AGM PROPOSAL: financing the renovation of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

A proposal for Clapton CFC's annual general meeting on 6 December

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ClaptonCFC
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Joined: 25 Nov 2020, 23:54

AGM PROPOSAL: financing the renovation of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by ClaptonCFC »

This proposal is from the Finance Committee. Please add questions or responses in the comments below

Proposal: to use £50,000 from a government ‘bounce back’ loan to prepare the Old Sported Dog Ground for next season

Back in May, with the club facing an unpredictable future as a result of unprecedented coronavirus restrictions and the freehold of the Old Spotted Dog Ground not yet secured, the Club Board authorised an application for a government secured ‘bounce-back loan’ to enable us to have a greater guarantee of our future cash flow.

In June we secured a loan of £50,000 at 0% and no repayments until June 2021, with an interest rate of 2.5% thereafter if we did not repay the loan in full at this point. The balance can be repaid at any time without penalties.

Fortunately, the club’s merchandise sales have remained strong and so far, we have been able to sustain ourselves without the need to rely on or use this additional funding.

However, estimates from the Old Spotted Dog Ground Trust (OSDGT) on the level of fundraising it needs to generate, simply to pass an FA ground grading and allow us to the Old Spotted Dog Ground next season, are daunting.

Currently, it expects to need to raise close to £175,000.

Why is this important?

If we want to play in Forest Gate at all next season, we need to achieve a ground grading of at least Grade H and preferably Grade G for eligibility for Step 6 football for the men's first team. If the women's first team is promoted this season, we need to comply with Grade E, appropriate to clubs seeking promotion from Step 5 to Step 4.

The biggest (and most expensive) issues are the lack of changing rooms and of a suitable pitch perimeter fence (which alone is predicted to cost £27,150).

There is no indication that the ongoing legal action involving Newham Community Leisure is likely to resolve itself soon to allow the use of the existing changing rooms in the warehouse, which is not covered within the freehold we own.

However, a visit by FA Ground Inspector Jon Smith in October has also indicated that we need to repair and resurface walkways and our ground capacity is limited by the need for extra terracing.

The Trust is confident that it can secure funds from the Football Foundation but other prospective funders remained closed to new applicants because of the ongoing health emergency. We also need to match fund in order to secure this level of grant from the Football Foundation.

Using the bounce back loan

This is not something we need to apply for: we already have the money. The government allows repayment over six years (June 2021 to June 2027) at 2.5% interest, by far the lowest rate available anywhere.

If, rather than repaying the loan in full next June and incurring no costs, we decided to use it as matched funding for grants and to pay for improvements, we would need to pay back £8,982 per year and over the course of the six years, we would pay £3,895 in interest.

Using the bounce back loan in this way would provide funds to match any grant from the Football Foundation: we plan to seek £50K from them. That would leave a more realistic, although still considerable target for fundraising of £75K from other sources.

What are the risks?

Repayments of close to £9K a year would fall on top of the £13,332 we have to pay on the loan for the purchase of the ground, making total loan repayments of £22,314.

However, the OSDGT receives £8,680 for the year from the rental of our land for a mobile phone mast and we currently pay Match Day Centres £11,385 for rental of the main stadium and for training, just for the Men’s First Team.

Taken together, this would mean that our additional spending, per year, is only £2,249 – less than the number of merchandise sales we generated in October 2020 alone.

Recommendation from the Finance Committee

The full £50,000 is used made available to the Old Spotted Dog Ground Trust as a for grants to prepare the old Sported Dog Ground for next season, with the recommendation to the Old Spotted Dog Ground Trust that it is used:

a) for making up any shortfall in other fundraising or sponsorship for the pitch perimeter fencing
b) as match funding for a grant for dressing room facilities and
c) to improve and repair walkways

Mouseman
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Joined: 07 Feb 2020, 18:44

Re: AGM PROPOSAL: financing the renovation of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Mouseman »

Hi,
I'm a bit confused about a couple of things. Firstly the changing rooms. What were Clapton using before and why can't that be used now ? Secondly I'm a bit confused about the OSDGT could you explain the structure to me?
On balance I'd say the most important thing is that we have a decent,functioning ground for players and supporters alike. I've seen the photos from the site visit and it's in a hell of state. Most commercial leases have a dilapidation clause meaning that if you damage or run a property into the ground your liable for the damages. Are Heineken pursuing McBean for this ?
The govt loan question's a difficult one really and I probably need to think about it as I'm a bit uncomfortable with the club being burdened with debt. However, we need a safe and functioing ground. Are there any alternative suggestions?
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jackgg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2018, 16:51

Re: AGM PROPOSAL: financing the renovation of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by jackgg »

Thanks for the proposal and for opening it up for discussion.

