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 The Poll

Daggers change of ownership: should we...

Stay as we are (Members Club)
Go with the East Consortium
Go with the Tamplin Consortium
Look for another solution


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DAGGERS DICTIONARY

"Garry"
The ability to use the expression "You know" at least fifteen times in any given sentence, you know?

 

 

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Next Match


25 August 2018
3:00pm
Hartlepool United
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FC Halifax Town
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     On This Day


In 2001,The Daggers drew 1-1 with Southport at Home in the Nationwide Conference 


In 2007,The Daggers drew 2-2 with Wycombe Wanderers at Home in the Coca Cola League Two 
Report



In 2009,The Daggers beat Shrewsbury Town 5-0 at Home in the Coca Cola League Two 


In 2012,The Daggers lost 0-2 to Cheltenham Town Away in the NPower League Two 


In 2015,The Daggers lost 1-2 to Exeter City at Home in the Sky Bet League Two 


 

 


Money Trouble?

Daggers in Crisis
by Hardy on 26/07/2016

The Daggers have always prided themselves on being a financially prudent, well run football club, yet seem to be in money trouble. (updated 11th August 2016)

Daggers in crisis

The Daggers have always prided themselves on being a financially prudent, well run football club, with the board being elected from it's members, and run for the benefit of fans and the local community.

Promotion to the Football League in 2007 meant a change in the way the club was set up commercially, from being a pure Members club to becoming a Limited Company, as per Football League rules, but "Limited by Guarantee" meaning it wasn't owned by shareholders and therefore shares could not be sold on.

It is now rumoured by some parties that, with relegation from the Football League at the end of last season, the club is now in a perilous state and needs significant investment to stay afloat. This has been denied by MD Steve Thompson however in a radio interview linked below.

The question remains that if the club is in a state where it does not actually need an injection of cash, why is it even considering selling out now, something that has long been stated is not desireable or even an option under the current structure and ownership?

So what is happening?

At the half yearly Full Members Meeting of the club on 15th June, long time and highly respected board member Gerry Hanning suddenly resigned from the board with little immediate explanation, and soon after it emerged that a local businessman, Glenn Tamplin, had set up a company, Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club (2016) Ltd, with one shareholder, himself.

Gerry Hanning gave an interview to local radio station Phoenix FM on 24th June which you can hear here explaining his position, in which he revealed that one of Mr Tamplin's key conditions of buying the club was use of the ground on Sunday's for his boy's U14 team, and further detailed his position and objections to what was happening at the Daggers.

Further investigation and questions about this development elicited a statement from the club on the 27th June which indicated that in order to compete with the top clubs in the Vanarama National League the club needed outside investment.

The statement indicated that other offers had been made, but that Mr Tamplin's of £250k a year for five years, in return for 80% of the football club, was the preferred one, saying that he viewed the Daggers as his "boyhood club", even though he was totally unknown to fans, and that he had a personal worth of £45m. On the surface this all sounds good, if you believe that the club needs investment.

A little digging into Mr Tamplin's business background though quickly revealed that he has a history of his businesses, which are based on building steel, being taken bust with a number of creditors being left out of pocket, totalling over £2m owed. This despite him splashing a reported £7m on his wedding.

This struck many as similar to the business model of Hornchurch FC's owner Karl Williams (AKA Uncle Urchin) who took them to the edge of promotion to the Conference in 2004 before his dodgy double glazing empire collapsed resulting in them becoming another AFC and starting again in the Essex Senior League.

Both those articles on Hornchurch's mess over 12 years ago cite the Daggers as being in a position never to make the same mistakes. Since Dave Andrews (right) retired in 2013 though, it seems the lessons have been forgotten and we appear to find ourselves in exactly the historic mess of many other clubs, from Hornchurch, through Grays Athletic, to Rushden & Diamonds.

Further investigation also revealed that Mr Tamplin had been previously linked with attempts to buy first Brentwood Town, and then Bishop's Stortford, casting doubt on the sincerity of his interest in his "boyhood club".

Sources at Bishop's Stortford told DiggerDagger.com that Tamplin was very close to purchasing the club for £3m and was stating publically that he was the new club chairman, despite an NDA being in place, and pulled out only at the point that the first installment of £100k was due on the deal.

