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A SST Statement

 

11th June 2020

 

Dear all

 

I am sure that the heartfelt words of fans favourite David Fitzpatrick regarding his view that the English Football League (EFL) are ‘trying their best to throw Macclesfield out of the league’ will resonate loudly with many of the Silkmen faithful who have seen precious little evidence of neutrality in the way that our small but intensely proud club have been treated.

 

If the points per game method was used when considering the number of points won on the football field, then the Silkmen would now be on 33.76 points (as opposed to 31.08) meaning that Stevenage would be praying for a six point deduction to relegate us.

 

We of course recognise that the off field management of our beloved club has been nothing short of appalling, and we have been rightly punished for it.

 

However we believe that the ‘test of reasonableness’ needs to be applied, and sincerely hope that this will be utilised by those who sit on the Independent Disciplinary Committee later this week.

 

The mantra of  ‘against all odds’ has become synonymous with Macclesfield Town Football Club, and over the weeks and months to come; this approach will need to be adopted by all associated with our beloved club to ensure that the town of Macclesfield has a football club that is proud to bear it’s name for generations to come.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

 Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

 

A SST Response to Further EFL Charges

 

2nd June 2020

 

Dear all

 

The news of further charges from the English Football League (EFL) has come as another huge hammer blow to our wonderful little club and its small, passionate and long suffering supporters.

 

The behaviour of the EFL is taking on the appearance of a witch hunt, especially given that the charges appear to contradict the advice of their own independent panel. It needs to be remembered that Macclesfield Town Football Club’s (MTFC) last home game was played on 29th February 2020, and that we missed out on the income from three (3) home games in March 2020 as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic; something which would undoubtedly also have a massive financial impact on much bigger clubs than ourselves, let alone a club with our limited resources.

 

Once again it would appear that it is easier to punish the innocent victims in this awful situation; the staff and supporters of MTFC who only two years ago achieved a miracle greater than when Leicester City won the English Premier League in 2016 to return once again as one of the elite 92 clubs in English football.

 

The Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) believe that the EFL’s apparent lack of any robust governance to deal with bad ownership is central to MTFC’s plight with an indication that the EFL are maliciously prosecuting MTFC in order to expel the owner. We believe that such an approach would ultimately have a massive negative impact upon MTFC, and seriously jeopardise its long term future.

 

The SST have consistently highlighted to the EFL our concerns about the mismanagement of MTFC by Mr. AlKadhi and the subsequent profound detrimental impact on the physical and mental health of our fantastic playing and non-playing staff.

 

We believe that there is also evidence of a deliberate campaign by a League Two club with everything to gain by further points charges against MTFC to utilise the ‘old boys network’ within EFL League 2 to heap huge pressure on the EFL which they have clearly bowed down to. 

 

We will of course be contacting the EFL for further clarification, and we would be interested to know exactly what the potential points deduction could be; something which the EFL have mysteriously avoided giving us any information about thus far.

 

Indeed, I am sure that the conspiracy theorists amongst us may well be thinking that it would be enough to ensure that the worst football club in the EFL on the pitch is saved from a thoroughly deserved relegation, whilst arguably the worst football club off the pitch, is plunged into a very uncertain future.   

 

 With regards to several questions posted on social media, I hereby answer with absolute honesty below:

 

  • The SST board had NO awareness that any other charges were pending when we made the 11th hour decision to loan the £10,000 on the 14th May 2020. We were only advised that this was to cover the April wages and hopefully help to prevent further punitive charges. We can only assume that the £10,000 paid to cover April has prevented further charges for late payment.

 

  • In light of the issues surrounding the club over the course of the last few months, the SST board have previously held preliminary discussions about the possibility of a phoenix club in collaboration with other agencies. It was always hoped that this would be a last resort, and that ideally the club would be sold to someone with a genuine interest in seeing the club thrive such as Joe Sealey. The next few weeks will of course provide a much clearer picture of where we will be, but the concept of a phoenix club is one which definitely must be considered as a potential option for the future.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

 

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

 

14th April 2020

 

An Update on the Present Situation

 

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.

 

You will all be mindful of the extensive pre-Covid-19 issues affecting our club and I am sure will now be especially concerned about the well-being of our club and its employees as we face up to the consequences of lockdown.

 

The SST have been in very regular contact with Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) majority shareholder Amar AlKadhi (AA) and accounts manager (Caroline Hall) as well as with the Communications Director of the English Football League (EFL) Mark Rowan and Supporter Services Manager Andy Pomfret.

