Majority shareholders of Vanarama National League South club Bath City have made a fresh commitment to move Bath City FC Ltd into a community-owned, ‘one member one vote’ club.
The news was announced via a statement on Monday morning and marks a major step forward for the club as they look to move into community ownership.
The bid to do so has attracted the support of Manchester United legend Eric Cantona (pictured below left) and ‘Mike Bassett – England Manager’ actor Ricky Tomlinson.
The statement in full read:
“This will depend on the club first being able to clear its debts by partially redeveloping Bath City’s ground Twerton Park, and on the Big Bath City Bid being able to show that it has sufficient working capital, a revised business plan and an interim Board to assume control of the club.
We are now a big step closer to community ownership – and crucially, the lion’s share of the money raised through the sale of community shares could now be used to invest in the club’s future, rather than paying off debts.
We now have three tasks ahead of us:
1. Ensure that we have sufficient working capital to assume control of the club if and when the time comes
2. Prepare the new community-owned club’s structure, policies and procedures, develop a revised business plan when the redevelopment proposal is formalised, and recruit an interim Board of Directors
3. Work constructively with the Board to ensure that the redevelopment of Twerton Park is completed to a high standard in a way that secures the future financial sustainability of the community-owned club, and that the community is able to participate and be properly consulted during the redevelopment process
What will happen to the community share offer?
With the majority shareholders now agreeing to convert the club to community ownership after a debt-clearing redevelopment, the focus of our fundraising effort has moved from paying off debts to investing in the best possible start for a new community-owned club.
We will not reopen the Bid for new pledges just yet – pledges already made remain valid until the end of May 2016. We ask that investors stay with us as plans for the future of the club emerge. As always, not a penny raised through the sale of community shares will be spent without the express permission of investors, and pledges can be recalled at any time.
What input will the Big Bath City Bid and/or Supporters Society have on the redevelopment?
As the club’s largest shareholder, the Supporters Society and its members will have a direct say in any future redevelopment proposal. The Society will ensure supporters have access to independent advice on any proposed development, in line with our obligations as the club’s largest shareholder.
The Society has delegated authority for liaising with the club regarding redevelopment to the Big Bath City Bid. Our priorities are to ensure the redevelopment plans leave behind a financially sustainable club that will not need to resort to borrowing, and that the new facilities will deliver maximum community benefit.
We look forward to seeing the results of the club’s feasibility study currently underway and are keen to work constructively with the Board of Bath City FC to ensure that the redevelopment process is in line with best practice and that the finished product is the best possible for our club and our city.
We also announce that, after helping to secure over £300,000 of community share pledges in just three months, Jon Bickley has stepped down as Big Bath City Bid chair in order to refocus his energies on his own business.
Jon’s contribution has been phenomenal and we are very pleased that he will still give time and input to the 1000BC team, a joint initiative between the club and the Bid to increase attendances. Martin Powell, chair of the Bath City Supporters Society, will act as interim chair of the Bid as we move forward”
Source: The Big Bath City Bid