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New Trust statement on club finances

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Author Topic: New Trust statement on club finances  (Read 13453 times)
Zen Master
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« Reply #440 on: July 18, 2021, 18:28:45 pm »

Glad to see another thread degenerate yet although I don’t think we’ve got to Godwin’s yet.  I’ll be glad when the real football starts so we can moan about that as well as ownership/trust issues
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« Reply #441 on: July 18, 2021, 19:44:55 pm »

I don't believe I have ever heard you 'praise' KT, does this mean he has done 'nothing' to your liking?
Wrong, I’ve praised him when he does something good, like when he refunded season tickets.
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« Reply #442 on: July 18, 2021, 19:46:26 pm »

I have certainly criticised KT. Equally you like most won’t find any evidence of me supporting him or the Trust.

You GPC and Random are lost to any reasoning or alternative to your opinion.
You speak like you are very important, am I correct?
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« Reply #443 on: July 18, 2021, 20:42:05 pm »

I have certainly criticised KT. Equally you like most won’t find any evidence of me supporting him or the Trust.

You GPC and Random are lost to any reasoning or alternative to your opinion.

but you've not met Queen,so you can't comment
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« Reply #444 on: July 18, 2021, 22:09:19 pm »

You speak like you are very important, am I correct?

I have no idea what you’re on about lately.
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« Reply #445 on: July 22, 2021, 10:47:46 am »

I don't know if people are still interested but I finally received a response yesterday evening to the questions I put to the Supporters Trust a couple of weeks ago.

I'll post them below in seperate posts rather than one massive message for ease of reading.  I'm posting them completely as I asked them and they were answered.  I do obviously have some thoughts on the answers but in the interest of balance I'll write them seperately later.  The trust were made aware at the time I asked the questions that I planned on sharing the answers.

I realise it's a lot of info and if you are not interested simply move on to something else.  I think it's important we all ask questions of ALL parties involved in this debate and hopefully the answers will be useful in some way.

I think it's fair for me to say that I will be replying to the Trust to seek further info on a couple of questions that I feel haven't been answered or have been answered in a way that is not clear.
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« Reply #446 on: July 22, 2021, 10:50:15 am »

What changed specifically in the plans for the build from September 2020 to June this year?  I ask because the Trust and Club released a joint statement backing the plans in September.  Have they changed significantly from what you were told the plans were going to be?  You repeatedly state the deal on the table to the council has not changed since many years ago so I assume the trust were aware this was the deal last September when they publicly backed the plans?

One of the roles of the Trust is to safeguard the future of professional football in Northampton. We identified several risk factors that are material to this.

Firstly, the level of debt owed by the club to the owners has escalated to nearly £6.8 million and will increase to nearly £10 million if loan capital is used to complete the East Stand.

Secondly, the club is entirely reliant on funding from one individual, without whose support the club would be in deep financial trouble. This is confirmed in most reports by the auditors in NTFC’s accounts in recent years, including the most recent set of statements.

Thirdly, we work on a realistic assumption that those who lend will wish to be repaid at some stage in the future. The owners cannot recoup their investment from core operations of the club, as it is loss making, so they must therefore rely on a land deal in respect of the leasehold plots to the east of the stadium.

In turn, this is reliant on an agreement with West Northamptonshire Council, which is by no means guaranteed, given the level of hostility of local council taxpayers to the club following the misfeasance that followed the £10 million loan to the club.

To address these risks, and to seek further information, the Trust produced a list of questions and sought written formal responses. NTFC chairman Kelvin Thomas had invited questions.  The Trust did so, in pursuit of reassurances but also in its capacity as a minority shareholder in the club. Any shareholder is entitled to ask questions of those directing and controlling a company on their behalf.

The club has not been prepared to answer these questions in writing, offering a Zoom call instead. We do not consider Zoom is the right forum to answer detailed questions.  The Trust board decided that it can no longer support the club’s plans based on incomplete information.

Our basic premise is that we expect NTFC to receive significant investment benefit (as opposed to loan debt) as this is a land deal being sought in the name of the football club.