 

The aim of our correspondence was to clarify and understand what actions they are taking to see us all through this crisis, as we; the SST believe that it is the majority shareholder and the EFL who should be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem, and so effectively hold the future of our club in their hands. 

 

I hope you will find the information below useful, if not particularly reassuring. This is a long read, but at least many of you will have the time to read it at your leisure, so I suggest that you sit down with your favourite tipple (whether it be alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and digest the contents of what is to follow.

 

Below is some of the correspondence in full and with context, and it covers:

 

  • Request by AA for financing of equipment.
  • Health and safety relating to Butch’ Bar (AA).
  • The non-payment of employees in March 2020 (and February 2020).
  • The payment of the English Premier League bonus to well healed creditors rather than cash strapped staff (EFL).
  • Understanding where the £164,000 offered to clubs by the EFL has gone (EFL).
  • The mental health of MTFC employees (AA, EFL).
  • Understanding why MTFC staff were not furloughed as soon as the scheme was opened (AA).

 

Please be assured that the SST Hardship Fund, contributed to by Silkmen and Forest Green Rovers supporters remains available to employees of MTFC and initial requests for support should be made to me at Gmacworth@aol.com.     

 

CORRESPONDENCE WITH AMAR ALKADHI

 

On 13 Mar 2020, at 00:12, Andy Worth <gmacworth@aol.com> wrote:

Dear Amar & Caroline

 

As I am sure you will be aware the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) have consistently provided financial support over a number of years to Macclesfield Town Football Club. Over the course of the past few months the SST have provided financial support in a variety of ways including payment towards a recent safety certificate and training facilities as well as food and recovery sessions for the players. The SST have also provided payment for the laptop for the scoreboard, and most recently purchased a new microphone and CD player for use on matchdays.

 

In the last few weeks, there have been requests for support in helping to pay for repairs to the shutters at the entrance to the McIlroy suite, and earlier this week we received a request from Nicky & Keith Wilson for support in paying for a new deep fat fryer for the Silkmen café.

 

At our last board meeting on Monday 17th February 2020 it was felt that repair to the shutters was not a priority for us to support, and that we need to utilise our fairly limited funds on matters that would have a higher priority towards the benefit of Macclesfield Town Football Club and its supporters. With regards to the request for the request from Nicky & Keith Wilson, may I firstly take the opportunity to convey how much respect and admiration that we the SST board have for Nicky & Keith. They are two lovely and very hard working people, who have helped to develop the Silkmen café into a food outlet with a burgeoning reputation within the local community, as well as engaging proactively in providing invaluable work experience for disabled individuals.

 

As a consequence I emailed my fellow board members with regard to their context of Nicky & Keith’s request. Whilst the SST board were hugely empathic to the request by Nicky & Keith, there was unanimous feedback that we should not support their request at this time.

 

The rationale for this decision relates to the significant angst and disquiet from the SST board regarding the abhorrent action of once again of not paying our fantastic and non playing staff on time, with the associated impact of further financial hardship and  the inevitable negative consequences on the wellbeing of them and their families.

 

We are completely bewildered by such actions which are likely to initiate further punitive sanctions (such as further points reductions and even expulsion from the English Football League) when you are supposed to be actively involved in the sale of Macclesfield Town Football Club which we be most grateful for a contemporary update on.

 

As a consequence I  would like to inform you that the Silkmen Supporters Trust will be supplying NO further financial support to Macclesfield Town Football Club until we have seen evidence that our amazing playing and non playing staff are getting paid on time, and that there is clear evidence that the sale of our beloved club has been ratified.

 

In addition to the above, I would like to advise you that at the last SST board meeting, concerns were expressed that during the game against Exeter City on Saturday 15th February 2020, the stormy conditions and decrepit state of Butch’s Bar caused serious concerns from us with regards to the safety of spectators who were standing in front of Butch’s Bar. We dread to think of the possible implications legally and otherwise should a spectator have been hurt as a consequence, and would be most grateful for an update on plans that the club have in relation to demolishing Butch’s Bar.

 

We look forward to your prompt response.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

As a consequence of our correspondence to Amar & Caroline, whilst we did receive responses from both Amar and Caroline in a timely manner; they did not appear in any way to address the questions posed in our original correspondence to them. As a consequence, a subsequent email was sent to Amar and Caroline which is as follows.

