So the cat is out of the bag. The Borough are back, but Lee Thorn is to leave and that has posed a number of questions for our fans.
The most pertinent question is who is going to take over the club?
Hopefully the answer will be everyone. I can officially reveal now that on Monday 21st of May, representatives of the Cooperative will attend a meeting hosted by an intermediary and attended by a number of prominent people from the Nuneaton community.
Our aim there will be to put together the outline of a plan that allows a consortium of people, ourselves included, to purchase the club. This would give both fan ownership to a degree, but more importantly, a reflection of the whole community.
Yesterday, we received the prospectus for the sale of the club and ground, as well as the terms of the sale. We have been quoted a price, which I won’t make public here, and now our aim is to work towards making a deal that is viable for us, for the club, and for you.
So what has to happen next? The league AGM is on June 10th, and we would like to have a firm idea of where things are going by then, as I’m sure would the players and staff of the club. It’s imperative to keeping us competitive that some sort of solution is found quickly, if we want to keep the core of the squad together.
We have been informed that the application to remain at this level has been made to the league. There may be other things that need to be done, but this is a key landmark for ensuring the club remains at this level. That’s great news for everyone and it means when we’re pitching to partners we have a strong starting point.
If we can’t pull something together, we have a fall back plan, which would see us seek to engage the club in a period of exclusivity whilst we crowd funded the money to take over the club. That’s not a quick process, nor is it one that would give us the sort of support we would get from working directly with partners. Whilst it might be that partners come in after that point, we would really like to have people in place now, and some of the conversations we’ve been having suggest that there are people out there who want to be a part of that movement.
The question will always be what can the Co-operative offer. We don’t have the funds right now to make a huge amount of difference, that’s true. We’re not made up of millionaires. But we do have a lot of things that we bring to the table that a simple businessman with money can’t. The sort of things that a non-league club needs.
First of all, we have our members, all 160 plus of them, which when compared as a percentage of gates, is one of the healthiest numbers for any trust. That’s an army of volunteers who have already mobilised to tackle the toilets, acquire turnstiles, build memorial gardens, find funding for the most ambitious history project for a club at this level. We bring people power, and anyone taking over the club is going to need that support to get the ground & club ready for the new season.
Then there are the multitude of grants and funding streams that we as a community based initiative can access. Finally, there is the direct link between us and Supporters’ Direct who have so much experience in running football clubs, which brings unparalleled experience in running a football club.
So we aren’t just a lame duck. We’re an integral and important part of this package.
As part of our continued desire to evolve and improve as an organisation, we’ll be rebranding our whole website very soon. Already we’ve secured a new domain, and now you can email us on our own coop emails, or at the default email address of firstname.lastname@example.org There will be a new logo coming soon, once we change our name officially. It’s all a part of us looking to move into the future.
Last week I mentioned that we would be assessing the best way to set up our structure to get us working smarter. We’ve agreed to set up some new sub committees, but we still need you to come and join in. We still need people, now more than ever.
We have our AGM in a fortnight. It’s a really great chance for us to answer your questions in person, and I am sure right now, many of you have a few. Following on from that, we’re looking to do an open meeting at another venue, a larger one, where we can invite a host of people, hopefully some of whom will have joined our venture, and lay out our plans properly.
It’s going to be a long summer, full of hard work for all of us on the Co-op. There are going to be problems and issues that come up, highs and lows in the process. There are times it may seem hopeless, or moments when we think we’re almost there, but whatever happens, all of us, each and every one, remains committed to one thing, and that’s putting the future of our club, YOUR club, our Borough, first and foremost in our priorities.
This club will prevail, it will survive and it will thrive. We won’t let it go any other way.
Up The Boro!