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Answers to Some Questions Raised from the Latest SST Update.

 

30th May 2020

 

Dear all.

 

I am sorry for the delay in getting back to many of the questions raised but I sincerely hope that these help a little bit.

 

  1. The decision to provide the £10000 loan (as stated in the update on Tuesday 26th May 2020) was a last ditch one. It was made very clear to the Accounts Manager for MTFC in an email to her that this was a loan which was accepted and indeed we have since received £500 back from MTFC. We have been informed that from a legal perspective, this demonstrates that the loan was accepted and uncontested, and we are pleased to see that majority shareholder Amar AlKadhi finally showed  his appreciation on the MTFC official site where there is also acknowledgement that the money provided was indeed a loan.

 

  1. None of the funding for the loan came from the regular SST fund generators, which many of you have kindly contributed to including the Super Silk Lotto, Silk Pledge, Subscriptions, and Easy fundraising. We did use £5000 of the Hardship Fund but only after we got the agreement of a handful of major contributors who were happy for us to use their specific donations for this purpose, on the premise the money went directly to the players. For your information the Hardship Fund now stands at £8238  excluding outstanding flexible and interest free loans made to employees. The remaining £5000 was committed to, and provided by a number of SST members who wished to support the loan but who wish to remain confidential .

 

  1. The SST board were advised that the contractual arrangements for players is very different to that for other employees of MTFC. We were advised that furlough agreements with the playing staff had significant involvement from the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and that the ALL English Football league (EFL) Clubs including ourselves were working within a framework of agreeing to make up the additional 20% of player salaries.  It is of use to note that NO employee could be forced to accept furlough arrangements and there is little incentive to accept 80% on fixed term contracts when your contract can literally expire within several months.

 

  1. During that very traumatic evening of Thursday 14th May 2020 we had received information via a third party with impeccable sources that Mr. AlKadhi had acknowledged that his relationship with the English Football league (EFL) had deteriorated rapidly. This source indicated that if there were further issues with late payment then there was significant likelihood of further punitive sanctions which could effectively relegate us and even threaten our very existence. We were also made aware that there appeared  another football club within our league who were attempting to obtain evidence of late payment of players to ramp up the pressure on us.

 

  1. The third party indicated that if there was any way in which we could ensure that the £10000 shortfall could be satisfied, this would allow precious time for the third party to negotiate with the EFL with an intention of developing a robust framework which would ensure much more stable financial and operational management for MTFC.

 

  1. request was made that as a consequence of providing the £10,000 loan that we should allow adequate time that could facilitate allow the opportunity for negotiations to take place with the EFL and Mr. AlKadhi. This was the rationale for NOT publicising what we had done until had been made aware that significant progress had been made.  The subsequent revelation in his conversation with Talk Sport by  by Joe Sealey inadvertently compromised this position, but we as the SST 100% support Joe’s continued aspiration to take control of our beloved club.

 

  1. SST board member Bryan Brown is happy to pursue issues of concern  from Silkmen fans regarding a refund on their season tickets for the five games not played at the Moss Rose. We cannot guarantee anything but If you wish for some help /support in this matter please contact Bryan via the following link:

 

seasonticketssst@gmail.com

 

 

We  completely acknowledge people’s concerns but respectfully request that people appreciate the context that led to the approach of the SST, and we were every heartened  the recent tweet by Alan Nixon a football reporter from The Sun (who has hitherto criticised the club outrageously) stating Macc players were paid on time and in full today!!!  

 

Yours sincerely

 

Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

The Latest Update from the SST

 

26th May 2020

 

Dear all

 

Many of you will now be aware that the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) provided a loan of £10,000 to Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) to help to support payment of wages for the month of April 2020.

 

We are of course aware of, and can understand the angst of a number of supporters on learning yesterday of the news via Talk Sport and the Star Lane End Facebook page, that the majority shareholder Amar AlKadhi appeared to be ‘bailed out’ by the SST.

 

I feel it of importance to add some additional context to how this occurred, and I sincerely hope that you will then appreciate if not agree to the rationale as to come to the incredibly difficult decision to loan the money came about so here goes. I would like tp clarify at this point that MTFC's  Account Manager has since paid back £500 which was not required, confirming that the Club has accepted this as a loan.

