15th February 2019
SILKMEN SUPPORTERS TRUST
NOTES FROM THE MEETING HELD ON SATURDAY 9TH FEBRUARY 2019
ANDY WORTH - SST CHAIRPERSON
BERNIE RICKMAN - SST BOARD MEMBER
CHRISSIE THOMPSON - SST BOARD MEMBER
MARIE GRUNDY - SST BOARD MEMBER
AMAR ALKHADI - MAJOR SHAREHOLDER
MARK BLOWER - CHAIRPERSON MTFC
KEVIN GREEN - CEO MTFC
Andy thanked Amar, Mark and Kevin for meeting to take the opportunity to answer face
to face some of the questions raised in recent communications:-
FANS FORUMS - Mark pointed out there is a EFL requirement to hold 2 forums per
year, as pointed out a his meeting with the whistle blowers. Mark pointed out that this
season he has met with both the whistleblowers and the SST Board this year. Both
Mark and Amar indicated that they reply to all emails sent to them from fans etc. It was
indicated that a further fans forum was being looked at but that it was not felt suitable at
this moment as all efforts were being made improve the teams position in the league,
however this will be looked at when in a better.position. Kevin indicated that there are
some promotions being looked at, to attract an increased number of fans at the game
against Exeter and the highly important game against Morecambe later in the season.
Andy asked if there were plans for a ‘Meet the Manager’ now that Sol Campbell is in
post. Amar indicated that it was a timing issue as Sol is busy building a team and .
getting to know the area.
SPONSORSHIP FROM LOCAL BUSINESS - Mark indicated that whilst local
businesses who had previously supported MTFC had been given the opportunity to
continue sponsoring the club this was no longer the case. One of the reasons being
that now we are in a higher league the cost of sponsorships had increased and they did
not feel they wanted to invest the amounts indicated.
Mark did however indicated that more than 72 businesses in the local area are
displaying posters etc in their premises.
DEBENTURE - Andy asked the reason for the debenture. However, Amar indicated
that this was a standard business procedure and did not want to say anything further on
FANS EXPERIENCE/INCREASE IN FUNDING - Andy asked what the club is doing to
increase the number of diners/supporters on match day. Mark indicated that James
Beckett is now the Commercial Manager and is making every effort to sell the club to
local people and corporate packages for the match day experience. Mark accepted that
this had been an issue at the beginning of the season and felt that this could have been
due to some negativity from employees that had left the club during last season but
indications are that this is improving. Both Nicky and Keith are making every effort in
selling the McIlroy as a venue to the general public.
It was felt that this is improving now that Sol is in post. Indeed Bernie indicated that the
away support has increased at recent games. It has also been commented by away
teams that their own crowds have increased when Macclesfield visit and this again is
felt to be due to Sol being the Manager.
BUTCH’S BAR - Andy questioned if there were any plans to improve/replace Butch’s
Bar with another facility. Kevin informed those present that he had already got the
figures for demolishing the current building if necessary and was due to have talks with
Portakabin this week to look at the cost of replacing this with a new building. However
nothing could be done this season.
Andy questioned if there was any support that the SST could provide to ensure that a
‘Butch’s Bar’ is going to be available to London Road supporters. Mark questioned if a
crowdfunder could be a possibility. It was agreed that a further meeting to discuss this
should be held in April when Mark and Amar had due to sit down to look at the budget
for the following season. Kevin to let the SST know when this is due to take place so
that another date can be agreed.
LOTTO - Amar apologised but indicated that he was not fully aware of the lotto or what
it did. Andy and Marie gave a brief summary of its inception and funds it provided to the
club on a monthly basis and the various projects it had supported.
