AFCB – Urgent Attention Needed (Dec 08)
- 12th Dec 08
Firstly we get an Echo story about Alan Pither and his associates making a bid to buy the club from Sport 6, which is categorically denied by the AFCB board, who stated that a meeting alleged to have taken place at the Royal Bath hotel never happened.
Now we have something that is factual – a winding up petition issued against AFC Bournemouth Limited that was originally broken on a fans forum and has now been picked up by the Echo.
Combine this with a visit by bailiffs representing HMR&C, some lacklustre performances and mediocre results and a few other issues and what you have is a crisis situation – but what exactly is the nature of the crisis?
The tone of the Echo and the comments that are flying around forums and message boards would suggest that it is a financial crisis – and that is definitely something that the club could not afford.
Not so, according to Chief Executive Alastair Saverimutto. When we talked with him today, he was absolutely insistent that the club is financially stable. He told us; “I can categorically state that this club is trading within its means, there is no looming disaster.”
We put it to him that if that is true, then he must admit that he has a public relations crisis on his hands.He responded by saying; “Yes I can’t deny that – the stories that have been breaking have created a terrible impression, but they are either completely untrue or are being misrepresented.”
The latest story
He has already gone on record to give his side of the bailiff story, (an administrative error involving a bank account connected with the old company and the administrator, Begbies Traynor) and the Alan Pither takeover story, (absolute denial – no meeting, no offer). He has also told the Vital Football Up the Cherries fans site that this latest story of the winding up petition has little substance and is being contested. But then the Echo ran a new angle, stating that the major part of the debt due, some £30,000 of a total £37,990 was a loan that financed the transfer of Scott Guyett. Now that’s pretty strange, given that Guyett was said to be a free transfer.How do you explain that Savi? He told us;”It shows how crazy it is. It had nothing to do with Guyett and nothing to do with AFC Bournemouth. Sport 6 accepted £25,000 from this company, Magic Solutions in relation to a licence to market a new 3D advertising technology. If we don’t assign the rights to them by the end of February 2009, we have to repay them, that’s the agreement we have made with them. I cannot understand why they are making the statement about Guyett or why they have attached this matter to the club and also acted so prematurely”. The two versions are so much at odds that we had to press further -how could this have been so misinterpreted? He said; “The only thing we can think of is that whilst we were concluding the technology deal, we also had the news come through on the phone that Scott Guyett had changed his mind about signing for Cambridge and was going to sign for us. We remarked that the money from the technology deal would help to pay his wages, but that was meant to be humour, not some sort of complex transfer deal. It is completely bizarre.”
We agreed that it was indeed bizarre – maybe even so much that as the old saying goes, ‘you couldn’t make it up.’ Savi simply responded by telling us to await the outcome of the case.
Trying to put things right
So back to the fact that fans have lost confidence. We told him a few of the things that were being said about Sport 6, most of which we can’t repeat here – and then we put a proposal to him.
We told him that we had been contacted by many people that have been supporters for decades and that many of them had been heavily involved with the club. We said that others have a strong position in the community and have in depth knowledge, expertise and contacts that could assist the club. We suggested that if they were to join forces under a single collective umbrella, they could unquestionably assist the club. Perhaps for a moment, there was resistance. He told us that he had talked to supporters groups and to former executives and stressed once again that the club does not need more ‘experts’ and does not have to go around with a bucket collecting rescue money. More than that, he told us that it was Sport 6 that had saved the club and that there didn’t seem to be anyone else around when the club was in danger of going out of existence. We countered this, telling him that many of the people that were keen to get involved and the fans that would rally behind them had also been responsible for saving and funding the club in the past and that together,they had put in more and had more knowledge than Sport 6 would have even if they were around for the next 10 years.
He acknowledged this – and he acknowledged the need to correct the poor perceptions that have been created by what he is insistent has become an apparent decision by the Echo to take the side of people that wish Sport 6 and thus the club ill.
He has agreed to meet with the proposed collective with the objective of alleviating some of the problems that the club is facing and went further, saying that whilst the board had brought stability to the club at a time of dire circumstances, there was no doubt that the challenges they were facing were very tough and he would appreciate the assistance that the group may provide to overcome those challenges.
From our perspective, this is a small step in the right direction. The proposed collective consists of a broad cross-section and will undertake to focus entirely on ways that the club’s latest rescue can become its long term salvation. If the club has a solid foundation as has been insisted by the current owners, then the group and the fans that they can bring on board can build on that foundation. If anything were amiss, or was threatening to go amiss, then they may also be able to provide the solution to that situation too.
About the collective
As we have said, it has begun to emerge purely from the concerns of a strong cross-section of people that care about the club and have the experience and possible resources to make a significant contribution. They include supporters representatives, businessmen and people that have been actively involved with the club in the past. Some may even have had their differences with each other In the past, but any partisanship, politics or egos will be put aside for the benefit of the club. The idea is to determine the actions needed and help implement them – and to cascade the unified approach all through the supporters base.
Buzz is a coordinator and a facilitator in this regard, The leadership and the effects will come from people with far more knowledge than us, with far greater resources and who have been supporters for far longer. If you are one of those and want to actively participate, then please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Up the Cherries!