07 Mar 2014 - VSC Questions to David Blunt
As members of the Trust will know, the VSC asked a number of questions on your behalf to the various parties during the period of the recent takeover talks. David Blunt was kind enough to respond to those questions on behalf of the club, and the VSC felt this was important information to share with the membership. A lot of this information complements and validates the information provided to supporters at the Meet the Owners event last month
1) Who are Patienceform?
Patienceform is the limited company which trades as Doncaster Rovers FC. It is the legal entity which was set up in 1999 to enable John Ryan's acquisition of the club.
2) Who do you represent, including groups and individuals that are providing funds?
There are 18 shareholders of Patienceform Ltd in total of which the principal, and funding, shareholders are Terry Bramall, Dick Watson, John Ryan and David Blunt.
Previously, Terry, Dick and John invested equally to meet the funding requirements of the business. In recent times the onus has fallen on Terry and Dick who have provided 80% of the company's funding needs in the last 12 months.
3) What is the detailed business plan, both long and short term?
The business plan is to make Doncaster Rovers a sustainable business that is not reliant on external investment to survive, as it has been over the past decade. In the short term this includes the continued improvement of stadium and football operations with any profits from stadium activities being reinvested into the football side of the business.
Long term ambitions are to enhance existing revenue streams across the business, develop new revenue streams and ensure that the squad budget available will be competitive, regardless of division. Club Doncaster and Championship football are both key requirements to this business plan.
Under this business plan any external funding will be optional and invested to meet clearly defined objectives.
4) What commitment are you making to the playing budget, both short and long term?
The business plan dictates that the squad budget will be competitive and well managed. This will ensure that the club is never overcommitted and therefore at risk as well as providing flexibility where necessary.
5) How long will you continue to invest in DRFC?
We have invested into Doncaster Rovers for the last 7 years and have no exit plans in the immediate future. Furthermore we are actively developing succession plans to support the long term development of the club.
6) What ambition do you have for DRFC and does that include or require Premier League football?
Premier League football will always remain a long term ambition, as it does with any football club however our main focus is to ensure that Doncaster has a football club for the long term.
Premier League football is not a key requirement and we are realistic in acknowledging that there are bigger clubs than Doncaster Rovers that have thrown everything at Premier League football with dire consequences and we would not wish to place this club at risk.
The Football League financial fair play regulations will also make this objective very difficult given the spending capacities of other clubs in the Championship.
7) What guarantees will you provide that DRFC will not be saddled with debts if the business plan fails or the business is re-sold?
In recent years the club has become very stable, eliminating the overdraft facility and other financing to be in a position where only the owners of the business are significant creditors.
The business plan will ensure that all risks are managed and will never have long term consequences.
8) How dependent is the plan on securing other revenues, either PL revenue or other off field revenues?
Our plan is dependent on continued improvement across the business which we have developed a proven track record of in recent times. We are working hard to ensure that progress is made in every area of our operations.
9) Is land adjacent to the Keepmoat Stadium site a factor in any future plans?
Having been born, raised or spent the majority of our lives living and working in Doncaster our motivation for investing in Doncaster Rovers was to ensure that the community of Doncaster would have a football club at its heart for the long term.
10) Is Patienceform Ltd to remain the trading arm of DRFC or is the plan to set up subsidiary companies? If so, will precautionary measures be implemented to ensure the 'golden share' is protected should the subsidiary company/s enter financial difficulties?
Yes, Patienceform Ltd will remain as the trading company in respect of football operations and retain the Football League membership 'share'. Should any subsidiary companies be created to produce an effective corporate structure we will ensure that Doncaster Rovers is protected.
11) How committed will you be to fan engagement and the current IRWT campaign.
We remain very committed to fan engagement. No better example of this can be seen through our Meet the Owner events, which are held twice a year.
12) DRFC is central to this community, what plans do you have that would improve and enhance this?
The clubs mission statement is to be an "ambitious and successful club of which the community is proud". Our business plan has key elements which ensure the community of Doncaster benefits from the football club, whether that be economically, socially or culturally. We fully believe in the club's Community and Education Foundation and have invested money directly into it to assist with project delivery around the community.