With many questions remaining unanswered, we fear that a deal will leave the club with a basic East Stand, no cash in the bank, no additional assets and no land value to fall back on.


Also, the statement released by the trust backing the deal was not conditional or we (the fans/members) certainly were not told it was at the time it was made.

The original support for the plans were made in the spirit of ongoing cooperation, but the Trust can only support initiatives in which it has confidence. Although support was not ‘conditional’, it cannot be assumed to be ‘unconditional’ if changing circumstances dictate that we no longer have reasonable assurance that the club’s best interests will be served.

 
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« Reply #447 on: July 22, 2021, 10:51:47 am »

What does the Trust view as an acceptable completion of the East Stand if the current plans do not meet that?  What are the specific expectations for an acceptable completion?  Have you shared this vision with the club and what was their response?


Like all supporters, the Trust would obviously like to see the East Stand completed to an acceptable standard.  Unfortunately, there is very limited information available and none has been volunteered other than what was on show recently which is little different from what has been selectively seen previously.   For example, we are told that the estimated cost of the works needed to complete the stand is £3 million but we have seen no analysis for that amount, there is no independent verification that what is proposed represents value for money.  The Trust has never seen or heard reference to any alternative proposals.  We doubt that there has been any consideration of alternatives.  The Trust does not know the budgets, timing of cash flows, the extent to which the club may be tied into contracts with Buckingham Group and so on.

The most recent statement by the club issued on its open day states that the owners will complete the stand from their own resources, so it is assumed this is their intention. However, it should be noted that the same statement was made six years ago.  If any up-front investment is made by the owners the Trust believes the club will be loaded with an equivalent level of debt of say £3m pushing total debt up from £6m to £9m plus further cash flow finance required and so taking total indebtedness to in the region of £10m.  Further, whilst our owners are quick to comment that the construction costs will be met by them this will only happen if their proposal, which includes the reimbursement to the club (and so the owners) of the £3 million construction costs from the top slice of land sales, is agreed by WNC.  This is a matter for WNC to decide but in the light of the history of this matter it is likely to be the subject of significant debate within the council and outside of it.  We see no quick decision being made.

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« Reply #448 on: July 22, 2021, 10:56:07 am »

Regarding the 5U Sport saga.  How long has the Trust known about the financial information it published in its statement last weekend?

The Trust became aware of this financial information last summer and the board at that time took the decision not to disclose it publicly, rather write a closed and confidential letter to the club about this information.  The reply to that closed letter – written in September 2020 - was leaked by the club to a third party and published earlier this month. 

What physical evidence do you have that the payments were made/money changed hands for the amounts quoted?  Can that be shared to support the trusts statements?

The Trust Board is satisfied that the evidence of the payments in the amounts stated is accurate.

What is the purpose of the Trust releasing this information in a statement now?

The financial information was released publicly earlier this month after the club owners refused to give written answers to questions about their financial commitment to the football club in respect of the ongoing land deal discussions and because several members of the Trust (and some non-members) were aware of aspects of this financial information and were asking us about it.

Is the Trust saying or implying that some wrongdoing has taken place here?  Either in company law, football league ownership rules or just morally?

The information issued by the Trust is just that: it is information from which any reader of our release can draw their own conclusions. It is factual information.

The suggestion in some posts on social media is that the Trust has a confrontational relationship with the club. While there are disagreements on some issues, the relationship is cordial, and the meetings are always conducted as such.


Has the Trust raised any of these concerns if they have any with Companies house, the Football League, the local council, or any other official body that this would be of interest to?

We are not able to make a detailed reply to this question.  The Trust is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and complies with its reporting obligations. 

We are aware that some former senior NBC councillors and current WNC councillors have been aware from sources independent of the Trust of issues concerning 5U Sports dealings for some time.


If yes when was this done and what were their responses?

Not applicable.

I understand that the Trust has had conversations in the past with KT regarding the 5U Sports deal and there is written correspondence regarding this matter.  What was said during this correspondence and what explanation given?  And can the supporters see this correspondence for complete context?

