Last night’s Meet the Chairman event with Phil Wallace was a well-attended and lively event as always as supporters went back & forth with The Lamex Stadium supremo over a variety of Club issues...
In today’s Part One of the debrief we will focus on the Q&A on the Stevenage FC Equity Offering, and Part Two tomorrow will cover transfers, coaching changes, the North Stand and more...
- Are you relying on the investment that you’re anticipating to buy players?
PW: "Am I relying on the investment? Yes. It will definitely dictate what we do, because we don’t have the funds to go and buy players we really want."
- Will that be in place for this season?
PW: "Yes, why not? It closes on 31st July and the transfer window goes until 2nd of September. There will be players that come out in July and August, usually from Championship clubs, who thought they would be in the plans and haven’t been, and you can pick up some good players at that time of year."
- So the £1.2 million, is that for wages or is it for buying players?
PW: "We have always said that if we get £1.2 million, we would probably split that over two years, because most players want two-year contracts, and then we decide how much of that money each year to put into recruitment and how much into the wage bill.
"We have got a list of players that would we buy for a fee, if we had the funds. Whether we would do that, or whether we can take free transfers on big money we will see. Jamie Devitt is statistically the best midfielder in League Two. He wouldn’t cost a fee, but his wages would be a lot of money. That’s a decision we might make."
- When Norwich got promoted, they did it the same way as this?
PW: "No. Norwich raised money through a bond – the same way we did for the North Stand. No one has ever done this before with shares. So this is a first, really – as was the bond. It’s getting quite a lot of coverage in the press – we are in today’s Guardian, and others, and I have got an interview with Sky Sports interview on Thursday."
- How long do you have the shares for, and can you then sell them in the future?
PW: "So, the shares become yours, they are real shares, they have got all the asset values of any other share. Tifosy have created a platform, like a noticeboard, where a willing buyer and a willing seller can buy and sell their shares. I have had this idea in my head for a few years now to do this, to try and link the value of a football club to its success, so that people can invest in it. But I could never take it any further because there was no way of getting out of the shares. When they (Tifosy) came up with the idea of this platform that changed the game and we went into this offer.
"But the big thing about these shares is that they hae got what are called 'tag along' and 'drag along' rights, which means that when I eventually sell my shares, these shares get 'dragged along' and you get the same price as I get, which would be unheard of for a small minority holding. I can’t tell you to invest because that is up to you, but there’s a lot of things going for these shares that you wouldn’t ordinarily get.
"The thing that gets picked up is that you get a 25% dividend [on promotion to League One] and a 75% dividend [on promotion to the Championship] so you [would] get all your money back. If you apply the logic I said earlier about the valuation of companies, if we achieved our aims and got to the Championship, then our income would be £20-30 million. [The club and] those shares are then worth £40 million upwards, so four times your money back. I think the drag along and tag along rights, you know, make it a really attractive investment."
- Will the value of the shares go up and down, how will they be monitored on a weekly or daily basis?
PW: "I think they will be monitored by people offering them for sale. So if someone is putting some shares on the noticeboard for XYZ price, that becomes the market price, if someone wants to pay it."
- What kind of voting rights will be available for people and how liquid do you think the shares will be in the future?
PW: "They have got the same voting rights as any other share, so they are fully fledged, fully paid-up shares with voting rights. We said that we would consult on what we consider to be key issues for fans, things that will be very emotive, you know like changing the badge, and things like relocation and changing the name to Stevenage Warriors or something, so we would consult on things like that.
"You asked me about liquidity. You shouldn’t be investing money that you might need, because you have got to wait for someone to buy them, or you have got to wait for me to sell and tag along with me. So you should only be investing money that you don’t think you’re going to need."
The Stevenage FC Equity Offering opportunity is now open to the public and can be viewed at www.tifosy.com/stevenagefc. Look out for Part 2 of the Meet the Chairman debrief tomorrow.