13) How important are the youth teams and academy at DRFC, and would you provide ring-fenced funding to grow this set-up?
The entire youth system is of huge importance to us and we allocate funding through schemes such as the Rovers Alliance. We will spend well over £300,000 per year to operate our youth department and ensure that every child in Doncaster has the opportunity to play for their hometown club.
During the past two years we have ensured as part of the business plan that five youth team players are awarded professional contracts and the opportunity to develop into first team squad members. We continue to believe in this plan and feel it is vital for a club of our stature.
14) Do you believe in supporter involvement in club ownership along the lines of the German Bundesliga?
It is important that supporters feel they hold a significant stake within their club, whether the best method of doing that is through the German Budesliga model or through fan engagement and having a healthy relationship with key personnel in the club is up for debate. However we feel the IRWT programme has been of significant benefit to all parties, since it was introduced.
15) How are future capital injections to be financed and would DRFC inherit loans with significant interest rates?
All funding into the club will be made by way of an equity share issue to ensure that there is no liability on the club.
16) To comply with Football League rules who would be listed as the shareholders and board of directors at DRFC?
The current major shareholders are Terry Bramall, Dick Watson, John Ryan and David Blunt.
The directors are currently Terry Bramall and Gavin Baldwin.
17) How do you plan to operate under the spirit of FFP and provide a sustainable football club?
As before, our aim is to develop revenue streams that can be invested directly into the football club or indirectly through the stadium which, in time, will remove the need for external funding. That's not to say that external funding will be withdrawn completely, but if there is no longer a need, then DRFC has a certain future.
17 Feb 2014 - Donate Your Voucher M to Charity
Voucher M in your Season Ticket book can be exchanged for 5 tickets to any game of your choice (excluding the local derby matches). Last season the VSC had great success putting your unwanted and donated vouchers to good use and we gave away over 100 tickets to local charities, community groups and youth football clubs including Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice, Stainforth4All Community Group, Barnby Dun Rangers FC, Thorne Colliery Juniors FC and Sprotbrough Crusaders FC.
If you have a spare Voucher M that you know you will not use, please think about donating it to the VSC so we can carry on this initiative. We will be arranging a voucher collection at at upcoming game.
Also, if you have any nominations for worthwhile causes who may benefit from some free tickets to the Rovers, please let us know. We are always looking for other deserving people to offer these tickets to.
Co-operative Energy is set to harness the power of sports fans with the announcement of a major new sponsorship agreement with Supporters Direct.
Co-operative Energy is to become the Official Energy Partner to Supporters Direct in a two year deal lasting until 2016, with fans set to benefit from simplified, competitive tariffs and Supporters Trusts given access to a profit sharing agreement which will see funds pumped back into Supporter Initiatives.
The VSC are delighted that Billy Sharp has returned on loan until the end of the season and following on from this fantastic news, we have pledged to donate £50 to the LJS Foundation for every goal that Billy scores between now and the end of the season.
We have set up a Justgiving page: www.justgiving.co.uk/Goals4Luey
VSC members and Viking Chat members can donate directly to LJS Foundation either as a general donation or pledging an amount per goal that Billy scores. No amount is too big or too small.
Click here if you would like to pledge an amount. You can then donate either after every goal, or at the end of the season when his tally is known.
You can also donation via text message by texting LJSV50 £5 to 70070. The £5 can be substituted for the amount you wish to donate.
If you cannot make a payment via Justgiving we will also be offering a Paypal option or cash/bank transfer - although remember that for all donations made via Justgiving, the charity will be directly able to reclaim gift aid on your behalf.
Lets all pull together and raise vital funds for the LJS Foundation as Billy fires us up the league!
21 Jan 2014 - Meet the Owners Night on 27th January
Remember if you have questions for the Owners or CEO of Doncaster Rovers and want to attend the meet the owners event, it is a ticket only event. There's still a few left but you need to be quick - tickets for the event are available at the Keepmoat Stadium Ticket office or on 01302 762576.