As above.
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« Reply #449 on: July 22, 2021, 10:57:54 am »

Finally, while I understand the Trust Board deal with the day to day running of the Supporters Trust at what point do the matters become so fundamental to the future of the club that you would consult your membership and the wider fan base to ensure the important decisions you are making are what the majority wishes?

There are certain triggers that would prompt a member-wide consultation. These include a sale of the club, the withdrawal of support by the main finance provider or any event considered to be material to the future of the club. Another example would be if the Council withdrew from dealings in relation to the land, as this would suggest that the owners would face a massive, unrecoverable loss. God forbid, if David Bower were suddenly incapacitated as this would have enormous consequences for the club.
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« Reply #450 on: July 22, 2021, 11:25:48 am »

Thank you for this MC

Can you post up the answers from similar questions you have asked KT please.

Thanks
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« Reply #451 on: July 22, 2021, 11:26:31 am »

Credit where its due, that is generally a good response to the questions. I don't necessarily agree with some of it but thats just my opinion.

This is where I have said in the past there are some very valid questions and concerns laid out that the Trust have every right to seek answers too.
As previously I do think it was a mistake to decline the Zoom call as some are complex, multi layered questions so a call to ensure clarity followed by minutes signed by both sides would for me have been the right way to go.
Again as previously, I think a discussion with the owners on transparency is needed, for example, I understand why the Trust want to know the following
Quote
The Trust does not know the budgets, timing of cash flows, the extent to which the club may be tied into contracts with Buckingham Group and so on.
but also understand why any owners would see it as private. Just an example
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« Reply #452 on: July 22, 2021, 11:31:15 am »

Thanks for asking the questions and sharing the results, MC.

That first one is a proper politician's answer, but what they are essentially saying is the Trust made a decision to back the redev plans and then realised they'd done so without being properly informed, couldn't get a written response from the club and then changed their mind.

It's still in hissy fit territory for me, especially as they themselves go on to refuse to provide a written response to certain questions they've been asked, citing regulatory reasons.

Can they not see the irony there?

I'm not saying they are wrong in refusing an answer, far from it, but how is that different to the club not wanting to respond to written questions? Or would they be sated by a written response from the club that just says "We are not able to answer this due to commercial sensitivities" in response to every question? Hey, it would be a written response, right?? Maybe then they could move beyond the stubbornness and accept the offer of a Zoom call?

Also, interesting that the Trust acknowledge the authenticity of the letter "leaked" by the club. It would be even more interesting if they responded to the allegations made in the letter about soliciting a hatchet job from the national media, wouldn't it?
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« Reply #453 on: July 22, 2021, 11:32:42 am »

Woody, the owners might want the figures to be private but when the money is coming from public funds / NTFC land asset, the people of Northampton need to know they are getting a fair deal.

We have to learn from the DC debacle. Remember many people questioning the cost of building the stand and DC saying it's the best deal we can get. Turned out that one reason is was such poor value was that it included £2m "consultation fees" for him and his dad.

We don't want similar happening this time

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« Reply #454 on: July 22, 2021, 11:43:01 am »

BOTN   what you seem to be forgetting is that KT wanted the Trust to back him with regards to WBC and the land deal.

Given KT appalling treatment of the Trust over the last 6 years, they rightly asked for answers in writing. If anyone had a hissy fit, as you put it, it is KT. IMHO the Trust have been extremely patience and accommodating to KT, perhaps they just had enough.

Dont think it is even worth replying to the ridiculous accusation of a hatchet job, it wasn't the Trust who didn't tell it's own supporters that the club has actually been sold. 

So what if they even did (not sure exactly what the issue is) speak to the National press, trying to raise awareness that our owner is in it just for himself and had pocketed £6.7m, can't go to local media can they ?


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« Reply #455 on: July 22, 2021, 11:54:22 am »

Thanks for asking the questions and sharing the results, MC.

That first one is a proper politician's answer, but what they are essentially saying is the Trust made a decision to back the redev plans and then realised they'd done so without being properly informed, couldn't get a written response from the club and then changed their mind.

It's still in hissy fit territory for me, especially as they themselves go on to refuse to provide a written response to certain questions they've been asked, citing regulatory reasons.

Can they not see the irony there?

