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Debate rages on about the potential of community ownership at Dorchester Town
6:00pm Friday 15th February 2013 in Sport
THE debate surrounding Dorchester Town FC’s potential transfer to community ownership rages on with John Greenslade and Philip Basford the latest to air their views.
Dorchester Town Community Trust chairman Greenslade believes the proposed move offers many benefits and will protect the long-term future of the club, while Basford is concerned about the detrimental effect it could have on Dorchester Town Youth FC.
Below Greenslade outlines his thoughts in a Trust statement while Basford gives his views in a letter sent to Echosport.
TRUST SEE THE BENEFITS IN MAGPIES' SHARE TRANSFER (Trust statement)
THE recent proposed share transfer from Shaun Hearn to the Dorchester Town Community Trust will result in benefits for the football club, the local community, supporters, Dorchester Town Youth FC and local businesses.
Work is progressing to achieve the shares handover, with the club, Trust and Dorchester Town Youth committed to the process. The process is expected to take a couple of months, to ensure current finances are in order and future plans are in place in respect of board membership, budget and so on.
In the meantime, the Trust continues to identify benefits that such a move will bring.
Trust chairman, John Greenslade, said: “The over-riding reason for wanting the club to transfer to community ownership is to protect the long-term future of the club. “Too often we have seen clubs in private hands running beyond their means, and then folding when that money dries up. Shaun is doing an excellent job in turning the club around, but can’t do it on his own. “Putting the club into the hands of the community creates a clear incentive to run sustainably, and makes the club board directly accountable and answerable to the community who own it.
“This may seem like a subtle difference, but it will fundamentally change the club. “There will be a clear and transparent decision making process, and a published annual plan and budget. “It will increase the number of volunteers prepared to offer their time – particularly as they will have become part owners of the club. “The club will have access to community grants not currently available, and will work with local authorities to ensure the club is also used to benefit the whole community, which in turn of course will also benefit the club.”
The Trust are also keen to work with local businesses, and see the club’s affiliation card as one key way of making this happen, with local businesses offering discounts to cardholders, thereby supporting the club and the local economy.
In addition, it is proposed that Dorchester Town Youth FC fall under the same banner as the club. This has clear benefits to the club, in terms of developing talent for the future, and creating a much wider pool of support and interest. It also has benefits for DTYFC, in providing a much needed ‘home’, access to facilities, and allowing youngsters to have a formal route by which they may one day progress to first-team non-league club football.
It is clear that Greenslade is excited about the prospect of community ownership.
“I think this really is a win-win situation for everyone” he said. “However, just as Shaun has found, we will need support to make this happen, and would ask anyone who is prepared to help realise this fantastic opportunity to get in touch. “The Trust website has much more information about this proposal, and I’d urge anyone interested to get involved.”
The Trust can be contacted on 850099 or via email at email@example.com. The website address is dtfcct.org.uk
CONCERNS FOR INTENDED USE OF FUNDS (Basford letter)
I read with interest what Lloyd Spracklen had to say about the merger of Dorchester Town Youth Football Club (DTYFC), Community Trust and Dorchester Town FC in the Dorset Echo on February 7.
I have also read the comments and concerns of anonymous people on the Echo’s online comments page and the Magpies’ forum.
As a founder member of DTYFC I also have concerns with the intended use of youth team funds.
I was involved with Dorchester Town Youth for nine years during which I served in a number of roles including vice-chairman.
Lloyd was asked how a merger would benefit the youth and he said that for the first time in its history DTYFC will be part of the ownership structure of Dorchester Town FC and will have an influence on the future direction the club takes moving forward.
This, he said, would make all the players part of a local football pyramid giving each and every one the incentive and aspiration to one day, if talented enough, become a first-team player.
The next question asked was whether there were drawbacks to a possible merger. He said he didn’t see any at this stage.
I have known Lloyd for a number of years and have the greatest respect for the time he puts in.
We have not always seen eye to eye but I believe his intentions are well founded but on this occasion may I suggest he is being a bit naive.
Most of the younger youth team players already feel part of Dorch-ester Town FC as they play in black and white and, in their minds, it is all one club anyway.
During my time working with the under-18s I realised that for a young lad to make it into the first team they needed the desire as well as the ability and a bit of luck. The sad fact is that one in 200 boys may only be good enough to play regularly at Blue Square Bet South standard.
A lot has been made about the youth team funds and that they will be used to plug a black hole at the club.
I know when I left there was about £25,000 in the bank. I believe we are now talking between £30,000 and £60,000.
The talk at that time, from then chairman Dave Read, was to invest this money in a home for DTYFC.
My fear is that this is possibly what's behind the merger talks with the youth team money being invested in a new social club at the Avenue.
If this is the case then Lloyd should say that this is what is intended for the money.
Lloyd says the critics do not offer an alternative. Why does their need to be an alternative? DTYFC has managed on its own for the last 11 years.
If there is a surplus of funds in the bank account I believe this money should be split evenly among the teams and be spent on extra training and coaching, kit, end of season tours and tournaments.