 

From: Andy Worth
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2020 5:30 PM
To: Amar AlKadhi; Accounts

Subject: Response to Amar & Caroline from the SST board

 

Dear Amar & Caroline

 

Firstly, many thanks to you both for responding to the email so promptly, and we will now address your responses accordingly:

 

Amar

 

The Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) board were very disappointed to note that that your response does not in any way address the primary issues raised by us which has resulted in the SST stopping all financial support to the club. This relates to the incomprehensible and appalling treatment of the club’s incredible playing and non-playing staff, and I am sure that you will be cognisant of the fact that the non-payment of their wages will lead to a range of hardships for them and their families, and precipitate stressors which are bound to have a detrimental effect on their mental health and wellbeing.

 

In addition, these actions have triggered the potential for further punitive sanctions by the English Football League (EFL), which is all the more baffling when you were supposedly actively involved in the sale of the club; a sale that we believe could have been completed in December 2019, but now appears to have collapsed.

 

The SST board acknowledge that there were some preliminary discussions around a coordinated approach to a new Butch’s Bar. However, we feel that it is important to note that the health and safety of those within the Moss Rose stadium is the responsibility of the Board and Directors of Macclesfield Town Football Club Ltd which at present is you.

 

It is not the responsibility of the SST to facilitate the dismantling of Butch’s Bar which is in a serious state of disrepair. Indeed, the SST facilitated an inspection of Butch's Bar by a reputable local builder (James Schofield) in August 2019, and a copy of his report was forwarded to the club, and is highlighted below:

 

Following our site meeting at Macclesfield Town Football Club today in order to assess the structural integrity of the clubhouse adjacent to London Road, I’d like to draw your attention to the following issues which, in my opinion, I feel make this building unsuitable for intended use or remedial work.

• Saturated, leaking flat roof, overlayed with temporary polythene DPC membrane, sealing moisture within the fabric of the building. This has, over a period of approximately 25 years, caused considerable damage to the roof, rendering it structurally unsound and, with associated electrics, ie., lighting / sockets – a potential shock / fire risk.

• Exterior walls – comprising of possibly fibreglass / polycarbonate sheeting and therefore a serious fire risk.

• Evidence of mould spores due to the damp environment created by the above resulting in potential respiratory complications.

• Visible signs of rodent infestation within the void beneath the flooring structure giving rise to a food hygiene / environmental health hazard.

• Absence of provision for disabled access.

 In light of the above, I feel this structure would not comply with regulations and guidelines pertaining to a commercial premises.

 In summary, I feel the most cost effective, long term solution to the above points would be complete demolition and reconstruction in accordance with current building regulations.

 Yours sincerely

 

 James Schofield

 

The SST board are happy to speak with Gail Butcher about the SST’s current approach to Butch’s Bar. This approach is aligned with one that we have held for some time, which means the SST offering coordinated financial and practical support in partnership with custodians of the club and other associated experts towards a supporters bar that is truly worthy of the late Richard Butcher. However, we will not commit to this until the future of the club is secure.

 

Caroline

 

Whilst it is acknowledged that you not responsible for the club’s financial position and potential sale of Macclesfield Town Football Club, it is our understanding that you are effectively Amar’s senior representative at the football club on a day to day basis.  Our understanding is that you still hold the office of Accounts Manager at the club and as such you are a signifcant point of contact in relation to matters relating to requests for financial support.

 

Although you indicate that there will be no further response from yourself, we genuinely believe that it would be most helpful if you could provide a resume of your responsibilities at the club.

I look forward to your prompt responses.

Yours Sincerely

 

Andy Worth

 

SST Chairperson

 

There was a subsequent dearth of response from either Amar or Caroline regarding this email, and the next email from the SST was in relation to the further failure of payment of wages for March 2020 to our fantastic playing and non-playing staff.

It is as follows:

 

From: Andy Worth
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2020 10:24 PM
To: Amar AlKadhi
Subject: Several questions for your attention from the Silkmen Supporters Trust Board

 

Dear Amar,

 

I hope that you and your loved ones are keeping well during these very difficult times.

 

We the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) board are aware that the English Football League (EFL) made an announcement on 18th March 2020 highlighting that they would be providing financial support to their members in the wake of the worldwide crisis that has occurred as a consequence of Covid-19. We have subsequently become aware of reports by BBC Radio Manchester dated 3rd April 2020 that the employees of Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) had not received their wages for March 2020, and then there was a small article in today’s Sun on Sunday that you are alleged to have claimed that ‘an outstanding payment of £164000 had not come through’ from the EFL, which was very worrying to read about. We would therefore be most grateful if you could provide some clarity regarding the information that is highlighted above. 

 

We the SST board would also be most grateful if you could enlighten us as to what steps (if any) that you have taken to make use of the opportunity to place MTFC employees on furlough in association with the United Kingdom Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ to support small businesses during the current crisis.

