Full statements from Adie Britton and Andy Weeks on the future of Bath City FC
Director of football Adie Britton and board member Andy Weeks have issued statements backing Manda Rigby's plan for the future of Bath City.
Rigby insisted in a personal message to City fans a fortnight ago that a move away from the financially-draining Mayday Trust Park was the only way to ensure the survival of a club facing debts of around £700,000.
Her stance was subsequently criticised by the club's largest shareholder - the Bath City Supporters' Society - prompting a response from both Britton and Weeks.
Read both statements in full below:
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ADIE BRITTON’S STATEMENT:
I have read with interest the comments of the chairman and of the Supporters’ Society over the past couple of weeks.
I cast my mind back to 23 March 2011, when the then-board asked me to chair a meeting for all supporters in an effort to engender greater positivity and unity between all groups as well as an increased financial responsibility.
At the time, the club was in a better position on the field than it has been in its in recent history. Off the field, it was clearly in meltdown and , unfortunately I was unsuccessful in both missions.
As a result, the club was in a perilous state. During the summer of 2011, when I temporarily took the role of chairman, there were very few people prepared to take the position and/or contribute financially.
When Manda Rigby joined in August of that year, she inherited a club which had not only made 50 years of losses but had also experienced various crises as a result of short-term solutions which had been applied. I had been advised by senior members of the club that it survived from around 1960 onwards by selling off various assets.
In the ten years immediately leading up to 1996, there had been substantial income from Bristol Rovers’ tenancy of Twerton Park.
Since that date, the vast majority of the clubs losses have been met on an annual basis by directors making substantial gifts and loans and this was continued in Manda's tenure when directors continued to contribute. Both herself and Andy Weeks took on the mantle of major annual contributors, as the newest directors. Without their contribution, I believe the club would be in liquidation but this tactic will only assure the activities of the club can continue for a short period of time. This clearly cannot go on.
It is clear from Manda's statement that she has concluded that the redevelopment of Twerton Park would be only a short-term fix, an opinion with which I concur. It appears that development of part of the site for social housing or student accommodation, or other purposes, may go some partial way towards clearing the club's current debt, but I believe the club will be in the same position in two-to-five years’ time.
I also read the Supporters' Society’s recent statement with interest and I have heard on many occasions in recent years that they wish to make Bath City into a supporters-run club. I wish Steve Bradley well in his new role as chairman of the Supporters’ Society and if he is able to raise the £1m-plus to make the football club sustainable, I am sure he will receive everyone's 100 per cent backing.
It is very clear that the clock is ticking and there is now only a very short period of time available for them to come up with a workable plan.
In the absence of the Supporters’ Society being able to take on the running of the club, I believe that Manda's plan of moving ground is the only way forward.
I have read a great deal of ill-conceived and unfounded comments both in the press and on the internet. I suggest that everyone with the club's best interests at heart looks at the last accounts, made available at the last AGM, and makes their decision based on the true facts.
From some of the details which I have seen to date, I believe that there is only one way forward and I very much hope that the supporters make the right decision because it will determine at what level the football club competes for generations to come.
ANDY WEEKS’ STATEMENT:
As one of the newest members on the board, and someone who has stood on the terraces since the age of three, I am somewhat disappointed by the statement made by the Bath City Supporters’ Society, which does nothing for the image of the club in these difficult times and contains many inaccuracies.
I, like many others, was present at a meeting where all the supporters’ groups were made aware, by Manda, of the various options open to the club when faced with an uncertain future. One of these was for the Bath City Supporters’ Society to explore the possibility of them taking the club over and a deadline was set for their proposals to be handed to the board. I am not aware that any such proposals were forthcoming.
As a result, the present board continued to face ever-increasing costs, expenditure cut to the bone and directors having to personally finance the club through these harsh financial times.
On a personal note, I have heavily invested in both the football club and the refurbishment of the club's bars and facilities. Thankfully, this has vastly increased income and, without this, the club would not and could not have survived. I continue to seek new ventures to take this club forward but it will need every one of us - all supporters’ groups - to pull together in the same direction.
This is certainly not the time for a slanging match and I welcome the appointment of Steve Bradley as the new chairman of the Bath City Supporters’ Society.
For the sake of the club, I look forward to everyone - the board, the Bath City Supporters’ Society, and Bath City Supporters’ Club - working in harmony for the long-term future of this great football club, which is approaching its 125th anniversary.