Green light for Community Ownership!

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:52 pm

It is as ridiculous to say that community owned clubs are a surefire recipe for success than it is to say having a major shareholder/owner is. However, I think there are enough examples of success such as Boca Juniors, Hajduk Split, Wimbledon, Exeter, Portsmouth, Portimonense, Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, Osasuna, Wrexham, St Pauli to show that they can and do work as well, sometimes much better than traditionally run clubs.

Also, what they are guaranteed to be is run for the good of the club and the supporters. If the club were to fail, I would rather Bath City fail through the bad decisions of the supporters made with good intentions than the bad decisions of shareholders with other agendas.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by SteveBradley on Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:24 am

Too Late... wrote:
Marc Monitor wrote:Why have you and other people got an issue with the Supporters' Society taking over the club, TLT, and what alternative do you suggest?

I mainly have an issue with the concept of the community model overall. Mainly because the concept that groups of supporters are in any way equipped to run football clubs as a business and taking business decisions that will make the club work in a better way than if they were run by a major shareholder owner. All of these so called one member, one vote type organisations are supposedly designed to get everyone involved  in such a way that the club is then supposedly run by lots of supporters instead of a few members of a board. Unfortunately, I believe that it doesn't actually work like that...

You raise a lot of issues here Too Late, but they seem to boil down to that old discredited allegation that 'fans can't run football clubs'.

There are about 25 clubs in Britain that are run by fans which will prove you wrong on that. And not one of those clubs is facing calls to return to the previous model of running their club (the one which, in every case, killed off their club).

Compare that to the approx. 100 examples of bankruptcy which have hit Football League clubs since the Premier League was founded. The facts are that it isn't fan-run/community-owned clubs that the evidence shows can't run themselves properly - it's the others.

As for the argument that we've had something akin to community ownership already at Bath City - absolutely not. For decades the club has run itself in the same well-intentioned but fundamentally unsustainable fashion that so many other clubs have done and continue to do. Following a model of spending money that doesn't exist, relying on the financial goodwill of a tiny number of people to make ends meet, and racking up debt to chase the dream etc etc. It's sad that most clubs that have gone into fan and community-ownership have faced an extinction-level crisis to force the realisation upon them that change was desperately needed . Bath City isn't extinct yet, but it is down to it's proverbial last breeding pair. The club simply cannot continue running itself on the old model of doing football. Community ownership is about an entirely different and more sustainable way of running a football club. Something we haven't seen at Bath City.

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by stillmanjunior on Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:52 am

Marc Monitor wrote:It is as ridiculous to say that community owned clubs are a surefire recipe for success than it is to say having a major shareholder/owner is. However, I think there are enough examples of success such as Boca Juniors, Hajduk Split, Wimbledon, Exeter, Portsmouth, Portimonense, Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, Osasuna, Wrexham, St Pauli to show that they can and do work as well, sometimes much better than traditionally run clubs.

I'm not dismissing the idea of a Community Club at all, but surely they're all a success (looking at Wrexham's league position has it worked?) as they have far bigger fan bases than us? Barcelona could probably raise £1m in a week if they asked people to dip their hands in their pockets to pay Messi and Suarez's wages for a few weeks.

Whatever happens I'll just keep my fingers crossed that we won't end up having a Farnborough situation where we have to rely on various loan/cheap signings to complete a season. I like to think I'm pretty loyal but I would find it very hard work watching rubbish like that every week, a case of us not competing that is. At least in the Conference we were losing to sides with far more resources than us, the thought of watching us lose 5 or 6-0 to Concord or Bishop's Stortford would be soul destroying.

That's about all I can say on this matter. I'll just stick to doing what I can for the club on a voluntary basis rather than purely financial. I know those behind this scheme have the club's best interests at heart.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Bristol Mike on Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:55 am

I do support the community ownership idea but I have concerns. With our small fanbase to raise such large sums we will need a lot to come from outside the core support. This could end with the majority having very little interest in the club compared to those of us who go week in week out. With this in mind comparing us to many other fan run clubs Is possibly not very accurate unless you throw myfc/ebbsfleet into the mix, and that didn't go well at all.

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by yuffie on Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:36 am

stillmanjunior wrote:
Marc Monitor wrote:It is as ridiculous to say that community owned clubs are a surefire recipe for success than it is to say having a major shareholder/owner is. However, I think there are enough examples of success such as Boca Juniors, Hajduk Split, Wimbledon, Exeter, Portsmouth, Portimonense, Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, Osasuna, Wrexham, St Pauli to show that they can and do work as well, sometimes much better than traditionally run clubs.

