The third and final part of the latest update from the club's chief executive.
- CEO and the two CUOSC board directors meet CUSG members on 13 December for a special, unplanned and additional meeting of supporter groups to discuss announcements made by the Holdings Board and CUOSC.
- This was the first opportunity for the supporter groups to directly discuss and raise initial questions. It was offered to give an early meeting for the fan groups to get together with some of those involved, rather than wait until after Christmas for the next scheduled meeting [10 January]. It was not the only opportunity, and fans can still ask the club any questions they have by getting in touch HERE.
- The minutes were published HERE.
- Answers to additional questions were provided at the meeting on 10 January and will appear in the minutes.
Fan queries to the club:
Alongside the ongoing CUSG meetings with fan groups, I continue to answer direct fan questions received each month, on behalf of the club. This is in-line with the approach to Fan Engagement, and ways to get in touch, which can be read HERE and HERE respectively.
Fans with concerns, please come in and speak to the board, or specific individuals, or go via CUSG, or the SLO. Details on how to get in touch are HERE.
You can make your voice heard, you will be listened to. The door remains open.
The key issues raised directly by fans to the club since the last update have been:
- On-the-field football forum - is likely to be held after transfer window, date to be confirmed.
- Forums for directors and shareholders - are still to be scheduled as per EFL rules, date to be confirmed.
Questions on banners:
- A ‘bed-sheet’ was confiscated on safety grounds at the Shrewsbury game as it was it in breach of the club banner policy, and our stadium safety licence. The position and approach to banners that was taken at the game was as I outlined previously.
- Nobody was ejected, except for throwing objects on the pitch to stop the game.
- Those ejected included two U18s who threw balls and appeared later in the Paddock holding the bed-sheet banner. Their ejection was not for having a banner, contrary to reports elsewhere.
- Again, contrary to reports, those ejected have not been banned by the club.
- On the matter of consistency of our approach to banners, every banner must comply with the Banner Policy that can read in section 10 HERE. This is well established, unchanged and visible on the website. All banners admitted at previous games complied with the policy (including those brought by away fans, including OAFC).
- We currently have just over 50% of the first-team squad vaccinated, which is typical of EFL averages.
- In the run up to Christmas Day we suffered an increasing number of covid infections in the playing squad, and had some other players who were required to isolate with symptoms, and then later with infection. Alongside this we already had a number of existing injuries. This, combined with a relatively small squad, meant we fell within the EFL guidelines allowing games to be called off in exceptional circumstances. At the time of the call-offs:
- we had a squad list of 22 outfield players, plus three goalkeepers.
- we had five injuries plus one goalkeeper injury, leaving 17 outfield players and two goalkeepers.
- Covid protocol requirements ruled out six more outfielders.
- this left just 11 outfielders and two goalkeepers.
- this was below the minimum of 13 outfield players, plus a goalkeeper, as per the EFL protocol.
- Sufficient, not all, affected players were back for Scunthorpe, making them eligible once again.
- This impacted games, player training on return, and then the game-time as they regained match fitness, as Keith has outlined in his interviews.
Takeover of the club
- Individual shareholders are open to consider all offers whether investment or full takeover. CUOSC favours a change of control from a full takeover.
- Operationally, the end of talks has not resulted in any changes to how the club operates day-to-day, or individual involvement, roles or responsibilities. It is not envisaged for that to change, for any of person connected with EWM/Purepay.
- John Jackson’s role was fully explained in a reply to Q4 in July 2021 HERE.
- The Commercial Funding Agreement with PurePay still exists, unchanged, and is operational regardless of the end of the separate takeover talks. The obligations of 1921 and PurePay remain and continue. Our debt to PurePay remains and continues. While we do not envisage any further advances, Purepay still has a very significant financial interest in 1921, as the largest debt provider and secured creditor.
- John was a Holdings Board director long before any takeover talks, there is no change in his role, and he remains a director after the end of the takeover talks.
- David Holdsworth role was not and remains unconnected to the takeover. He joined before the takeover talks and his work is operational and is therefore unchanged.
- In terms of the finance required to take-over the club, I explained the issues in Q11 of the November 2019 CUSG Q&A from fans. The core issues have not changed, and the detail is HERE for fans who want it.
- We report tickets sold as our ‘attendance’ figure in common with long established custom and practice across the entire EFL. We have no plans to additionally report the no-shows and coming into the ground.
The WRE was closed for recent FA Cup ties on economic and operational grounds. The staff costs of opening could be saved, and the fans fully accommodated in the Paddock standing area.
Stewarding resources are stretched due to Covid absences, and this avoids buying in extra staff. Going forward, opening for each cup game will again be considered on its own merits, and the situation at the time.