 

  • On the afternoon of Thursday 14th May 2020, we were approached by a representative of MTFC (not Amar AlKadhi) who was desperately seeking ways of securing the sum of £10,000 to cover the 20% of the players and staff wages not covered by the furlough scheme. As the afternoon progressed, there appeared to be no evidence that Mr AlKadhi was able, willing or interested in paying this sum which was due by midnight on the 14th May 2020.

 

  • The club representative indicated that it was their understanding that if the monies were not paid by the deadline highlighted above, there was a significant risk that MTFC would be at significant risk of a further misconduct charge (with more points deducted) that would see the club go bottom of the English Football League (EFL) Two, and at real risk of relegation from the EFL as a consequence of mismanagement of the club off the field. The consequences of this going forward would almost certainly lead to liquidation of the Club and possession of parts of the Moss Rose by creditors.

 

  • I am sure you will all agree that this would have been a huge slap in the face to the playing staff who have performed wonders this season despite a plethora of obstacles. Please also be aware that at this time, we had no idea what the outcome of the meeting of League Two clubs which was subsequently held a day later on the 15th May 2020.

 

  • A board member of the SST had contacted Joe Sealey during the afternoon of 14th May 2020 to highlight the seriousness of the situation. Joe made clear his willingness to provide financial support to MTFC upon assurances from Mr AlKadhi that he would sell the club to Joe. We are of the understanding that this offer was rebuffed by Mr AlKadhi.

 

  • As the evening progressed there was still no sign that Mr AlKadhi was able or willing to pay the £10,000, and it was highlighted to the SST board that a number of the club’s employees were willing to put in significant sums of their own money to help to pay for the shortfall which goes to show the incredible dedication and loyalty of many of the staff to this wonderful football club of ours.

 

  • An emergency Zoom meeting was held with SST board members at 10p.m. on the 14th May 2020 where we were further advised that in order for players to be paid before the midnight deadline, the £10,000 had to be deposited in the account of MTFC by 11.15p.m, We were very heartened by the breaking news that Mr AlKadhi had indicated that he was actively looking to significantly reduce his grip on the operational / fiscal management of MTFC. The significant possibility of an operational board involving what was essentially a board of directors that included a Chair and vice-Chair.  

 

  • When it became clear that the £10,000 was NOT forthcoming from the football club, there was a unanimous agreement by the SST board members present to transfer the money (as a loan) into the MTFC bank account, and help to negate the threats to safeguard our tenure in the EFL and help secure the club’s survival.  This was a very painful decision that bought time for one last opportunity to change the management of the Club and save it in its present form. The decision was arrived at with 10 minutes to spare, and the Club's Account Manager was on hand to assist. We knew that we were damned if we did and damned if we didn't.

 

  • Please note that we have received NO sign of appreciation whatsoever from Mr. AlKadhi in respect of the above actions.

 

  • The next pay day is due in less than a week’s time and with this in mind, I sent an email to Mr. AlKadhi in the early hours of Sunday 24th May 2020 with a request for detailed responses to the following questions:

 

  1. Do you have the financial means to ensure that wages of MTFC staff will be paid in full and on time at the end of May, June and July 2020?

 

  1. Do you have the financial means to resource the other immediate costs of running a football club over the next few difficult months? It would be helpful to understand what they are and how they will be funded.

 

  1. Do you have appropriate plans in place to reach mutually beneficial agreements with the creditors (football and non-football related) of MTFC? Information on the scale of this liability and how the club intend to fund these would be helpful.

 

  1. Can you provide some information regarding the time frame you consider that MTFC would need to be be able to repay the £10,000 loan that the SST made to the club on Thursday 14th May 2020?

 

A response was requested by the time of the SST Board meeting (via Zoom) at 7.30p.m. on Monday 25th May 2020, but was not received by the time of the Zoom meeting . 

 

We will of course keep you updated as to any further developments.

 

#OURTOWNOURCLUB

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

An Further Update on the Present Situation

 

11th May 2020

 

Dear all.

 

I write to you as Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) to provide you with a brief update that I sincerely hope that you find helpful.

 

Like many of you Silkmen brethren, my colleagues and I on the SST board were so disappointed and dismayed by the recent seven points deduction that we received following the outcome of the decision by an Independent Disciplinary Commission following further breaches of English Football League (EFL) regulations.

