted not empty words.
Terry called on everyone to pull together as a community effort.
Dan Brownlie First Team Manager
Dan Brownlie , spoke about his approach in taking over the first team. Phase 1 was building the players’ confidence , getting them to enjoy their football, creating the right culture . Phase 2 was getting the right dynamic formation to show the team can compete. Phase 3 was about identifying gaps and targeting recruitment . He anticipated 2/3 signings – but wanted people who would be here for the long term. He was focused on turning around the recent downturn in results.
Colin Phillimore Treasurer
Colin presented what he termed the ‘historic’ profit and loss (P&L ) statement and balance sheet for the period 1 June 2018 – 31 May 2018. He reported that the P&L for 2017-18 showed a loss of £21,236 due to supporting players’ wages through BT Ltd. But for 2018-19 the decision was taken to build the Community Club and a surplus of £14,241 was achieved with thanks to a generous donation a club house reserve of £6,000. He pointed out that the 200 Club achieved approximately £4500 profit and urged more members. He said that season ticket sales were held over for the current year.
Steve Williams Secretary
Steve Williams said that after the recent friendly triumph over local rivals Farnborough at Winklebury people were asking why can’t we move there now. certainly that game showed the potential of Winklebury. Until the necessary ground improvements ( such as covered stand and terrace, turnstile and changing room alterations) are made and they need to be done by the league deadline of 31 March 2020 , we can’t play competitive matches at Winklebury .
A planning application has gone in to make ground enhancements to grade C level which could accommodate 1950 spectators . This was the level applicable to the Camrose. Basron would be expected to sign up to a Section 106 agreement to provide ‘like for like’ for what was lost at the Camrose . Unless they did this they would not get planning approval for the Camrose redevelopment. But there is no guarantee when all this will be signed off and construction could be done. What was clear is that it wouldn’t be done by the league deadline . That meant that we would be forced to enter another uneconomic ground share if we could find one.
To get around this we have proposed a phased approach to Winklebury enhancements ,with the first phase to the lesser Grade D standard applicable to our current level at a cost of £120-130k. But we need up front funding from Basron to do this . We have made clear to them that this sum , modest as it is and which they would have to expend anyway , would provide certainty, avoid a further ground share , get us to Winklebury for 20/21 season and secure our survival. It would enable us to build momentum, secure players and put us in good shape for the future.
One way around the league deadline was to declare Winklebury as our home but enter a further ground share until it was ready. But without the certainty of up front funding , we did not know how long such an uneconomic arrangement would last . As well as threatening our finances ,we could not properly plan and would not help player recruitment , fan attendance or the running of junior teams.
Kevin White Board Member
Kevin explained that he sought an objective approach in communication and 4 face to face meetings with the previous owner and Basron , seeking due support for the Community Club. He was dealing with two different characters. One a property developer with no care beyond commercial concerns. The other, Rafi Razaak- who professed to care about football but struggled to demonstrate it under his partner’s influence. The key question was how far the latter would go to really help.
Discussions had looked at many approaches to how Basron might provide the required assistance including a legal agreement. But no acceptable solution with regard to amount or timing of payment which was always linked to when Camrose planning permission received , and not before. This timing compromised our future. In the latest bid to test Mr Razaak’s willingness to help , we had asked for much smaller payment now for the aspects of Winklebury enhancements that did not require planning permission Changing rooms , extra seats in existing stand. But today received a flat ‘No’ from Mr Razaak
Razaak had also clarified that his statement that he would act to ensure the club wouldn’t die applied only if Camrose planning was granted or fell to be granted with minor changes. The attitude was that Basron were doing us a favour , not that they had obligations to meet to get their planning
approval. In the light of the latest rebuff , the Community Club would up its campaign with fan and community support to get to Winklebury as soon as possible and in a shape to survive and prosper.
Questions and points from the floor included the need for greater support from the council and how that differed from other councils, the impact of ground sharing , charges levied by Hampshire FA and whether that might be eased , having regard to the impact on them if we were put at risk.
Geoff Warmington and Andrew Hargrave (members of independent Election Management Group)
oversaw the election of all existing board members , leaving one vacancy.