It was stressed that the Lotto had over the last few months lost members and one of the
reasons could be due to the situation at the club since the beginning of the season. The
lotto committee felt that they had taken the lotto as far as they could but did feel that if
there was a definite project, such as a new Butch’s Bar, that could be identified that this
could possibly attract more members. Overtures had been made from an outside
company to help with the promotion of the lotto and questioned if the lotto committee
had thought of joining with other clubs. This however was not felt a suitable suggestion
as the original ethos of the lotto was to make it a local/community lotto which would
provide funds for the club/supporters and local community projects such as
Andy then closed the meeting by thanking all for attending and felt that a lot of the
issues raised in the recent communications had now been discussed fully and look
forward to further discussions once the budgets were being set for next season
11th February 2019
A few members of the SST board met with Mr Amar Alkhadi, Mr Mark Blower and Mr Kevin Green after the home match against Crewe on Saturday 9th February 2019 and had a very productive meeting on the main points of the SST open letter dated 14th January 2019.
We plan to publish the minutes of this meeting in the near future once the responses of the SST board and the management of MTFC have been taken into consideration.
21st January 2019
Responses to the Open SST Letter (dated the 25th November 2018)
( Original question in itialics, Amar Alkhadi's response in black, SST response in blue)
14th January 2019
Amar Alkhadi/Mark Blower/ Kevin Green
℅ Macclesfield Town Football Club
Moss Rose Stadium
Dear Amar, Mark and Kevin
I write to you on behalf of the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) Board may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy 2019 and hope as we all sincerely do that by the end of 2019 we are still plying our trade as a highly competitive member of the Football League “ family ”. You will see that I have addressed this letter to all of you. The reason for this is that following our initial response to Amar on 12th December 2018, Amar emailed me to advise that he cannot
always provide the conduit in terms of optimum effective dialogue between the club hierarchy, and the SST. Amar further indicated a willingness to intervene up to several times a season, and so I now move on to the most important aspects of this letter where we as the SST board wish to offer a detailed reply to the responses we received from you Amar. I would like to further clarify that this is an open letter and will be made available to the readership of the SST website and unofficial websites of the Start Lane End and Wraggs to Riches.
Question 1 -There is a strong feeling amongst Silkmen supporters that there is a significant disconnect between them and the majority shareholder Amar Alkadhi and
Chairman Mark Blower. Could you please advise on how you intend to positively
address this perception amongst the Silkmen faithful?
AK response - I don't think I have personally changed the way I connect with the silkmen supporters in the 16 years that I have been involved in the club. I have always liked to be a low-profile director and that hasn't changed. I think I have replied to messages and spoken to all fans who have approached me for a chat.
There have been a couple of instances over the last year where I have chosen not to reply to insults and threats from unhappy fans/ex-employees, but surely that is normal?
MB has made himself available whenever called upon and spoken openly and honestly about all matters, most recently with the SST board and before that with a number of supporters who asked to challenge him.
SST response - Information was provided by Stuart Joseph at the
meeting held on 21st June 2018 that the Football League rules make it an obligation for Football League clubs under their control to provide several public forums in a season. Could you please provide us with the dates of the next proposed meeting so that we can publish this on the various websites?
Question 2 -There is a perception that the Silkmen hierarchy is not trusted by a number of influential local businessman; some of which have previously been involved but
sadly no longer seem to be. Could you please advise on how well you are doing
at attracting the interest of local businesses, and reinvigorating relationships with
previous influential local businesses who have proactively supported the football
club in the past?
AK response - While the contribution of the local businessmen that I think you refer to was undeniably, mostly, positive while the club was in the National league, the football league requires a much higher financial sponsorship contribution (which is allowable to be used for the football playing budget), which the these businesses cannot absorb.
SST response - Could you provide an indication of the context in which
attempts were made to maintain a positive relationship with these local businesses as we have noted that many are not involved this season? This does not seem to make financial sense
to even the least business minded person, when bearing in mind the increased ‘visibility’ of the club in the Football League.
We would also like to know of any indication as to whether more tailored sponsorship opportunities to suit their respective budgets were offered. As we are sure you are aware; many of these well-known local businesses/people are significant employers and held in very high regard by the local community.
Question 3 - There are concerns that as majority shareholder, Amar holds such an influential shareholding that it significantly inhibits the possibility for an Annual General
Meeting (AGM) of shareholders, to discuss important issues around the future of
our beloved club. Could you please advise if there are any plans for an AGM in
the foreseeable future which we feel sure would help to facilitate a feeling of
transparency and openness from the club?
