Terras to be put in Trust despite
shock £40k debt
By Adam Summers
Saturday 10th March 2012
NIGEL Biddlecombe is confident Weymouth FC can become a community
club the town can be proud of despite having uncovered £40,000
worth of debts since taking the reins just nine days ago.
Addressing around 180 supporters at a fans forum at
the Bob Lucas Stadium last night, the new, Terras owner
outlined his hopes for the future and also showed his appreciation
for the overwhelming support he received during his emotionally-charged
takeover from George Rolls.
In an exclusive interview with Echosport, Biddlecombe, a
lifelong fan and the clubs historian, said: When
George Rolls put the price up from £16,000 to £20,000
the night before I eventually took over, I made a plea for
help on the independent fans forum and within hours
£15,000 was raised.
We have a fighting fund of £30,000 in total but
already we have had to dig into that to pay rates and wages.
I have put in money and so have a lot of others. Some
have also pledged more and the trust they showed in me by
giving those donations made that night in question the most
humbling of my life.
In fact at 2am that morning I was sat at home with
a cup of tea with tears in my eyes.
The support has been overwhelming and in my mind that
faith just goes to show the determination of people to see
WFC move forward in the right way.
He went on to add: This is a brand new era and my wish
is to move things back to how they used to be when I was a
kid, with the club being run by local people for local people,
hence our new motto Your Town, Your Team, The Terras.
The majority shareholding will be signed over to the
Weymouth FC Community Trust on April 9 and from then on the
club will be owned by the town.
When that takes place it will make my reign as owner
the shortest in the clubs history but it will also make
me the proudest.
The people setting up the Trust need to make sure it
is legally sound so there are no loopholes what- soever, which
means it may not be fully set up in time for April 9.
It needs to be watertight.
However, if I cannot sign the full documentation that
day, I will be signing a document of intent instead. Whichever
way, it will go into Trust, you have my word, and that will
be a day the whole club can be proud of.
Biddlecombes optimism was clearly contagious at the
meeting but the stark reality is that a lot of work still
needs to be done to get the club on an even keel.
Speaking ahead of todays home clash with Hemel Hempstead
(3pm), he said: George Rolls did not leave WFC debt
Since I took over, between myself and the people working
with me, we have discovered long standing debts of a Football
nature along with debts to Her Majestys Revenues &
Cus-toms and West Dorset District Council for rates.
They have been estimated at £40,000 although
we are still awaiting final figures from HMRC.
Ralph Ricardo, with the help of his business partner
Calvin-Hastings Gordon, have been helping structure those
debts so we can manage them.
There is still a little bit to be done but that figure
is not out of our capabilities but of course we need people
to come through the gates to help us pay it.
There are also players wages and bonuses still
outstanding but we can guarantee them that they will be paid
up by the end of the month.
Rolls may be gone but his legacy at the club and current
venture at Kettering Town continues to be shrouded in controversy.
The five-year contracts he offered Weymouth manager Brendon
King and his assistant Matt Groves just days before selling
the club, and his recent attempts to tempt Ben Joyce, Stephen
Reed and Craig Duff to follow him to the Poppies are just
two matters still up for debate.
Biddlecombe went on to say: I have spoken to both Brendon
and Matt, and George Rolls has given me copies of the contracts,
which are signed.
However, for the time being, we have agreed to allow
the dust to settle and then see what we can do to move on
Meanwhile, George Rolls has personally tapped up those
three players you have mentioned.
Ben Joyce has joined Kettering but the other two have
expressed a willingness to stay at WFC.
As a consequence, I have written to the FA, the Conference,
the Southern League and Kettering Town to make an official
complaint about illegal approaches for our players.
Two other big issues Biddlecombe was keen to address was
the potential move to full-time football and the current state
of talks with Morgan Sindall over the possibility of building
the club a new stadium.
He said: Full-time is something that is still very
much in our thoughts but not in terms of what people initially
think when they hear that term.
What I would like to see is Weymouth FC pick up around
eight young lads from the Football League exit trials in the
summer and pay them a bit of money where they can train every
day and also get out into the community in the afternoon,
as well as help clean and paint the stadium and things like
I believe that is a good way forward but it is something
I need to discuss with board.
The example I will be using when I do that is Scott
He did not get that much money when he came here after
being let go by Swindon Town but he was a good player for
us and has since gone on to better things.
As for the subject of a new stadium, WFC board representatives
are in talks with Morgan Sindall and we are confident a deal
can be struck in the future.
Nice as the current stadium is, it is expensive to
run and in order for the club to really move forward we need
a new one to suit our level, and expected level.
I am not saying Football League or the Conference but
what I will say is that the Bob Lucas Stadium is too big for
Other important points:
* Around 90,000 shares in the club appear to be missing and
steps are being taken to remedy the situation. Biddlecombe
said: I signed a deal for 706,500 shares but we now
believe there should be in the region of 800,000 so somewhere
around 90,000 shares have disappeared.
* The club is considering all options in regards to Wessex
Delivery Partnership LLPs ownership of the land surrounding
the stadium and are willing to work constructively with the
company on mutually beneficial terms
* WFCs original bank accounts have been frozen by Lloyds
whilst interim board sorts out mandates. A new account has
been opened with HSBC.
* An AGM will be held as soon as the state of the clubs
finances has been fully determined.
* Discussions are planned with the police and safety representatives
to see what restrictions will be on the club during the Olympics.
Friendlies may have to be played elsewhere.
* Talks will also take place with various parties to see
if facilities in and around the club can be used during the
* Biddlecombe hailed the efforts of the Weymouth FC Supporters
Association, Wessex Fantasy Football and the Businessmens
Club and is looking forward to working even closer with those
groups in the future.
* The office at the Bob Lucas Stadium will now be manned
Monday to Friday and can be reached on 785558.
* The £99 season-ticket offer has been abandoned but
the club will honour the 80 that have been pledged. New admission
prices will be set in due course.
* Weymouth Reserves will continue next season in the Magna
Dorset Premier League.
* The new regime is hoping to form strong links with Weymouth
Ladies FC, WeySports, Weymouth Youth FC and all youth teams
in the area.
* The club is still looking for a new match-day stadium announcer
following Pete Paveys decision to retire from the role.
To find our more visit Pavey in the PA box in the main stand
this afternoon. Alternatively contact the club on 785558.