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Magpies' fans Trust poised if ownership is offered
CHAIRMAN John Greenslade insists the Dorchester Town Supporters Trust remains in a position to accept ownership of the Magpies.
Shaun Hearn has decided against transferring his majority shareholding in the county town club to the Supp-orters Trust and although disappointed by the news, Greenslade believes the Trust is ready to assume control should circumstances change.
He said: “We are obviously disappointed that Shaun has decided against pursuing the model of community ownership at the current time.
“Since we were approached by Shaun with regards to taking on his majority shareholding, we have remained transparent and consistent in our approach, which was to present a proposal that would take the club forward by add-ressing several areas of concern.
“Primarily, our proposal was focused on the best interests of the football club and not the best interests of any individuals. This approach will always remain the same, as our key motivation is to secure the long-term future of Dorchester Town FC.
“During this process, we have been delighted with the response we have received from our members, supporters, volunteers, local businesses and community organisations, who have come forward to offer their support and expertise in a variety of ways.
“Those people have stated that they are still keen to work with us as part of a community-owned club, should things change in the future.
“In the meantime, the Trust will continue to fully support the football club as we have done ever since our formation in 2009.”
Greenslade has also moved to dismiss speculation of a rift between the Trust and club chairman Hearn.
He added: “As Shaun said in his interview, there is no animosity between him and the Trust, and discussions have always been constructive and amicable.
“We are pleased that Shaun has acknowledged that there needs to be significant changes to how the club is run. Regardless of the ownership model of the club, the football club must start to live within its means and address the levels of debt that are not just simply going to go away.
“The club is also far too reliant on funding ongoing costs with director loans, which can prove to be extremely damaging to football clubs at all levels – particularly as these loans could potentially be recalled at short notice.
“We would urge Shaun to address this situation as soon as possible, as ultimately it is the club and supporters who will suffer the consequences of these loans in the longer term.
“The benefits of community ownership will always remain. After several months of planning, we have a business plan in place based on the model of community ownership that would work towards safeguarding the long-term future of the football club with the realistic aim of a debt-free club within three years.
“Shaun has also said in his recent interview that he sees community ownership as the way forward for the club.
“Although it would appear that Dorchester Town will not become a community club in the immediate future, the Trust remains in a position to be able to facilitate a transition to community ownership should Shaun change his mind on our proposal, or if his circumstances were to change in the coming months.”
As the third anniversary of the Trust’s formation approaches this summer, Greenslade believes the Trust has continued to evolve and progress year on year, and has high hopes for the future.
He said: “As a Trust board, our mandate is to secure the long-term future of the club, acting in the best interests of our 534 members.
“We all feel privileged to represent such a positive and community-based organisation. We are now the fourth largest shareholder of the club, and have the largest number of corporate sponsors out of all other Trusts in non-League football and our membership continues to grow on a monthly basis.
“We work tirelessly to support the football club in a variety of ways.
“We help to generate funds directly for the football club by running the club shop and an online shop. We also work to promote the club by engaging with a variety of community organisations, having a regular presence in the town centre and also online through our website and social media.
“The Trust even hosts and provides the online club fans’ forum and the supporters’ club website.
“Our board members have also played important roles in club fund-raising events, particularly the hugely successful fun day held at Poundbury last May. In essence, the Trust does whatever it can to work with and to fully support the club.”