AK response - Company law was changed a couple of years ago so that no AGM needs to be held. We publish our accounts and the parent company accounts publicly, and we speak on a regular basis to stakeholders and fans. So all financial data is publicly available.
Apart from private information (players wages and contracts), I welcome any questions that need answering. Indeed MB has held a few "meet the chairman" sessions where direct answers were given to direct questions.
SST response - Can you clarify the rationale for the recent charge on the clubs assets by AIB where a Debenture has been raised and will this impact significantly on the club in the future?
Question 4 - There are significant concerns about a perceived lack of investment in the
playing staff at the club which has contributed to the poor start to our season.
Could you please advise as to how the club intends to provide resources that
would ensure our survival in the EFL, and provide clarity as to the current
managerial situation because of the perceived ambiguity in official
communications thus far?
AK response - I am not sure that the fans are aware of the EFL has a salary cap mechanism in place lined to the revenue of the Club (Certainly Andy, you were not when we spoke) and we are using every penny that is allowed. We were utilising 97% of it by November (official figure from the EFL) but now we are at 100% because of additional signings (Nathan Cameron).
SST response - With the need to replenish our meagre resources, what strategies are in place to optimise income to the club via attracting new
fans/increasing fans spend at the ground and emphasising the attractiveness and value of the McIlroy suite as a venue?
Could you please advise if there is an events manager to ensure that investment
opportunities are made best use of?
Question 5 - A number of supporters have expressed concern as to the apparent lack of
sponsorship for games since our return to the EFL which has inevitably attracted
increased crowds. Could you please advise as to why this appears to be the
case and what the club is doing to address this matter?
AK response - We feel that the Commercial Manager is doing a good job, but any help from SST or the local businesses that you mentioned, that used to sponsor last year but are not at the moment, will be very welcome.
SST Response - There have been a number of games where there has been NO
sponsorship whatsoever which must surely be impacting upon what is a very important fun ding stream to the club. Two high profile examples of this was our first game back in the Football League against Grimsby on 11.8.18 and more recently when we entertained local North West rivals Tranmere Rovers on New Year’s Day. Could you advise us as to what barriers seem to be affecting Match Day sponsorship? We have reviewed the sponsorship for the first 14 games of the season which can be seen below:
Out of 14 league games this season 2018/19
Match Sponsor 7/14
Man of the Match 3/14
Match Ball 3/14
This demonstrates that out of 56 possible sponsorship packages available only 13 have been taken up which equates to 23%.
This would appear to indicate deficits in your advertising strategy which clearly needs to b addressed.
We would anticipate it would be the responsibility of the club to actively reach out to local businesses new and old to maximise sponsorship through MTFC highlighting the mutual benefits. As I am sure you are all aware, the SST has been and continues to be, a consistent financial supporter of the club and would like to draw your attention to the information below which highlights how the SST has made financial contributions over the past 12 months:
Question 6 - The SST have been made aware of a number of concerns relating to
experience (particularly on London Road) that has created a perception of ‘them
and us’ between the London Road and Moss Lane areas of the ground. Dean
Holmes and Robert Stirling do a fantastic job at attempting to provide a positive
experience for fans in Butch’s Bar, but it is patently clear that the condition of
Butch’s Bar is extremely poor / not fit for purpose, and several of our members
have even indicated their concern about having witnessed rainwater seeping
through light fittings. Could you please advise as to how the club intends to
improve the fans experience in London Road as for example via such initiatives
as a new version of Butch’s Bar?
AK response - Agreed Butch's bar needs to be demolished, but we have invested significantly in others areas eg the Silkmen Cafe and a new heating system in the Mcllroy suite.
SST response - We have to be honest in highlighting our significant disquiet in the way in which the response about Butch’s Bar was worded, and are acutely
aware of the upset that it caused the Butcher family. There has been no indication that there is any intention to replace this facility on London Road and maintain the memory of
Richard Butcher who is forever intrinsically linked within the Silkmen folklore as ‘our 21’. With regards to the heating system we would like to make it clear that it was the SST (in
addition to the Super Silk Lotto and a grant) that paid for the insulation in the McIlroy Suite, so the club per se did not have to make any contribution.
