Trust will galvanise Magpies in an exciting new era at Avenue

HISTORIC SUPPORT: Trust board members John Greenslade, Ash Jury and Dave Ring present club chairman Shaun Hearn and director Paul Harris with a cheque for £2,000 in 2011

HISTORIC SUPPORT: Trust board members John Greenslade, Ash Jury and Dave Ring present club chairman Shaun Hearn and director Paul Harris with a cheque for £2,000 in 2011

First published in Local Sport Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

THE group being handed the majority shareholding in Dorchester Town will act as the “glue that holds everything together” at the club.

That’s the opinion of Dorchester Town FC Community Trust secretary Dave Ring as the start of a new era at the Magpies homes into view.

News of an agreement in principle between chairman Shaun Hearn and the trust emerged late on Wednesday night following lengthy discussions between both parties.

If the deal does get fully rubber-stamped then Dorchester will be the next in a long line of clubs that have become community-owned.

And Ring outlined to Echosport some of the finer details of the set-up which will include Hearn staying on as chairman, the introduction of a director of football and the integration of Dorchester Town Youth FC into the main club.

“In theory, it will all stay as it is,” explained Ring. “It’s not a takeover. The trust is like glue that holds everything together.

“It’s just a different way of doing things and we’d like to see it happen before the start of next season.

“It just means that the majority shareholding for the club will be held by the Community Trust and the trust is owned by its members.

“That means all the members of the trust have a stake in the ownership of the football club.

“That doesn’t mean to say the board of the trust will be running the club. It will still be run by a board of directors.

“This new development will facilitate the coming together of supporters, the community, Dorchester Town Youth FC and the football club to all work together for the benefit of Dorchester Town FC.

“There are quite a few advantages. The football club will no longer be owned by an individual, it will be owned by a not-for-profit benefit society.

“Because of that there is the opportunity to have various added incentives such as a possible reduction in business rates and costs of electricity and gas.

“The whole concept is that the football club is run sustainably or at a level to which the community is prepared to buy into.

“The whole point of community ownership is to engage the community and give the supporters a structure.”

Ring paid tribute to Hearn for his tenure as majority shareholder and confirmed he would stay as chairman when the next chapter in the Magpies’ history begins.

“Shaun has done a fantastic job trying to do it all and we are absolutely looking for him to stay on,” he added. “We are not looking to get rid of anybody.

“I’ve no doubt that what Shaun has done for the club over the last couple of years has been fantastic.

“I’m pretty confident Shaun will leave the club in a good condition and I’ve absolutely no doubt that everything is going to be okay.”

Supporter Rob Hodder added: My initial reaction to the announcement was not overly positive but I will reserve judgement until more details of how this is going to work are released by the club.

“Of course the idea of a Trust-run community club is all very romantic but we are no AFC Wimbledon or Exeter City and the Dorchester community has no real history of ever really supporting the club.

“Despite all of my views though I trust Shaun Hearn and if he thinks that this is the best way forward for the club into the future then I will support him.”

Most community clubs rely on gate money, sponsorship and other fundraising methods to balance the books while the core principle is to make a club sustainable by not gambling on success through spending large amounts of cash.

More discussions will continue over the next few weeks with further details set to be announced in due course.


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