 

We were extremely concerned by the rather damning evidence of negligence regarding health and safety testing, and that ‘MTFC appears to have demonstrated that it does not have the finance or the sound financial management to meet its most basic obligations.’

 

Over the course of the last few months, the SST board have demonstrated consummate professionalism in their dealings with the EFL, both in face to face discussions and written correspondence. We have consistently highlighted our concerns not only about the way in which Mr. AlKadhi has been managing the finances of our beloved club; but his blatant disregard towards the fantastic playing and non-playing staff of Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) who have had to endure extraordinary stressors on their health and wellbeing.

 

Most recently the following correspondence was sent to Mark Rowan and Andy Pomfret from the EFL on the 9th April 2020:

 

From: Andy Worth
Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2020 5:25 PM
To: Mark Rowan
Subject: Response from the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

Dear Mark

 

I write to you on behalf of the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) board, and would firstly like to take this opportunity to thank you for your response on April 2nd 2020 to our email dated March 20th 2020, whilst recognising that there are so many challenges faced by the English Football League (EFL) and their members including Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) during these unparalleled and very difficult times.

 

We the SST board have now been approached by a number of the employees at the club who are naturally very anxious about their financial and emotional plight during these exceptional times. They were already very concerned about their futures prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and have advised us that they have NOT had any recent communication from the majority shareholder of MTFC Amar AlKadhi that could help to allay their fears.

 

Our concern is that Mr. AlKadhi is providing NO leadership whilst appearing to blame creditors (and the EFL rules) for the lack of payments, and our attempts to gain further information from Mr. AlKadhi have thus far elicited vague and unhelpful responses.

 

We genuinely believe that the decision by the EFL to provide an advance of the basic award when the fixtures were suspended would be of enormous assistance to the wellbeing of the employees of MTFC and indeed the very future of MTFC. In view of recent press reports and a lack of clarity and depth of information from the club, we would be most grateful for your answers to the following questions:

 

1.   Has the basic advance award (which we understand to be in the region of £164000) been paid to the club? If this is not the case what was the rationale for NOT providing the advance to MTFC? If the advance award has been already been provided, we would be grateful if you could ensure that the aforementioned monies are utilised to support MTFC employees in addition to paying for basic health and safety issues relating to MTFC. We are sure that you can appreciate that such an approach would resonate far more soundly with supporters as opposed to paying multi-millionaire creditors during these difficult times.

 

2.   Could you please let us know if the EFL have provided guidance surrounding Her Majesty’s Government ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ (in particular surrounding the furlough scheme) to the 71 clubs within the framework of your organisation? It would also be most helpful for us in any future discussions with Mr. AlKadhi to know how many of your members have taken advantage of the scheme. At the time of this email to you, we have NOT received clarification from Mr. AlKadhi as to whether he has even applied to the UK Government regarding aforementioned scheme; an approach which we fervently believe would be of tremendous benefit to many employees of MTFC during this period.

 

3.   Could you please provide us with an indication as to when the EFL last reviewed the accounts of MTFC, and if you have seen the managerial accounts / cash flows over the course of the past two years?

 

We are sure that you can appreciate the angst of a significant number of Silkmen supporters regarding the future of our club that is driven by two major factors. The first of these relates to the ongoing concerns of supporters regarding Mr. AlKadhi’s stewardship of our club; someone who we believe appears hellbent on holding onto his majority shareholding whilst lacking the financial resources, acumen, integrity and motivation to effectively steer the club towards the stable and healthy future that it could so easily have with sensible and prudent management.

 

The second factor relates to the perceived lack of leadership and pragmatic support from the EFL that has led many Silkmen supporters to feel as if we have been abandoned, or at best treated with indifference by the EFL. We recognise that we are currently living in an unprecedented period in history, but it must NOT be forgotten that the stewardship of our club has been causing significant concern for at least two years now.

 

The possibility of a phoenix club rising from the ashes has been on the lips of many Silkmen supporters in recent weeks. This is something that we believe could easily be avoided if the EFL demonstrate the sort of leadership that would prevent the very real possibility of not only our beloved Silkmen, but many of other clubs within the umbrella of your organisation heading into oblivion.

