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7th July 2019

 

SST Statement

 

The Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) board members would like to give an update in response to recent events.

 

As a board we regularly meet to discuss issues that are on the minds of both the SST members and fans alike.We have most recently been seeking advice from an independent organisation, Supporters Direct, to assist us with raising such issues with the club. As per our last update we sought a meeting with the club’s majority shareholder, Amar Alkadhi, to question many of such issues. We used advice from supporters direct in the way in which to approach the meeting in which ultimately as a trust we wanted to be part of the solution to help resolve matters.

 

Nevertheless, whilst nice words and promises are all good to hear ultimately we can only hold the club accountable for their actions.

 

Since January 2019 it is has been evident that the club has experienced financial difficulties with the widely publicised late payment of staff (both playing and non-playing). We have also seen the club taken to the high court over the non-payment of HMRC (Tax) and Egerton (Training facility).

A group of players have now cited non-payment of two months’ salary (May and June) and subsequently added to the high court writ which the club response included the following line:

 

“Despite this we were disappointed by the actions taken against us by this group, due to the fact that some of the players involved have now moved on to other clubs, whilst others did not appear for the club once during their time with us”.

 

As the SST board, we would like to place on record both our wholehearted support of the players in seeking their outstanding wages and our condemnation of how poorly the club has handled the situation which has clearly provoked (and quite rightly) a reaction from many of members and fans alike. Ultimately people go to work to earn a wage to survive day to day and support their family, the club has broken its agreements with its employees and we can only encourage the club to do the right thing and settle the outstanding monies as soon as possible. We find the clubs handling of this situation unacceptable. We are also aware that on the 21st June 2019 (as per companies house) the club has taken out a loan of £180k. We would like to discuss with the club what the loan will be used for, as we hope the outstanding debts to the players and the ground improvements can be satisfied ahead of the new season.  

 

We all want to see a thriving club that represents positivity on the local community, over the last season the club’s actions has alienated many former contributors to the club.

 

As the SST one of our next actions will be to seek a seat at the table to the management committee meetings the club advised us would be taking place this season. We would want more of a fans voice in directly being involved in the decision making process and ensuring fans concerns are heard. We have also discussed a couple of ideas on how as a trust we can interact more directly with fans, you will see a further statement on this matter in due course.

 

We have emailed the majority shareholder, Amar Alkadhi, to ask when the next management meeting is due to take place and whether we can have SST representation as part of the meeting so we can discuss directly these concerns. We hope by this point a chairman and/or CEO is in place to help manage the day-to-day running of the club as we were previously advised by the club they were seeking to fill these roles.

 

Finally, we share the frustrations that you all have and as a group of volunteers with the fans best interest at heart we can assure you we are working hard as we can.

 

SST Board

18th June 2019

 

Notes From Meeting With Amar AlKadhi

 

Held on
12th JUNE 2019
PRESENT: Andy Worth (Chair)
Andy Mellor
Chrissie Thompson
Bernie Rickman
Myra Clark
Amar AlKadhi
Robert Trafford

Tobias Phoenix

Marie Grundy


Andy opened the meeting by thanking all for attending. Andy expressed the desire for
the SST was to be part of the solution and not be part of the problems at the club.
 


1. Why weren’t provisions in place over the last few months to ensure all playing and
non-playing staff were paid on time, and what provisions are being made for them to be
paid on time going forward into next season and beyond?


Amar explained that due to the position the club was in last season with a squad of 33
to pay and the number of players that were in accommodation, this put extreme
financial pressure on the club. It was also explained that there were issues of
contracted players who weren’t playing regularly not being moved on due to external
iinfluences which also put strains on the budget. It was explained that for the 2019/20
season the club are looking for a squad of 24 and would be looking at making better
use of the loan system.


Amar explained that the management structure of the club was being looked at. He had
always viewed MTFC as a community run club but this was no longer the case and the
club would now be run on a more businesslike format.

 

The budget was being looked at as each area of the workings of the club e.g. groundwork, office, catering etc were being asked for their anticipated budget for the coming season and the budgets would be set accordingly. This would give the responsible people their own budgets to work within, therefore making the budget more accountable.


2. How can we be expected to attract more quality players in view of recent publicity
surrounding consistent non-payment of wages?


Whilst we have signed around 4 new players and have other players already on
contract, the contracts being offered are changing. It was explained that players would
have financial rewards based on efforts put in at training Mon - Fri and match days. It is
hoped that this would encourage players to ‘fight’ for first team places on match days.


3. What plans are in place to deal with the issues surrounding the next court hearing on
26th June 2019 and what assurances can you give to fans that if they purchase a
season ticket that they will be honoured accordingly?


Amar explained that the situation around the proposed court hearing was in hand and
the money was available. It was pointed out that at least 12 - 15 other clubs at this level
were also in similar or worse situations to MTFC. It was felt that there were other
outside influences responsible for the negative press that MTFC have been receiving
from certain areas.


It was pointed out that the club would not be looking to signing new players if there was
any possibility of the club being given a winding up order.


4. What are the plans for London Road for next season when considering the changes
that first came into effect with the game against Stevenage F.C. on Saturday 23rd
March 2019?

We feel that this is a very important question to ask when considering that
we are aware through both social media and face to face discussions with fellow fans of
the negative impact that this has had on potential season ticket sales.