Other Offers

Once they were aware of the Tamplin bid, a second group has come forward, willing to invest money to keep the club running while sorting out the longer term finances. This group is made up of a of people with long term links to the club, including joint club President’s John & Brian East, current Vice Chairman David Ward, ex-Daggers captain & legend Lee Goodwin (left) and his father and full member John Goodwin.

The board has refused to consider this bid, despite it being a comparable financial offer in year one and leaving members with a 49% stake in the club, with a suspicion that the main reason for this is that a condition from this group is that the current board, including MD Stephen Thompson, would have to invest personally or step down.

Latest Developments

All this is happening despite previous promises that such a sale could never happen with the club in its current format as “Limited by Guarantee”. Given the club’s current ownership, it will take a vote by Full Members of the club to change it's structure to enable it to be sold, but the Board is refusing to put both offers to the Members.

Having called a General Meeting for the 6th July to present Tamplin’s offer, he pulled out at the very last minute, allegedly citing "abuse" from fans, no evidence of which can be found, therefore not allowing Members to speak to him directly, only for a new bid to re-emerge this weekend, with Tamplin supplying the cash, fronted by two anonymous board members, thought to be current chairman Dave Bennett and Chris Smythe.

Lee Goodwin gave an interview to local radio station Time FM, which was broadcast on 23rd July (and can be heard here). In this Goodwin clearly stated that the football club was in severe financial difficulty and could be in a position where it could not pay tax and wages due in the next couple of months without investment. This is very different view to that given officially which was that the club needed investment to compete at the top end of the National League.

Steve Thompson responded to this on the 27th July in an interview with Time FM broadcast on the 30th July and reported here in which he stated that all outstanding tax bills, (up to 21st July 2016), were up to date. This smacks of being carefully worded as a tax bill that is not yet due is not outstanding. The radio interview is here.

In the interview, Steve stressed that the club is not in any trouble for money, but that an investment is needed to have any chance of a return to the Football League. Apparently the fan base now expect this...?

It has now emerged that Glenn Tamplin's company, AGP Steel, has taken over sponsorship of the Family Stand (formerly the Barking College Family Stand) from the start of the 2016/17 season. The deal was believed to be a three year commitment based on the same figure Barking College had previously paid for the priviledge (£12,000 per year), but has now been confirmed in a second letter to Full and Life Members to be £45,000 over three years. This letter invites them to a "friendly informal meeting of Full & Life Members to be held in the Club House on Monday 22nd August at 7.30pm" implying that this meeting will not include a vote on the restructure of the club. If it becomes such, there will be hell to pay!

In the same letter Steve Thompson once again makes mention of the abuse that Mr Tamplin allegedly received online from Daggers fans when his name came out as a potential investor: "Part of our discussions with Glenn centred around the online abuse he, and his family, had received and I was able to persuade him that this was not indicative of the vast majority of our supporters. It was particularly helpful that I was able to tell him that this form of abuse was heavily condemned at the open meeting held on the 6th July."

To date, apart from a few schoolboy variations on his name on the Daggers Forum, no one can provide evidence of any kind of abuse of Mr Tamplin online, nor has any action been taken against fans who undertook this alleged abuse. Quite what was said and by whom is a mystery, although it has been enough to stop the man that wants to buy the football club from actually answering any questions from anyone outside the Board to date.

So it appears to be a mess... or possibly not!

With the club still paying off ex manager Wayne Burnett, who was sacked 6 months in to a new 2 year contract in December, a contract offered by the current board despite his appalling record, it seems like this, plus a reduction in income resulting from being relegated, have left the club in either a total mess financially, or in a reasonable place financially but unlikely to be able to compete at the top end of the Vanarama National League depending on who you believe.

If the club is in trouble, this is despite the club having a decent "windfall" season in 2015/16 with a good FA Cup run, including a TV replay and a third round game at Everton, and the sale for an "undisclosed fee" of youth product Jodie Jones to Coventry City. The club also have a record Football League parachute payment due in October following relegation, believed to be of the order of £260k.

Meanwhile the new football season is underway.


 

 

 

 

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