 

I look forward to your prompt and detailed response.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

As a consequence of this email, we did initially receive acknowledgment of our email and that we would be receiving a response to our questions in the near future. On the 7th May 2020 at 12.02 p.m. (which was around one hour AFTER we had received information regarding the seven points deduction), I did receive an email from Mark Rowan and the context of his response was as follows:

 

  • An apology for the delay in getting back to us whilst highlighting the ‘significant challenges’ for the EFL as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

  • A confirmation that there is regular contact with our majority shareholder Mr. AlKadhi where the EFL were said to ‘continue to provide support for the Club, along with all our members in navigating the numerous challenges faced.’

 

  • EFL clubs were provided with latest guidance regarding the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) and subsequent advice regarding financial aid and otherwise including furloughing arrangements.

 

  • MTFC ‘are monitored regularly via SCMP measures and other ongoing obligations relating to playing staff and football creditors. All Clubs are required to file accounts with us each season in accordance with Companies House requirements, and Macclesfield submitted its accounts last year.’ 

 

  • We were provided with a link to the findings of the disciplinary commission.

 

  • An assurance was provided that the current overriding priority remains to support the health and wellbeing of our Clubs and communities, including players, coaches, managers, club staff and supporters, and we are appreciative of their continued efforts throughout this unprecedented time.’

 

I subsequently shared the email from Mark Rowan with my SST board colleagues and I am sure that you will NOT be surprised to learn that their response to this email was a mixture of indignation and dismay.

 

Concerns were expressed that whilst the independent disciplinary commission appeared to recognise that the actions of majority shareholder Mr. AlKadhi were bringing MTFC into disrepute again and again, this does not appear to have been as clearly recognised and articulated by the EFL.

 

The SST board will be holding a Zoom meeting on the evening of Monday 11th May 2020 to discuss the context of the report and a more detailed response to the EFL, and then facilitate the development of an action plan that we hope to safeguard the future of our beloved club.

 

 #OURTOWNOURCLUB

 Yours Sincerely

 

 Andy Worth

 

SST Chairperson

 

An Update on the Present Situation

 

14th April 2020

 

Dear Silkmen Supporters

 

I write to you in my role as Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) Chairperson with a contemporary update as of Tuesday 14th April 2020. These are very difficult times for each and everyone of us, and I sincerely hope that you are all keeping safe and well, and following all the necessary guidelines to help end the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as soon as possible.

 

Click HERE to go to the full update on the Present Situation

 

3rd March 2020

 

Dear all.

 

It has been a while since I last provided an update in my role as Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust so here goes.

 

  1. The following email was sent to Mark Rowan and John Nagle from the English Football league (EFL) on the 19th February 2020.

 

From: Andy Worth [mailto:gmacworth@aol.com]
Sent: 19 February 2020 13:50
To: Mark Rowan <mrowan@efl.com>; John Nagle <JNagle@efl.com>
Subject: A request for a further face to face meeting with the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

Dear Mark & John.

 

I write to you in my role as the Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST).  We are of course aware that Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) has appealed the six points deduction handed out in December 2019 regarding non payment of wages and failure to fulfil a fixture with Crewe Alexandra, and that MTFC have been further charged with misconduct in relation to having the game against Plymouth Argyle on 21st December 2019 postponed as a consequence of having received a ‘zero capacity notice’  by the local Safety Advisory Group.

 

We completely understand the importance of confidentiality whilst appeals / misconduct charges are heard. However, I am sure that you will both recognise and understand the significant angst of our supporters, who are of the understanding that MTFC had no legal representation at the last hearing which would clearly have placed the club at great disadvantage during the proceedings.  Silkmen supporters have received scant information since this time leaving them feeling ‘like mushrooms left in the dark’ and are very concerned not only with regards to our future tenure in the English Football League (EFL) which we are intensely proud of;  but indeed regarding our long term future as a small football club with an illustrious history that has significant prestige within the local community in and around Macclesfield.

 

We recognise that the SST has no ‘locus standi’ and so cannot effectively be directly involved in any hearing, but are most willing to provide any support that we can to help to resolve  these matters both professionally and amicably.  We would be most pleased for my fellow SST board members John Abbott, Robert Wilson & I to discuss issues of concern to us in the same open and professional manner as they were when we last met in December 2019, and I would like to take this opportunity to advise you that we the SST have formally instructed a solicitor to help us to look after our position. The contact details for our nominated solicitor are highlighted below.