Amar informed the meeting that it was his decision not to publicise the closure of
London Road in advance. He expressed his regret for having to do this but that it was
no longer felt in the interest of the club to have visiting executives, players and players
families to be open to the level of abuse received. There had also been situations
where visiting officials had been physically abused, which could have led to the club
being fined.

 

With regard to the opening of this terrace next season; this is being held in abeyance as
the club have to do various ground improvements before the beginning of the season.
A number of plans have been submitted to East Cheshire Planning Department around
the dugouts to make them bigger to meet EFL regulations. There are three options:-


1. To make the dugouts deeper, which would mean losing the area behind the
current dugouts.
2. Making the dugouts wider similar to a ‘bus stop’ design which again would mean
losing some of this area.
3. To move the dugouts to the other side of the ground which would mean losing
some of the seating in the Moss Lane Stand.
Until the East Cheshire Planning department have given their decision then it is not possible to indicate what the exact layout of the London Road will be.


5. Who is responsible for the operational management of MTFC and is there a five-year
plan for the club?

 

It was explained that plans were being made to interview for a new Chairman and CEO.

There is an intention to have a senior management committee of 5 people with a CEO
controlling the day to day running of the club. Amar pointed out that this would be the
structure for the foreseeable future.


6. Is there money available to pay for the necessary ground improvements to meet the
requirements of the English Football League?


Amar informed the meeting that the money was available for the improvements.


7. There have been a number of rumours that there have been bids for the club in the
past. Would the club be currently up for sale to an appropriate interested party that has
the interests of MTFC at heart, and could you please give an indication of the sort of
figure you would be willing to sell for?


Amar confirmed that there had been 2 bids last season for the club. Currently the club
is not up for sale but should interest be made for another minority shareholder to come
in then that would be acceptable.

 

8. What are the plans for Butch’s Bar and will there be a meeting including key
stakeholders such as Gail & Richard Butcher, Dean Holmes & Robert Stirling and the
Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) who are committed to supporting the development of a
Butch’s Bar which truly honours the memory of our 21?


Currently there are no plans to demolish Butch’s Bar. There will be an inspection by
East Cheshire as part of their inspection of the ground. Providing the outcome is
positive then there will be plans at looking at ways in which some cost effective
improvements could be carried out.


It was stressed by a member of the SST Board that this should be communicated to the
relevant people, e.g. Dean Holmes and Rob Stirling as they have done an excellent job
increasing the revenue and provided a much needed facility for London Road and Star
Lane fans. Communication to be made by a club representative with Dean and Rob
explaining the situation.


9. In view of the difficulties experienced by fans at a number of games with regards to
getting into the game on time, are there any proposed changes to the ticketing system
for next season, and if so, what are they?


Amar indicated that the club was aware of the difficulties with the current ticketing
system and this is being looked into. Further information being provided by the club
ahead of the new season .


This information was welcomed particularly by one of the people who volunteers in the
ticket office present at the meeting. The decision to close London Road had put extra
pressure on the home ticket office due to the fact that there was only one place on
match days that tickets could be purchased and some of the abuse that the people in
the ticket office had to take had been unacceptable. Amar asked for his apology to be
passed on to the ticket office staff and explained that he was not aware of the impact his
decision had on ticket office staff.

 

10. As you are aware, the SST have been withholding financial support in view of our
concerns about the issues relating to the closure of London Road terrace. If the SST
receive satisfactory responses to the questions that are asked and are willing to
reinstate financial contributions to the club; can you please confirm that the SST will be
guaranteed shares to the value of future contributions that are provided?


IIt was explained to Amar the reason for the decision to withhold the monthly
subscription to the club. It was further explained that whilst the monthly payment was
not being reinstated; money was available should guarantees be given that any money
provided would be converted into shares for the SST. Amar stressed that he had
always agreed to the transfer of shares for cash and would ensure that this continues to
be the case.


Andy thanked all for attending, and thanks were expressed to Amar for the opportunity
to meet and provide answers to the questions posed.

 

22nd May 2019

 

SST Statement regarding a face to face meeting with Amar AlKadhi

 

 

On Thursday 16th May 2019, contact was made by email with Macclesfield Town Football Club majority shareholder Amar AlKadhi to request a face to face meeting with him to discuss a number of concerns with regards to recent events at the football club including such examples as persistent late payment of the wages of playing and non playing staff and the recent court hearing; how we will pay for necessary ground improvements and the future of Butch’s Bar.

 

On Friday 17th May 2019 Amar responded by email to advise that the club are currently in the process of sorting out issues from last season; sorting out player contracts and undertaking an extensive overhaul / reorganisation of backroom staff and procedures. Amar advised he would make contact again in a few weeks time.

 

The SST has sought assistance from Supporters Direct who have proved invaluable in helping to establish over 200 supporters trusts in the United Kingdom and facilitating a meaningful role for supporters with their respective clubs. They have vast experience at supporting clubs facing very difficult circumstances, and further information will be forthcoming over the course of the next few days regarding the next steps following further dialogue with Supporters Direct.

 

Andy Worth 

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust   

 

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The Silkmen Supporters’ Trust is committed to the improvement and development of Macclesfield Town FC by working in partnership with the Club, the fans and the community to the mutual benefit of all.

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