 

We are of the understanding that such an approach would support employers such as MTFC to be paid to cover 80% of those employees who are furloughed (up to £2500 monthly) ‘plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.’ We are also of the understanding that the employer can top up the wages of employees to 100% but that this is optional; and that if the employer does not top up the wages, they are obligated to inform the employees.

 

We look forward to your prompt and detailed response to our questions.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

Amar responded on Monday 6th April 2020 to indicate that he had NOT spoken to any newspapers and that as per the ‘general policy at MTFC’ could only report discussions with the appropriate bodies once they had been completed and that he would do so when there was ‘clarity’ regarding the situation.

 

As a consequence, the following email was sent to Amar:

 

From: Andy Worth
Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2020 5:20 PM
To: Amar AlKadhi
Subject: Response from the Silkmen Supporters Trust

Dear Amar

Whilst the SST board are grateful for your timely response to our email dated 5th April 2020, we did not feel that they effectively addressed our concerns, and are of the opinion that the questions originally sent to you were simply straight forward requests for information. We genuinely cannot understand why they could not have been answered with more depth and clarity.

 

We have recently been approached by a number of the employees at the club who are understandably very concerned about their financial and emotional plight in these exceptional times. We also feel it is apposite to point out that they were already seriously concerned about their futures prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

We are of the understanding that the wages for March 2020 have not been paid to the fantastic employees of Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC), and that they have not had any communication whatsoever from you. We believe that it is your responsibility as their employer and the sole director of MTFC to look after their health and well-being, and you must surely realise that a lack of communication and leadership is not only having a detrimental effect on them and their families, but MTFC as a whole.

 

As a consequence we make this earnest plea to you to provide comprehensive answers to the following questions:

1.   When and how are the employees of MTFC going to be paid for March 2020 and in subsequent months?

 

2.   Have you applied to participate in Her Majesty’s Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ with particular reference to the opportunity for employees to be furloughed during the current crisis? If not, why not, when many other clubs including clubs in the English Premier League are making use of the scheme?

 

We the SST board believe that an advance of the basic award from the English Football League (EFL) would go a long way to support MTFC and its employees during these very difficult times, and with this in mind, can you confirm whether the aforementioned advance of the basic award has been received by the club? If this is not the case, what is your understanding as to why the basic award advance is being withheld by the EFL?

 

4.   Could you please clarify who is currently responsible for the day to day administration of MTFC regarding decision making, managing issues of concern, and completing the paperwork necessary to ensure that the affairs of the club are effectively managed?

 

We look forward to your prompt and comprehensive response to our questions.

Yours Sincerely

 

Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

On Sunday 12th April 2020, Amar responded to the email above advising me that I had ignored his previous email and that he would not share any details with me before having shared them with the employees of MTFC. Whilst we; the SST board understand the need for caution when negotiating, Amar has provided no evidence that things are progressing in a timely manner, and that his employees are in receipt of contemporaneous information that could help to allay their angst. Amar’s further comments that we the SST as shareholders in the limited company of MTFC ‘carries the same legal & moral responsibility as me’ is an incredulous response when considering that other shareholders including ourselves; have had absolutely NO say whatsoever in any recent decisions / actions regarding MTFC. 

 

I will of course keep you updated regarding any further dialogue with Amar.

 

CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE ENGLISH FOOTBALL LEAGUE (EFL)

 

With regards to our questions from the SST to the EFL, we had originally requested face to face meeting with Mark Rowan and Andy Pomfret and they responsibly suggested that we send them some questions and the questions (in view of the current pandemic) and these are highlighted below:

 

From: ANdy Worth
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2020 7:36 PM
To: Mark Rowan at EFL.Andy Pomfret
Subject:

 

Dear Mark & Andy,

 

May I firstly say that the Silkmen Supporters Trust (SST) board were delighted to note that the English Football League (EFL) have demonstrated a financial commitment to supporting the 72 clubs that form a part of the EFL framework, and sincerely hope that this approach will hopefully help to safeguard payment of wages of correctly and on time of playing and non playing staff of ALL the clubs during these difficult and uncertain times.

 

With regards to Macclesfield Town Football Club (MTFC) I know that you will be aware that there have been persistent issues over the last year with regards to our dedicated and fabulous playing and non-playing staff suffering the damaging effects to the health and wellbeing of both themselves and their families of late payment of wages. This was most recently seen when February wages were not paid on time, and we still remain unclear as to whether the staff have been paid in full as we move rapidly into the final week of March 2020.