Were there any conditions about what the 'bounce-back' loan can be used for - i.e. that it should be used only for things related to Covid (for example businesses having to close), or can it just be used for anything?
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Copwatcher
Posts: 12
Joined: 25 Sep 2018, 20:59

Re: AGM PROPOSAL: financing the renovation of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Copwatcher »

Hi,

The Old Spotted Dog Ground previously had changing rooms, that is true, but these are located in the warehouse next to the ground. This is still currently owned by Newham Community Leisure, the failed charity whose assets (including the warehouse) are now controlled by a liquidator. When we bought the freehold, we were only able to buy the 90% of the ground that was previously owned by Heineken and leased to Newham Community Leisure.

We have written to the liquidator asking for an arrangement so we can rent the existing changing rooms - after all, nobody else can use them. However, he has refused to talk to us. We tried talking to the Charity Commission, but they simply referred us back to the liquidator.

We have, therefore, no choice but to pay for new changing rooms, as these are an essential requirement of the ground inspection by the FA next year. Unless we pass this, Clapton CFC isn't coming home to play in Forest Gate next season.

The Old Spotted Dog Ground Trust is a wholly-owned subsidiary company of Clapton Football Club Limited, the community benefit society that we are members of and that fields teams as Clapton CFC. It has the responsibility for managing the ground.

The reason that the Finance Committee has proposed using the bounce back loan is that (a) the interest rate is so low, (b) the repayments are affordable and (c) because, without it, we need to raise £50,000 more from other sources, despite already having a daunting fundraising target.

Kevin, Finance Committee
Mouseman wrote: 22 Nov 2020, 15:47 Hi,
I'm a bit confused about a couple of things. Firstly the changing rooms. What were Clapton using before and why can't that be used now ? Secondly I'm a bit confused about the OSDGT could you explain the structure to me?
On balance I'd say the most important thing is that we have a decent,functioning ground for players and supporters alike. I've seen the photos from the site visit and it's in a hell of state. Most commercial leases have a dilapidation clause meaning that if you damage or run a property into the ground your liable for the damages. Are Heineken pursuing McBean for this ?
The govt loan question's a difficult one really and I probably need to think about it as I'm a bit uncomfortable with the club being burdened with debt. However, we need a safe and functioing ground. Are there any alternative suggestions?

Bradfordpaul
Posts: 7
Joined: 04 Apr 2020, 18:07

Re: AGM PROPOSAL: financing the renovation of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Bradfordpaul »

This may have been suggested before, but is the club running a standing order / direct debit scheme, so supporters can contribute funds towards the loan repayments? With support running into the hundreds, the club could use this to cover the immediate costs.

Bradfordpaul
Posts: 7
Joined: 04 Apr 2020, 18:07

Re: AGM PROPOSAL: financing the renovation of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Bradfordpaul »

Would it be possible to organise a benefit show for Clapton CFC at, say, Theatre Royal Stratford East? It holds 460, which should sell out if we recruit some football-loving comics and musicians. Some suggestions might be; Kevin Day, Eddie Izzard, Jo Brand (Crystal Palace), David Baddiel (Chelsea)/Frank Skinner (B’ham City), Bob Mills (Leyton Orient). There might also be sponsorship opportunities with the Theatre Royal if it goes ahead.

Many comedians can be contacted via the agency Avalon at: Homepage - Avalon (avalonuk.com) while activist and West Ham fan Billy Bragg can be reached through Paradigm: Billy Bragg - Paradigm Talent Agency (paradigmagency.com) These are just a few suggestions, but I’m sure you can think of others.

Let me know what you think. I’ll help where I can, but as I live in Yorkshire, someone nearer the club might need to take it on.

Best Wishes,

Paul.

Bradfordpaul
Posts: 7
Joined: 04 Apr 2020, 18:07

Re: AGM PROPOSAL: financing the renovation of the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Bradfordpaul »

Apologies to Frank Skinner. For Birmingham City, read West Bromwich Albion
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