A new dawn for football in Bath
By Bath City Supporters Society
The people of Bath will soon be offered the historic opportunity to take ownership of local football club Bath City FC through a £1.4m community share offer, due to be launched in April. The fans organising the bid believe that the dream of community ownership can capture the imagination of the city and bring Bath City FC closer to the heart of the community.
Oliver Holtaway, co-ordinator of the Bath City Community Ownership Action Group, said:
“Bath has a tradition of doing things brilliantly, whether it’s our world-class rugby club, excellent universities, vibrant cultural heritage, innovative businesses or buzzing creative industries. There is no better place than Bath for a premier community-owned football club, built on sustainable finances and driven by a clear sense of social purpose. It’s what Bath deserves.”
Community shares are a special kind of social investment tool. Supporters of The Bell Inn in Bath successfully raised over £700,000 through a community share offer in 2013 and bought the pub. The Action Group now hopes that sport lovers will see a Bath City FC community buyout bid as a chance to take part in something special.
Shane Morgan, the Supporters Society representative on the Board of Directors of Bath City FC, said:
“Bath is a city with a proud sporting history. It is a city full of football fans. There is so much untapped potential for the football community in Bath to rally around Bath City FC and make it their own, and we believe that community ownership will help create a broader base of support and investment. Community ownership is the future of football, and we can make it a reality right here in Bath.”
Bath’s tradition of sporting excellence is also reflected in its schools and universities, and it is hoped that a community-owned club would be able to develop even stronger links with local education institutions, as well as charities and other local organisations.
The Action Group will now work with Supporters Direct, an expert organisation that helps supporters’ trusts achieve community ownership, to conduct due diligence and develop and launch a community share offer prospectus. If you are interested in community ownership for Bath City FC, you can follow our progress and offer help at bathcitycommunity.org.
Please see below a statement from the Bath City Supporters Society Community Action Group regarding the agreement reached with the Board of Directors of Bath City FC.
STATEMENT FROM BATH CITY SUPPORTERS SOCIETY COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP ACTION GROUP
The Bath City Supporters Society Community Ownership Action Group is delighted to announce that the Board of Bath City FC has agreed to co-operate with and hopes for a successful outcome to the Bath City FC Supporters Society community fundraising and ownership bid.
We welcome the Board’s view that successful community ownership would be a positive and beneficial development for Bath City FC.
The Action Group has set a target figure of raising £1.4 million to complete the purchase, satisfy creditors and provide enough working capital for the 2015/16 season. It will raise this sum through a Community Share Offer to be launched in early April, a process which it expects to run for several months.
The Supporters Society Action Group is mindful that Bath City FC faces pressing debt obligations in April. While all parties recognise that these are for now the responsibility of the present board, the Action Group commits itself to working constructively with the Board to help address this pressing issue satisfactorily.
With the Board’s consent, the Action Group will continue negotiations with individual shareholders and creditors during the fundraising process. A binding offer will be made as the fundraising nears completion.
All shareholders will have the opportunity to convert their existing shares into new Community Shares, and we hope that a sizeable number of shareholders will choose to support community ownership in this way. Where shares are purchased our offer will be based paying the face value of £1 per share.
The Action Group will engage the services of Supporters Direct to support the development and launch of the share prospectus.
For more information please contact:
Oliver Holtaway, Action Group spokesperson – 07909 093927