 

As a consequence of the email my fellow SST board member Richard Pattrick and I spoke with Mark Rowan (Communications’ Director for the EFL) and Andy  Andrew Pomfret (Supporter Services Manager for the EFL) in a conference call last Monday afternoon. Whilst clearly recognising the parameters of confidentiality the context of our discussion is highlighted below:

 

  • There is NO clear timeframe at this time for when the appeal against the points deduction which will then be followed by the disciplinary proceedings regarding the failure to fulfil the fixture against Plymouth Argyle on 21st December 2019.  All we were told is that they will be held in the next few weeks with no clarification of date / time provided.  We did highlight our concerns that we are effectively 9-10 weeks away from the end of the season but it was made clear  to us that this is not the EFL “procrastinating” but there are issues in relation to the formation of an independent committee which can take some time to set up.

 

  • Mark indicated that he would look to send us the guidance about the rules surrounding disciplinary commissions within the next 24-48 hours. We were advised that this committee would be most likely to have an independent chair with a prosecuting / defence counsel. There was an acknowledgment that precedent during the relevant hearings which would incorporate the plethora of difficult decisions faced. Bolton were cited as a potential precedent

 

  • We were advised by Mark that he is of the understanding that there will be legal representation for the ‘club’ at the forthcoming appeal. We intimated that the SST could help to facilitate representation from several fan friendly solicitors should this be required.

 

  • Mark intimated that he is aware that there has been regular exchanges of dialogue between Amar AlKadhi & EFL .

 

  • Mark is not aware of any progress regarding the pending sale of the football club, but has agreed to find out if there has been any further update with regards to progress on a future change in ownership within the next 24-48 hours.

 

  • Mark could not provide a contemporary update regarding the solidarity fund, but will however look into this and provide feedback as soon as practicable within the parameters of confidentiality .

 

  • Mark is happy for a further face to face meeting (as with Rob Wilson and John Abbott in December 2019) with regards to the more generic concerns affecting the club currently and will send dates of availability. 

 

  • Mark indicated that there has been a review of the governance of the EFL but that this is primarily in relation to board composition and setting up of committees. There has also been a review of the Bury situation which it is believed will help future discussions regarding financial controls / sustainability work around the EFL.

 

  1. The SST have coordinated arrangements for voting for the the Player of the Year award.  A number of voting slips / voting boxes will be situated around the ground from  this Saturday’s game against Salford City and people can vote this way until the end of the game against Stevenage Boro on Monday 17th April 2020. There will aslo be an online vote which can be accessed via the following link which is poty.mtfc@yahoo.co.uk
     
  2. A number of members of the SST board with the assistance of a number of volunteers within the ranks of Silkmen supporters are in the process of arranging a Player of the Year Awards evening in the McIlroy Suite on Saturday 25th April 2020. In spite of tremendous adversity this season, the endeavour and commitment to the Silkmen cause of the playing staff has been phenomenal. As a consequence, it would be brilliant to honour them with a great evening in a packed McIlroy Suite to recognise their fabulous efforts. Further details on this will soon be available on the official website, Wraggs to Riches, and the Star Lane End Facebook site so please keep your eyes peeled for further update
     
  3. The SST are involved in developing plans for a Soccer Sixes competition for children of primary school age from the local area at the Moss Rose, and further details will be available in the near future.
     
  4. The SST are aware of recent media speculation regarding further late payment of wages for February 2020 for the incredible playing and non playing staff of Macclesfield Town Football Club. The SST are deeply empathic to those who are likely to suffer the devastating effects of persistently late payments, and I can provide assurances that the hardship fund (with a latest figure of £14444) will remain in situ for as long as it is needed. For those who feel that they would still like to contribute, please see the following details:
    Reference - Silkmen Hardship Fund
    Bank Account Transfer
    Coop Bank
    Sort Code 08-92-99
    Account number 65202513

     
  5. The SST can only get better with you our fabulous fan base behind us. There are so many ways to support us whether it is through membership, joining the Super Silk Lotto,  Silk Pledge and Easy Fundraising, and for further information please visit our website at www.sstrust.uk

 

#ourtownourclub

 

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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