I'm not saying they are wrong in refusing an answer, far from it, but how is that different to the club not wanting to respond to written questions? Or would they be sated by a written response from the club that just says "We are not able to answer this due to commercial sensitivities" in response to every question? Hey, it would be a written response, right?? Maybe then they could move beyond the stubbornness and accept the offer of a Zoom call?

Also, interesting that the Trust acknowledge the authenticity of the letter "leaked" by the club. It would be even more interesting if they responded to the allegations made in the letter about soliciting a hatchet job from the national media, wouldn't it?

Complying with financial conduct authority reporting regulations (if factually correct) and declining information to others for 'commercial sensitivities' does not like comparable reasons to me. The Trust are minority shareholders, it is in their interests that they get the best deal for themselves in that capacity just as KT and DB do.
I don't see any irony attaching personally?
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« Reply #456 on: July 22, 2021, 12:02:13 pm »

BOTN   what you seem to be forgetting is that KT wanted the Trust to back him with regards to WBC and the land deal.

Given KT appalling treatment of the Trust over the last 6 years, they rightly asked for answers in writing. If anyone had a hissy fit, as you put it, it is KT. IMHO the Trust have been extremely patience and accommodating to KT, perhaps they just had enough.

Dont think it is even worth replying to the ridiculous accusation of a hatchet job, it wasn't the Trust who didn't tell it's own supporters that the club has actually been sold. 

So what if they even did (not sure exactly what the issue is) speak to the National press, trying to raise awareness that our owner is in it just for himself and had pocketed £6.7m, can't go to local media can they ?


I think it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. It's not dissimilar to on here; only yesterday Evers had rubbed people the wrong way and a few of us had a bit of a dig at him.  It was a disproportionate reaction if taken in isolation but was the result of minor cumulative annoyances. Either way, we were rightly taken to task and basically told to grow up. The Trust and the club need their heads knocking together and told similar because they've both just been rubbing each other up the wrong way for so long the slightest irritation now sets either of them off.

As to seeing nothing wrong with our own supporters trust apparently trying to bring the club's owners into national disrepute.... wow.
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« Reply #457 on: July 22, 2021, 12:19:02 pm »

....and just think...if the owners were up front and said "We have just sold not just 60%...but 100% of YOUR club to a Chinese company you have never heard of"...everybody would have been fine with that, wouldn't we?

Im still curious why Fans of NTFC have not questioned the statement by the owners that they " RE-AQUIRED " the shares without actually saying they had bought them back.

That money is still in Bowers' and Thomas's bank accounts?
If so, why are the Chinese not kicking off?
If somebody had decided to do a business U-turn on me, I think I would have wanted my £6.68 Million back, wouldn't you.

Any Fans got any answers?

....and a last thought....None of this would be necessary if the owners had engaged with the Trust, an organisation for NTFC fans that is fighting to keep YOUR football club.
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« Reply #458 on: July 22, 2021, 12:34:54 pm »

Another thing to think about.
For all the fans of the Cobblers.

Why did the owners insist on the Trust relinquishing 2 seats on the board as a condition of the owners accepting ownership of NTFC?

Did the owners not want to be open with anyone questioning the movement of monies?

So, going back to the Chinese question.......I would love a sound 100% water tight business answer to that one.
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« Reply #459 on: July 22, 2021, 12:35:24 pm »

....and just think...if the owners were up front and said "We have just sold not just 60%...but 100% of YOUR club to a Chinese company you have never heard of"...everybody would have been fine with that, wouldn't we?

Im still curious why Fans of NTFC have not questioned the statement by the owners that they " RE-AQUIRED " the shares without actually saying they had bought them back.

That money is still in Bowers' and Thomas's bank accounts?
If so, why are the Chinese not kicking off?
If somebody had decided to do a business U-turn on me, I think I would have wanted my £6.68 Million back, wouldn't you.

Any Fans got any answers?

....and a last thought....None of this would be necessary if the owners had engaged with the Trust, an organisation for NTFC fans that is fighting to keep YOUR football club.
Understanding where the Chinese obtained their money in the first instance might explain why they didn't kick off with greater force?
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