EGM - Helping us with the challenge ahead!
The following statement has been delivered by the Executive Board.
It has now been nearly 4 months since we last played at home and the not only has the lockdown prevented us finishing the season on the pitch it has also had a significant impact on the club’s finances. The decision to conclude the season on a points-per-game basis deservedly confirmed us as champions and promoted us to the National League. Whilst we still intend to properly recognise this incredible achievement when restrictions allow, the focus must continue on being ready for the next level of football which will be another huge challenge for this club to tackle. Of course, we have faced many challenges since turning semi-professional nearly 50 years ago, some of which threatened the very survival of the club, so this is a positive challenge compared to many. It is fairly safe to say, we likely enter the National League with the least developed stadium and almost certainly the smallest budget by some distance. It is also fair to say that we go into the top flight of non-league football for the first time in 32 years with a real sense of optimism and belief, but we need your help. We need to compensate for our current lack of resources by harnessing the special Wealdstone spirit and being the hardest working club in the division. We continue to undertake ground improvements and if you can support this work either physically or financially please get in touch. The window to improve our ground and the facilities we all enjoy is now and we all want a home to be proud of. We need to raise money, lots of it, both to pay for these groundwork's and to try and provide Dean and Stuart with the tools they need to compete at this level. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed last season where fans contributed a significant sum to support the budget which played a major part in our success. Schemes like this has a huge impact on the finances and moral of the club and the squad. Dean, and Stuart have done some excellent business to date however we’d still like to strengthen further without entering into deals that the club can’t afford. We are looking to launch a similar scheme in the coming weeks and will update you when this is in place. Beyond this, we need to have a big year of fundraising and drive the recovery of the social club after lockdown. The social club will open when it can however the majority of our revenue comes from football and live music which are both some time away from returning at the pre-lockdown levels. The social club was having a tougher year before lockdown and it’s very difficult to predict the impact of social distancing and the economy in the year ahead. We’ll publicise when the club is open so please come down, have a drink and see what’s been going on at your club. Please also support the social club on match days and functions and if you know anyone looking for a venue, check out whether we can help. The Supporters Club have a couple of excellent new committee members however if you’re interested in helping out then get in touch with Mark Randall or one of the committee. We have some fantastic commercial partners and we thank them for their support. As we now move into a level of football with live coverage and regular highlights packages we need to attract more sponsors and partners to help us continue to grow and provide them with the right experience and exposure for their companies. We are excited about the launch of our new academy this season and are looking to run a second age group team for under-18's or under-23's as we grow the clubs footprint. We have recently converted the Wealdstone Foundation Trust into a registered charity and hope to continue to grow our community programme this year. With the challenges resulting from COVID-19, this is a chance to further demonstrate the benefits we can bring to the local community. We regularly receive suggestions and ideas from supporters which are always welcome however as well as ideas, we need people willing to step up and help deliver activities. We have a small board of directors and we’ve seen the benefit of having a well led group with clear roles. While we’re always open to new appointments we need to be clear what an individual will bring and how we will work together. As you may have seen, we are holding a socially distanced Extraordinary General Meeting at 7pm on Sunday 16th August, followed by a supporters meeting immediately afterwards. At this meeting we will update you on our plans and understand where supporters can help us with the exciting challenge ahead. The EGM contains a resolution to increase the clubs share capital and the passing of this resolution is critical to enable the club to fund itself next season and beyond. The selling of shares to supporters to fund the club has been in place broadly since the formation of Wealdstone FC (2000) Limited and was introduced when the club needed to raise funds to survive and in many ways we became a fans owned club. As we move into the National League and seek to recover from the impact of COVID-19 on our finances, we will be required to issue further shares to ensure the club remains solvent or risk breaching the National League’s financial rules. The alternative would be for club to fund itself with loans, which not only has challenges with the National League rules, but the existence of the club would be put at risk by any demand for repayment of these loans which would render the club insolvent. Additionally, should we be fortunate enough to attract new investment now we are playing at a higher level, we will need capacity to issue shares in return for this investment. We have been made aware by a large shareholder who indicates they may attempt to block this resolution, which would be extremely damaging to the club and make new investment very difficult to secure. Without the ability to raise further funds, it would be almost impossible to continue to operate at this level or any senior level of non-league football. Whilst we hope no-one would attempt to cause damage to the club having returned to the top tier of non-league football after 32 years, the Board would encourage all shareholders to support the resolutions and if you have any questions in advance please contact a board member. We look forward to updating you on the 16th August at the EGM.