Question 7 -.here is evidence that previous investment from the SST has been
with share provision but there is no evidence that this has been the case
recently. Is the club willing to consider the possibility that for every pound that
they invest into the club (which also includes the Super Silk Lotto investment)
that they will receive a share?
AK response - No reason why not but not for the lotto that's a completely independent fund raiser.
SST response - The SST Board are satisfied with the response provided and ensure that this will be actioned.
Question 8 - A number of our members are aware that 500 pounds a month from the
money accrued via the Super Silk Lotto is paid into the club coffers. Could you please
provide an outline of how that money is utilised? It is considered that an
awareness of how the money raised is supporting the club may encourage
AK response - Personally, I am not aware of these details, but apparently the SST only run it because they volunteered to because certain members wanted a more tangible role in the Club, as a L2 Club there are some professional lottery schemes that we can join which could be far more beneficial to the Club, but we welcome and appreciate the SST's involvement. In terms of what we spend it on, every week/month there are items of equipment requiring repair / maintenance and this goes some small way towards that.
SST Response -The SST board would like to make you aware that they were very
dismayed by the context of the response to this question. The Super Silk Lotto
was developed (and continues to be) by Andy Worth, Marie Grundy (now both on
the SST board but also on the Lotto Committee) and Robert Stirling and we can
assure you that NOT ONE OF THEM HAS ANY INTEREST WHATSOEVER in having
any ‘tangible’ role in the club. They have continued to work as a Lotto
Committee with NO help whatsoever from the club other than promoting it on the
official website, and providing details of the winner. The Lotto Committee are
extremely grateful to the SST for allowing the use an account it holds for
collation of the monies and of the incredible supporting role of SST board
member John Abbott (who alongside other board members wants no ‘tangible’
role at the club either) in ensuring that there is a clear and transparent trail of
income and expenditure which we feel very confident would be verified by even
the most stringent of audits. It is worth pointing out that other ‘professional’ Lotto
schemes such as the Gold Bond Scheme previously adopted by the club were not
as successful as the current scheme and did not provide the current monthly
revenue (500 pounds per month) that the Super Silk Lotto does. It is also
important to note that the Super Silk Lotto has also provided monies to support a
number of initiatives including the insulation of the McIlroy suite and the
development/funding of Roary’s Den. The football club has not had to provide any
manpower / financial input to maintain the Lotto which has a ‘local community
feel’ to it and has also supported (and continues to support) a lot of local
charities including David Lewis and Space4Autism. The club had a great
opportunity to provide some information as to how the Lotto helped the club, but
instead appeared to belittle the efforts of those on the Lotto committee and the
SST which is very disappointing to say the least.
9. On a positive note to finish, I would be most grateful if you could make media
manager Bob Trafford aware of the excellent feedback from many of our
members with regards to quality of the official website content, quality of
programme and willingness to provide speedy responses to efforts within his role
of fans liaison officer on behalf of the club.
AK response - Bob Trafford is indeed doing a very good job.
We acknowledge that the club has appointed a Fan Liaison Officer and the feedback from our members has been very positive and we look forward to an excellent working relationship with Bob Trafford in the future.
We look forward to receiving your reply to the above points raised by 4th February 2019 and again remind you that this is an open letter and will be available to fans on the SST webssite and unofficial websites alongside the response that you provide.
Chairman SST Board.
20th January 2019
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
The previous Strategic Plan has been superceded by a new set of aims
and objectives that the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) Board is committed
to delivering and which will be reviewed at the end of each season.
2nd January 2019
The Silkmen Supporter#s Trust would like to wish all its members and all the Macclesfield Town supporters a very happy new year and every success in 2019.
The S.S.T. would not exist without your support. Please join us and help to make a difference to your football club. You can find the forms that you need to join here.
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.
Silkmen Supporters' Trust
c/o Macclesfield Town FC, London Road, SK11 7SP
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