I'm not dismissing the idea of a Community Club at all, but surely they're all a success (looking at Wrexham's league position has it worked?) as they have far bigger fan bases than us? Barcelona could probably raise £1m in a week if they asked people to dip their hands in their pockets to pay Messi and Suarez's wages for a few weeks.

This was one of my concerns when the idea was first raised 18 months ago. None of the successful examples - to my mind - were of clubs comparable to City. The only two that were similar were Dorchester and Merthyr Town and I think it was said that neither were exactly the same model.

I also think that what can get lost in all the current talk about fan run/owned clubs is that is what we currently are. All the current board are supporters who have almost all spent a lot more time on the terraces than in the boardroom, though fully I understand that they now feel they have no other option than to give the community club plan a go.

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by BenE on Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:02 pm

I made the same point when it was first mooted and was advised that Community Ownership is not the same as Fan ownership. Clearly Bath City would find it extremely difficult to find suitable continued resource from its fanbase.

With community ownership you diversify the interest in the club so that it is not just fans of the football team that want to be involved. The appeal is to a wider audience.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by 2weirdtown on Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:41 pm

I thought the time for debating the pros and cons had passed about 12 months ago.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by yuffie on Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:00 pm

BenE wrote:I made the same point when it was first mooted and was advised that Community Ownership is not the same as Fan ownership. Clearly Bath City would find it extremely difficult to find suitable continued resource from its fanbase.

With community ownership you diversify the interest in the club so that it is not just fans of the football team that want to be involved. The appeal is to a wider audience.

Yes, fair enough.

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Marc Monitor on Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:23 pm

Yes, the onus is very much on community ownership and not the oft-mentioned idea of 500 people paying £2800. Of course, this makes it extremely hard work to achieve and it was very nerve-wracking for a proponent of it like and, I am sure, many others. However, it is not insurmountable as has been shown by all the other club's that have done it. Of course, it will not happen if everyone shoots it down before it has even started. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if there was an alternative but there isn't. It would be great to have the luxury to debate the options in front of us but we don't.

Here is a list of community-owned sports clubs for anyone interested to have a look at. It isn't just big clubs that are successful at it.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Beau Nash on Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:58 pm

The bottom line to all this is that average league game attendances MUST rise to 800, was that the board's break even point, currently we are on 505, or we take relegation to regroup. So it is not just fresh ownership / management it requires radical new ideas. pale

I await the business plan in the share prospectus with interest. study
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Marc Monitor on Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:08 pm

I am not sure of your logic. Why do we need to take relegation to regroup? The outgoings aren't likely to be any less if we go down a division.

As I have mentioned, casting the net wider via community ownership means not only financial input but an input of skills, experience and knowledge bringing also new ideas. The problem with having a small talent pool of a handful of people is that ideas can become narrow, outdated and tired. I say this who was trying to convince a previous incumbent of the benefits of the enormously popular, fast and free Facebook for advertising matches as 'events'. I was told that it wasn't considered worth it. The the enormously popular, fast and free Facebook, that is. Bearing in mind that I have no idea how to promote the club via Twitter or whatever else is out there, there is loads of scope for people to bring in expertise and new ideas and a community ownership model will let this happen.

Large football clubs have to pay a fortune to get the most up to date ideas about marketing, publicising, digitally managing and running their clubs. With community ownership, you get those sort of skills on board not only for free but with a financial as well as supporting vested interest in the success of the club.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by yuffie on Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:44 pm

Don't confuse questioning the plans with trying to shoot it down in flames. I think the vast majority of City fans, even if they harbour doubts about the move for whatever reason, want it to succeed and then see where it takes the club.

I think the relegation point is a valid one.

I have always been of the view that the only way crowds will increase is when the side is regularly winning games. Therefore you could argue that dropping down a division or two should mean that the this is more likely. Apart from our first season in the Conference Premier our two highest crowd averages this century were the 2006-07 and 1999-00 - one wgere we won the league and one where we were challenging until late on.

It was also mean that the wage bill could be lowered and still be competitive.

If a floating fan picks up the Chronicle and sees that City have won again and are near the top of the division is it really going to make any difference if that division is the Conference South or Southern League? Two or three seasons of this and that floating fan may have come enough to become a regular fan and a hardcore of 500 may have become 700 (with the hoped boost to crowds from the whole community aspect). Then an average of 800 back in the Conference South may be a realistic aim.

Of course, whether this situation would be easily accepted by the current supporters is open to question but if it was stated as a possibility to secure a more stable future then I wouldn't view it as unreasonable.

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Marc Monitor on Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:47 pm

It's an interesting point but an issue is, if the club accepts relegation (anathema for most supporters, I would have thought), any floating supporters are probably are going to be dubious of the ambition of the club, even with any success from the lower placing.

