Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline Athletic Shares for Fans

Monday, 10th Dec 2012

10/12/12: Dunfermline Athletic plan to issue shares for fans.

East End Park

Dunfermline Athletic has today announced its intention to give its supporters the opportunity to acquire shares in the Football Club.

The Club had an initial meeting with representatives from the affiliated supporter bodies on Thursday evening where this and other matters were discussed. Clearly the representatives need to consult with their members, but the Club hopes to establish a working party comprising nominees of those supporter bodies, alongside representatives of the Club and its auditors, to take the project forward.

The purpose of the share issue is to give the Club's fans - from business people and companies to ordinary supporters and their families - the chance to play their part in helping the Club to secure its future.

The Club's financial difficulties this season have been well recorded and have caused a great deal of understandable concern among its supporters.The loss of SPL status which has cost up to £1 million, combined with a fixture list that has provided just six home league games up to 15th December, have been the major reasons why the club has faced a cash flow crisis.  Most recently the club has seen just one home game (against Dumbarton) in a seven-week period resulting in delays to wages for players and staff.  Despite all of this, there has been an upswell of support, none more so than the Manager, players and staff themselves, who have shown fantastic understanding and great professionalism. 

The Club is also hugely grateful to its fans who are taking all sorts of initiatives to raise funds.  Already their help has allowed the Club to ensure that the players received their full pay for October and 37% of their November salaries with the balance to follow soon. The Club still has a huge financial hurdle to overcome, particularly with HMRC, and are urging fans to continue the immediate fund-raising efforts and do everything they can to get a sizeable crowd to East End Park this Saturday.  They have been heartened by the show of support in every sense, and if this continues together with the income generated from forthcoming local derbies, Christmas parties and sales, there is confidence that the club can pull through this period.

The Club has already made considerable strides in reducing its operating costs and is well on its way to ensuring that it will break even from its normal trading activities. Thanks to the legislation around at the time, Dunfermline Athletic built a 12,500 seat capacity stadium in the late 1990s, and more recently have invested in improved hospitality facilities which has allowed income from off-field activities to increase.

On the field the appointment of a new manager and the introduction of new players has created success and excitement.  The Club has also invested in youth development, one of only three clubs from lower divisions that gained access through stringent conditions to play in the SPL Under 20 League.And so far that investment is also paying off with the Pars' youth team more than a match for the Premier League counterparts.

A Club spokesperson said:-
"While the proceeds of the Share Issue will enable us to bring ourselves completely up-to-date with HMRC and regularise our position with creditors, we also want it to support Jim Jefferies and his team in their drive to progress to the SPL, and to help fund other activities such as the continued improvement in the youth set up at East End Park.This is also the first stage in our drive to create greater fans' involvement in the running of Dunfermline Athletic and that's why we would like, right from the start, to get fan participation in the promotion of the Share Issue."

The Club intends to issue a formal document shortly outlining the proposals and seeking subscriptions from fans. The proposal will be similar to that recently announced by Hearts, with a range of benefits to shareholders depending on the level of their investment.However, the scale will be considerably smaller with a target of between £300,000 and £500,000 hoping to be raised through the sale.

Apart from creating financial stability, the Share Issue will have two early effects. The first, assuming a successful sale, is that Gavin Masterton's holding in DAFC through his company CHL will reduce from 95% to 75%.  Mr Masterton has not only promised that funds raised by fans groups can be converted to shares, but also that the Board and management structure of the Club will be reviewed to create greater supporter representation and involvement in decision-making at the Club, including at Board level, with a longer-term aim of creating a community managed club.

Chairman John Yorkston said:-
"Dunfermline Athletic is at the centre of people's hearts and minds in West Fife and a long way beyond.  The Club is 127 years old and has had many ups and downs, but this generation of fans has seen some unbelievable successes - from older supporters with memories of the glory days of the 1960s, to younger fans who themselves have experienced Cup Finals and league championship victories.We need our fans to support us now more than ever and if they do support the Share Issue we can all enjoy the successes that it can bring."

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