Statement by Nigel Biddlecombe
Wednesday 9th October 2013
The most important thing which I want to say to all true
supporters of WFC is that the Board is determined to keep
our club as a Community club. I am proud to say that I have
put my heart soul and money into the club that I love, and
that isn't going to change. I am confident that the changes
the Board has proposed will lead to much greater involvement
in the community in every way.
There is absolutely no 'U turn' by me on the principle that
WFC MUST remain a club at the heart of the community.
Everyone knows the disaster we inherited, but in the last
18 months I am proud to say that the Board has turned the
club around. We have steadied the ship and now we want to
embrace the community more than WFC has ever done in its history.
I ask all true supporters to trust the Board, and to be part
of a WFC that is forward looking, and not constantly looking
backwards. We want more involvement from supporters, not less.
Come along to the meeting and however you vote, buy some shares
in the club and become a stakeholder in the future of WFC.
This Board wants to engage with the wider community of Weymouth
in a much more pro-active way.
For many years we were a laughing stock in the community.
We were on the front page of the papers rather than the back.
It has been a hard slog to turn that around, but we have made
great strides. We need investment from the community and our
supporters, so that we can invest more in the community of
Weymouth. We want to engage much more closely with the youth
of the town; the schools and Colleges; local businesses and
organisations so that we become a real community club, not
one on paper only. We want to improve the facilities at the
club and seek to create more income streams. We want to do
all of this within our means.
It was me who back in 2012 took control of the majority shareholding.
I could have done anything. I gave those shares to trustees,
so no one can challenge my credibility in seeking to make
WFC a community club. At the time we all thought that the
most important thing was to stop anyone being able to do what
the likes of previous Chairmen had done. I am proud to say
that cannot happen now even if the variation in the trust
deed is passed, because the club does not have 75% of its
shares to sell.
The Trust tasked the Trustees to do only three things; to
sell the shares, to raise funds for the club and to promote
football, in Dorset. I am more disappointed than anyone that
in almost 2 years, the trustees have barely sold any shares.
Over 90% of the shares that have been sold by the club since
that date have been purchased by Directors. The Trustees even
conceded at the weekend that they had also done absolutely
nothing to promote football in Dorset. I would like to thank
the Trustees for their efforts but do not understand why some
of them have chosen to post claims on the Forum which are
so inaccurate and misleading. That is not the way to run a
community club. It is back to the bad old days.
The Board respects the right of all supporters to have a voice
in this debate. We have proposed that everyone who attends
the EGM has an equal vote. The works against the Board as
the Directors who hold literally thousands of shares while
some supporters may only hold a few. Unbelievably, I have
received an email from one of the trustees saying that some
trustees won't agree to that, because some of them hold more
than 1 share, and they have even threatened legal proceedings.
Why is that not posted on the Forum? Why don't the Trustees
trust the club's supporters? I don't like mentioning individuals,
but I must add that Mr Roy Childs, who is a trustee, has conducted
himself in an exemplary manner during this process.
This proposal is about giving WFC the chance to continue to
move forward in a positive way, now that we have protected
the club from the fear of a 75% shareholder. It is about WFC
being able to deliver better coaching facilities for the players
at the club but also the youth in the community - the future
of WFC. We want to invest in the youth section which was treated
so badly in the dark days, and quite rightly lost trust in
the Club. We have had to focus in the last 18 months in steadying
the ship but now is the time to be engage the community even
more. It is about trying to build working relationships with
schools and Colleges to move forward community projects. We
need investment to do that and in protecting the club 2 years
ago we did not perhaps realise how the limit on shares would
restrict us in generating investment.
It is sad that a couple of Trustees have tried to suggest
that the Board kept supporters in the dark. Everyone understands
that when you are negotiating with potential investors you
don't put it all over the papers and websites. The Investors
even offered to meet the trustees but the trustees refused.
That was not posted on the Forum. Why? All the Directors have
met the potential investor and all of them have given their
support to the proposal. The investor is not a Curtis or a
Rolls but a substantial PLC which is seeking in part to invest
as part of its own corporate social responsibility.
If the limit is removed, we still want supporters to buy shares.
The proposal means that supporters can actually buy as many
shares as are they want, but no one can buy 75%, so they can't
take control as has been done before. Supporters will have
the chance to have a greater say in the club, not less! It
is the shareholder's choice.
I urge as many supporters as possible to come along and listen
to the facts and truth not myths and conspiracy theories that
are posted on a website or discussed in pubs around the town.
Come along, and be part of the community that is and always
will be WFC.