Also, it is hard enough to entice supporters to a Conference South club let alone a Southern League club. Only one club has better average attendances than us - Weymouth. This is important as, not only do we need the home supporters but our attendances need propping up by away supporters.

Finally, the gamble is that we would be highly successful in the Southern League. It is as much of a bottleneck to come back up as this league and we could end up trapped down there.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Dodgycarpet on Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:52 am

can someone remind me where the definitive document is on this?

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by BenE on Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:43 am

definitive document to what?
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by BenE on Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:51 am

I have always argued vehemently against relegation as a regrouping exercise especially with those Coventry supporters who have said the same thing at each stage of their inexorable slide down the leagues. First from the premiership then the championship and now League 1. They are currently playing at their lowest level for 62 years with commensurate lowest crowds.

When they were top of league 1 (3rd division) last time they got an average of 26000 when chasing promotion. Their average now is less than 9000 and dropping.

Relegation doesn't guarantee anything but relegation and then an indeterminate period of worse football.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Beau Nash on Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:18 am

www.footballwebpages.co.uk

To use a political analogy of the floating voter we have the floating fan - what the "floating fan" wants is a successful team which creates the emotional atmosphere that is the ENTERTAINMENT the majority are seeking.

We are now at that point in the season where the emotional involvement, for the floating fan, is almost nil.  It would be interesting to do a study of how league attendances reacted to the cup success and failure, difficult because the opposition is a big factor.

I have always said that costs for spectators is far too high, would a match cost grading system help, and with the season now over would a 50% reduction encourage more to attend?  The attendance for Community Day was very disappointing so expecting floating fans to pay the current admission prices is wishful thinking.  

This Saturday may be different as Bromley ought to bring at least 100.  I am interested in seeing what the top team is like and predict a 1-1 draw.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Dodgycarpet on Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:56 am

sorry, yes, to be a bit more precise, the definitive document re the proposal.

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by OliverH on Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:50 pm

Dodgycarpet - the definitive document will be the Community Share Offer prospectus which will set out the business plan, financial projections, new club structure etc. This will be published in the coming weeks.

We are mostly exploring how we can improve attendances through a more structured and segmented marketing plan backed by a stronger and more diverse volunteer effort (including greater involvement of 'creative industries' e.g. design, branding, PR agencies etc, structured internship programmes with BU/BSU etc and use of modern customer relationship management systems); making better commercial use of the ground (there are a lot of nooks and crannies that serve as "dead space") and seeking investment for a 3G pitch that would increase non-matchday revenues.

"If these are such great ideas why haven't they been tried before?"

The current club is run essentially by a skeleton staff of volunteers (including key directors) who spend most of their time putting out fires and stopping the ship from sinking. Community ownership is about creating conditions where more people can become invested and involved in the club and making sure that new volunteers with new skills are constantly attracted and retained. This in itself takes time and effort that the current setup simply don't have the luxury of.

Thanks everyone else for their comments and feedback.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Palms on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:13 pm

OliverH wrote: 3G pitch
This is the only thing in my 'cons' column. Crying or Very sad
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Jon_BOA on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:15 pm

OliverH wrote: and seeking investment for a 3G pitch that would increase non-matchday revenues.


It will seem a small thing, but as I am overall in favour of community ownership and understand what it aims to do I don't have too many other questions, but is the 3G pitch integral to this plan? As I really hope it isn't, we already have one player (Louis Perry) who cannot play on them as it does his joints no good so you wonder how many other players would have this issue, and I find the games artificial as hell. I understand the logic behind it, but it's not for me, was just wondering if this was 100% included in the idea, or one of many?


Last edited by Jon_BOA on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:17 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Jon_BOA on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:16 pm

Ah, and it appears Palms got in before me!

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by OliverH on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:40 pm

It won't happen without a debate and a vote - it is a community club after all!

But so far we have taken a 3G-equipped Twerton Park as our baseline assumption for making the club profitable in the medium term. If other better alternatives arise, a community club is free to pursue them according to the wishes of its members.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by Jon_BOA on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:43 pm

OK Ollie, thanks for the answer. That is a fair enough response. Not what I personally wanted to hear, but I understand the thinking, and as you said it would be put to a vote.

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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

Post by OliverH on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:44 pm

To make it crystal clear, none of the £1.4m is earmarked for investment in 3G and it is not integral to community ownership per se. In 2015/16, we would look carefully at the options for 3G in terms of pros and cons, possibilities of external funding etc (which would likely be improved as a comm club), and put it to a vote.
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Re: Green light for Community Ownership!

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