It is no secret that for over six years, the Club have been trying to redevelop the North Stand, but have had numerous obstacles put in the way.
Now, in a move which allows fans and local people to demonstrate their support for their Club and pride in their town, the Club will be inviting all those interested to make an investment and ensure the project happens in time for the 2018/19 season.
The Club have secured a grant of £450,000 from the Football Foundation towards the redevelopment of the North Stand, and had plans for raising the balance of the funding but for various reasons this hasn’t materialised.
Now Chairman Phil Wallace is creating the opportunity for supporters to stand together alongside the Club and help raise an additional £500,000 to finally make it happen. The development will replace the old north stand terrace with a 1,600 modern all-seater stand to signify Boro's transition from former non-league outfit to ambitious, forward-thinking EFL club.
Phil Wallace said, “I want to do this together with the fans and the community, standing shoulder to shoulder for Stevenage. Stevenage is a community club and it’s important we keep it that way; that’s why we’re offering fans and the local community the chance to invest in the Club, to help us grow but also get a benefit from their investment.
"Doing it this way means there is a financial benefit to the people who invest as well as there being emotional reasons to support the Club they love. And in addition, fans will be able to enjoy the new stand with great facilities for all."
The investment itself will be in the form of a 5 year mini-bond, similar to those used already by rugby and cricket clubs to raise the funds needed to finance infrastructure and club development. This is effectively a loan from fans and investors to Stevenage FC, at rates that are good for both the Club and investors. Fans can put their money in, be paid interest every year over the term of the bond at a rate of 4% p.a., and get their money back at the end.
There is an alternative option to increase the interest payable to 8% p.a. if the interest is taken in the form of a club credit which can be used at the club shop, on food & drink in the Broadhall Suite, on club hospitality packages and more.
Wallace added, “We are inviting fans to invest in Stevenage. It is very simple, very clear and very transparent. We expect that a lot of people will be willing to invest in the Club’s future and there will be exciting benefits for those who do.
This is a fantastic opportunity to support the Club at a key moment in our history; we want to continue our growth and development and we need everyone to stand shoulder to shoulder to help us move forward."
- Why do we need to build the North Stand?
The North Stand project will bring many benefits to Stevenage FC, from both the playing and commercial points of view. Here are the key ones:
The new stand will provide much-improved accommodation for home fans behind the goal, to match what away supporters have in the South Stand. Specifically, there will be much-needed improved provision for disabled supporters.
The stand will finally complete our transition from Conference side to EFL club in the eyes of potential sponsors and commercial partners, helping us to increase revenues through these important sources.
Likewise, an upgraded, attractive stadium is a signal of our ambition and will help us to attract better players to the club, just as our outstanding academy and training facilities play that role today.
Following the completion of Phase 1, the club will be in a position to develop the commercial opportunities presented by the space behind the stand.
- What exactly will be built with the funds if they are raised?
The first phase of the North Stand project will comprise supporter seating (1,600 seats), stairs, concourses, entrance ways and all necessary safety features. It will also include toilet facilities and some food & drink provision. The approximate cost to complete these works is £950,000. Of this money, £450,000 has been secured already in the form of a grant from the Football Foundation. The intention is to raise the remaining £500,000 through the Stevenage FC Bond issuance.
- What is a mini bond?
A mini-bond is an innovative and effective way for UK privately owned companies to raise funds from a non-institutional audience (e.g. general public). Mini-bonds are typically issued at a fixed interest rate over a set period of time (e.g. 5 years). The investor is repaid through interest payments at regular intervals, until the maturity of the bond at which point the initial investment (principal) is repaid.
- How many Stevenage FC bonds can one individual apply for?
The minimum amount of Stevenage FC Bonds for which you can apply is £500. You can apply for a maximum amount of £25,000.
- What if I can't pay £500, but still want to be involved in the project?
The minimum investment amount for a bond to be cost-effective is £500. Sums below £500 can be donated to the Club directly. If donating under £500, donors will not receive a Stevenage FC Bond or any interest return, but if giving £175 or more, the donor's name will be included in the Founders Plaque on the North Stand.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive instructions on how to make a donation by bank transfer or cheque.
- How much is being raised?
The target is to raise £500,000 by the issue of the Stevenage FC Bond. In order to satisfy demand up to £600,000 of Stevenage FC Bonds in total may be issued.
- What happens if we don't reach the £500,000 target?
Should the campaign raise more than the minimum threshold of £300,000 but not hit the target, the Club will need to look into further funding options but has nevertheless undertaken to continue with the construction of Phase 1 of the North Stand.
- What do I need to do before deciding whether to invest?
You should read the documentation in full, including the Invitation Document available on the Tifosy website, and make sure you fully understand the risks involved.
- Who are Tifosy?
Tifosy is a Sports Fanfunding platform, set up to enable sports fans and investors to invest in their favourite clubs’ future. Since being founded in 2014, Tifosy have raised more than £1million for European sports clubs. In 2016, Tifosy were authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to promote investment campaigns (such as the Stevenage FC Mini-bond) to ordinary investors, on behalf of clubs.
- What it I want to find out more?
Alonside the live chat, email support service and supporting documents that can be accessed on the campaign page, the Club are holding two live Q&A sessions with Chairman Phil Wallace on Monday 24th July and Wednesday 2nd August for anyone who wishes to find out more. More details to follow shortly.
- How do I invest?
The investment process couldn't be easier and it takes less than 5 minutes from signing up to becoming an investor. Simply visit the campaign page & click learn more to follow the steps.
For all press & media enquiries, please contact Dan Branowsky.