 

We the SST board believe that this behaviour towards the fantastic employees of Macclesfield Town Football Club is utterly appalling and reprehensible, and we are also very aggrieved with regards to other aspects of the mismanagement of our beloved club including marked deterioration of the fabric safety of the ground and the potential implications upon all those who make use of the Moss Rose stadium; persistent winding up orders with the HMRC, lack of engagement with our small but passionate fanbase, and what appears to be the presentation of persistent and unnecessary obstacles placed in the way of a potential vendor who had publicly demonstrated commitment to the development of a well run community focused football club that had captured the hearts and imagination of Silkmen fans everywhere.

 

You will of course be aware that the factors highlighted have caused significant angst and disquiet amongst the Silkmen faithful and that we liaised with the Premier League to request that the solidarity money due in January 2020 (which we believe to be in the region of £225,000) be safeguarded towards the well-being of Macclesfield Town Football Club and it’s fabulous staff. We were subsequently advised that the EFL took on the responsibility for effectively managing the aforementioned solidarity money from the Premier League on behalf of Macclesfield Town Football Club; a strategy that we sincerely hoped would ensure that the employees of MTFC would get paid on time for at least three months.

 

We completely understand the challenges faced by the EFL as a consequence of the devastating impact of Covid-19 and the impact that this has had on the opportunity for face to face meetings with you,  and we are of course grateful that you have allowed the opportunity to ask a number of questions which are as follows

 

·   What level of contact does the EFL have with Mr AlKhadi currently? 

·   Has Mr AlKadhi advised the EFL of the current situation regarding the sale of the football club as we are of the understanding that the potential buyer Joe Sealey, has pulled out of the deal due to obstacles placed in his path whenever he attempted to get to ‘open the books’ to undertake due diligence due diligence?

·   Has Mr AlKhadi provided any pertinent information regarding the latest winding up hearing which is due to take place on the 25th March 2020?

·   It is our belief that Mr AlKadhi’s actions are not in the best interests of the company, club, creditors, players, fans and the EFL, and that he is NOT a fit and proper person today to be the custodian of our club. Why then does the EFL appear unwilling /unable to deal with Mr. AlKadhi’s behaviour which would be totally unacceptable in reputable organisations and surely contravene Her Majesty’s Government’s guidance on board / director responsibilities?

·   We have been advised by you that the solidarity payment has now all gone to pay for football related creditors. Can you please advise as to which football creditors benefitted, and the processes involved in how decisions were made about which football creditors were to be paid? This question we believe is very important when considering that we believe that when considering Mr AlKadhi’s track record for payment of staff; priority should have been given to them which does not appear to have been the case. As a consequence, staff were once again exposed to the stressors to their financial, physical emotional and mental health; the last one particularly relevant when considering the relationship between the EFL and mental health charity MIND. There is also the matter of the club having been served with a further disciplinary charge for late payment of wages for February 2020.

·   Can the EFL provide assurances that the monies promised to Macclesfield Town Football to support them with the fiscal challenges associated with the Covid-19 virus will be used directly to pay staff wages for employees of Macclesfield Town Football Club? Our concern is that these monies could simply be redirected to other sources causing further hardship for our wonderful playing and non playing staff.

·   We are of the understanding that ALL clubs should maintain their financial records in accordance with the provisions of The Football Association Rules and that the EFL may arrange for an inspection of all such books. If there are concerns raised by key stakeholders regarding the accounts of Macclesfield Town Football Club, is it possible for the EFL to facilitate an inspection of the club’s accounts at short notice?

·   Are there plans for future checks on the continuing suitability of the owners of football clubs, and scrutiny of their financial affairs in the same rigorous way as we understand the National League do?

·   Is there a timeframe for the dates and outcomes for the outstanding disciplinary hearings relating to Macclesfield Town Football Club?

 

We look forward to your prompt and comprehensive responses to our questions.

 

 Yours Sincerely

 

 Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

On Thursday April 2nd 2020, Mark Rowan responded to our email where he acknowledged that majority shareholder Amar AlKadhi was in contact with them regarding ‘the challenges at the club’ and that there were currently NO discussions regarding a future change of ownership. With regards to the further questions within the email, the responses were considered to be rather vague and subsequently elicited a further email from us which is as follows:

 

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

 

I can advise you that Mark has responded in a timely manner indicating that he will be responding in due course, and I will of course provide you with the context of what he says over the course of the next few days.

 

#OURTOWNOURCLUB

 

Andy Worth

 

Chairperson of the Silkmen Supporters Trust

 

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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