IT’S BEEN another eventful week at Accrington Stanley as their deadline day of October 28 looms by which time the club have to pay off their £308,000 tax bill or face being wound up.
After the events of last week, with vice chairman Peter Marsden resigning and Ilyas Khan withdrawing his financial help, there was a sense of gloom around the town.
Mutli millionaire Khan was the major backer behind Accrington Stanley’s Fighting Fund (ASSF) who did have £225,000 in the bank to give to the club in return for shares and what he called ‘transparency’ but the top officials at the club didn’t want to go down that road.
Now, with less than two weeks before the deadline, it continues to be one saga after another at the club – although there does appear to be more optimism around the fans with major events over the last seven days.
Firstly, Khan has given his 12 per cent shares in the club to the ASSF free of charge – in the hope the Stanley supporters can now have a say in how the club is run.
Then, on Tuesday, Stanley were boosted with a cash input of around £15,000 from their ‘Save Our Stanley’ clash with Blackburn Rovers and they faced American side Austin Aztecs in another fund-raiser last night.
The campaign should then have raised more than £100,000 and hopefully be pushing £150,000.
Following on from that, Chief Executive Rob Heys, on Tuesday night, reiterated his plan that once all this is totted up this week, he and fellow directors will then dip their hands in their own pockets – and use some outside help – to meet the rest of the tax bill.
Meanwhile, the ASSF issued a plea to the current Stanley major shareholders to re-issue shares in a bid to save the club as the deadline draws nearer.
And, at the same time, owner Dave O’Neill did issue a ‘share package’ – not quite the total shares re-issue and transparency that ASSF had in mind – but a plan where 1,000 shares in the club are up for grabs for £250 each, plus VAT.
Here’s how another momentous week in the club’s history as it unfolded and told in the words of those involved...
Ilyas Khan gives his shares to the fans...
I hereby announce that my shareholding in Accrington Stanley Football Club will be donated at no cost to the fans.
I have been involved with the club for over 17yrs now. I hope to remain involved for a very long time to come.
These are tough times, and actions speak louder than words. As of today, Sunday 11th October, I remain worried about the future of our club. I am worried about the immediate future on 2nd November, and worried for the months afterwards.
I believe that by donating my shares to a true forum for the fans and supporters, I can lead by example and show that no one person is bigger than the club. At this point we should all shoulder arms and push towards a resolution that works for the club, without fear and favour.
I would recommend that ASSF be the recipient of these shares. I confirm I am neither a member, shareholder nor director of ASSF, and I make or influence no decisions. I further recommend that ASSF link together with other fan-based groups, including OSC, and work to convert itself into a trust as soon as practical, and that the directors of ASSF – who are a fine and honourable set of people - try to engage with the existing shareholders of the club to drive forward an agenda that has ONLY ONE objective. To create a healthy and diversely supported club that we can continue to be proud of.
In closing I wish to thank all the people of East Lancashire and beyond who have been incredibly supportive in the past weeks and months and who have contributed to the club's appeal. I also wish to thank the players who have sent me messages of support. I stand in awe of your dedication, and that of the various staff and unpaid volunteers at our wonderful club.."
Owner Dave O’Neill issues share package ...
Accrington Stanley have announced the details of a limited share issue package, designed to enable you to show your support for the club and own a genuine part of the football club going forward.
Aimed at individuals who want to be a part of the club, or companies and organisation who want to get behind the team, all subscribers will receive a framed certificate to proudly hang on the wall, a great talking point for any lounge, pub, office or reception area. And with Christmas coming up the package makes a great present, or an ideal gift for birthdays, anniversaries or weddings!
Priced at just £250 plus VAT and strictly limited to 1,000, the package includes:
One individually listed B share – Be an official Accrington Stanley Football Club Limited shareholder. Receive a framed share certificate, copies of financial accounts and an invite to the clubs AGM. Each share certificate will also be numbered SOS 1-1000.
Official limited edition share issue replica shirt – Accrington Stanley will shortly confirm details of a new kit supplier, with a new shirt to be launched this month. A limited run of these will be special Save our Stanley shirts, individually tailored to tie in with the numbered share certificates.
Ten flexi tickets – Ten tickets to be used at any Coca Cola Football League fixture, either for ten individual games or for ten people at one match, or any combination of the two. Great for individuals to introduce friends to the club, or for companies to treat their staff or customers. Subscribers will also get a voucher for 10 per cent off hospitality and 10 per cent off in the Stanley Store.
Speaking about the offer, Accrington Stanley chairman David O'Neill said: "We are delighted to announce this limited edition offer today, a great opportunity for individuals and organisations to show their support for the club and become a part of Accrington Stanley.
"It isn’t something that is specifically aimed at paying off the revenue bill, although early sales will certainly help, but more of a longer term income generator as we move on from the problems of the last few weeks and months and continue with our plans to take the club forward."
For more information contact the commercial team here at the club on 0871 434 1968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ASSF appeals to shareholders ...
Representatives of three Accrington Stanley supporters’ groups came together with one of the major shareholders, before the Cheltenham game last Saturday, to formulate a plan with a plea to the club’s largest shareholders to put the club’s future existence ahead of their financial stake.
The plan contains the following proposals:
1) Shareholders agree to a £300k recapitalisation in the form of a share issue;
2) The share issue be open to all, ie: existing shareholders, supporters and the public at large with the aim of making Accrington Stanley a community owned club, with the proviso that no one person, or group is able to become a majority shareholder owning more than 50 percent.
3) The present directors would stand down and offer themselves for re-election, together with other shareholder nominees. The new Board of Directors would be selected and appointed by shareholders.
4) Any directors', or other loans already made, would remain in the club for a period of at least five years, or any payment requested would be repaid in annual instalments over a five year period.
Companies House records show that, as of last week, almost 90percent of the shares are in the hands of four people: E. Whalley, D. Styring, I. Khan and P. Marsden.
With only two weeks before the club has to pay an outstanding tax bill of £308k, the supporters ask the four principal shareholders to make public their unequivocal support for this plan to demonstrate to the tax man that the club will be able to meet its liabilities.
There has been no major proposal coming from the club itself, and therefore, once again, the supporters have had to take the initiative in an effort to save the club from extinction.
Chief executive Rob Heys repeats director’s plans to save the club...
We hope that, with the Blackburn match and Austin Aztecs match plus a number of other events we will be pushing £150,000 in the SOS fund.
Then, with the contribution of people within the club to top it up, I am confident we can also get the money from other places to put the debt to bed.
It’s important as a club that we have a plan and we let people know about it.
One or two people have said they are willing to give us short term loans which we want to pay back quickly.
It’s not bank loans but people who are willing to help us get over this critical stage, pay the bill and then – when one or two other schemes come to fruition – that should allow us to pay them back and then we can draw a line under everything as soon as possible.
We know the clock is ticking and it’s less than two weeks until our court date so we need to do something quickly to show that Accrington Stanley will survive and has a bright future.
We knew it would be late when we got the money together but we don’t want it to get too late. We don’t want to be days away so we want the plans in place quickly and to annouce them so everyone knows where we are at.