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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

"Sawted"
Done, arranged, resolved.

 

 

Crest

Next Match

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Fixtures
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Last Match


28 April 2018
Macclesfield Town
Away
Vanarama National League 
Lost 0-2


     On This Day

No fixtures played on 24/5

 

 


COYD

DiggerDagger.com's take on the state of things
by Hardy on 23/02/2018

After a couple of weeks of total turmoil, here is DiggerDagger.com's take on the state of things at Dagenham & Redbrdge FC.

Background

So the Daggers are back in the mire, just a month after the change of ownership finally went through as announced in a club statement dated 4th January 2018. This told fans that the club structure was now changed from a company limited by guarantee to a standard limited company with shareholders, which was required to allow the consortium headed by Glyn Hopkin to buy 74% of the football club.

The new company, Dagenham & Redbridge FC 2017 Ltd, was incorporated in May 2017 as the vehicle to allow the change of structure. It was pointed out on the 29th January 2018 that papers had been filed at Companies House on the 16th January detailing not only the Articles of Association of the new company, but also the resignation of Glyn Hopkin from the board of the company dated the 18th December 2017, pre-dating the incorporation of the articles, although oddly Hopkin has also then signed the articles.

In typical Daggers style, there was nothing from the club addressing the obvious concerns raised by this turn of events for the rest of the week while rumour and speculation raged, then on Friday the 2nd February the club issued a further statement.

This statement followed a meeting of the directors of the football club with the Members Working Party which had followed a meeting between the board and Glyn Hopkin, where Hopkin had made clear that he no longer wanted to be involved with the football club. This is despite him having paid £1m for what was going to be a 57% majority shareholding in the new company.

Hopkin had previously committed to fund the push for promotion back to the Football League to supporters at a fans forum held in August 2017, and been very committed to the cause, including funding a major refurbishment of the club house during the Summer.

It is believed that he has actually pumped in significantly more than he needed to, but now is gone, apparently no longer interested in even seeing through commitments made for the current season.

For the record, DiggerDagger did originally publish an opinion piece on the mess on the 7th February 2018, but was requested to take this down by someone acting on behalf of Glyn Hopkin while events unfolded and did so under protest.

But why?

The club statement says this about Hopkin's reasons for walking away:

"Glynís reason for his resignation was the disunity within the supporters and in particular the vicious campaign over several months to have the MD dismissed. The campaign around the flags which eventually resulted in the fake e-mail being hand delivered to him and the lack of support by the supporters club committee when dealing with this he found very upsetting and not something he wished to continue to be associated with."

We understand that this wording was approved by Glyn Hopkin prior to the issue of the statement.

DiggerDagger.com reported on "Flag-Gate" twice, first in August in an interview with ex-Chairman and consortium member Dave Bennett, and again in October following the ambush of Glyn Hopkin with a forged email by the owners of the flags in question, in association with senior members of the Supporters Club.

Having now spoken to Hopkin ourselves, it would appear that the club statement is accurate, and the flags and anti Thompson campaign is in fact the final reason for Hopkin pulling the plug on his investment. It seems likely that other factors with regard to his business also contributed, however the hassle and aggravation of dealing with at least part of the fanbase, including the Supporters Club, meant that he just did not want to continue pouring his money into football club.

It is known that he personally stepped in and banned the flags from Victoria Road in August 2017, that he actually sat down with the flag owners and the Supporters Club representatives after this and asked them personally to stop displaying the flags, and also that he was very upset by what happened on the 21st October 2017 with the fake email. He certainly ceased attending Daggers games from this date, and has been rarely sighted since.

Predictably, those responsible for the flags, and for the majority of the attacks on Steve Thompson also referenced above, have rubbished this, and pretty much put the entire blame for any issues back on Thompson and the rest of the board once again. On the 8th February the Supporters Club issued a statement which denied any campaign against Steve Thompson, and effectively threw the flag owners under the bus with regard to the continued display of the offending flags and the fake email.

While DiggerDagger accepts that the stated reasons Hopkin has consistently given for the withdrawal are definitely the final reason for his withdrawal, the fact that his business is facing a number of issues, particularly a class action regarding the mis-selling of used fleet vehicles as a result of a ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency against Glyn Hopkin Ltd which was published on the 25th October 2017, almost exactly at the time of all the noise around the fake email, and more recently reports that both turnover and profits are down in the trade press cannot have helped.

Whatever the real reasons are, Hopkin has acted in bad faith by pulling out mid-season and leaving the club lumbered with the results of him being invoved in setting the budget for the 2017/18 season. He has tried to avoid responsibility by insisting that he was not a member of the board that set this budget, which is nonsense and will be documented in the minutes of the meetings. It has also come to light that he sanctioned additional signings beyond this, particularly that of Morgan Ferrier from Borehamwood on a tribunal fee.

The club statement states that Hopkin is now a minority shareholder, and it seems likely that the allocation of shares has been adjusted, most likely at the insistence of Hopkin's lawyers to effectively removing him from the direct firing line should the club go bust.

At the very least Hopkin should now agree to see the season out to the point where a sensible and sustainable budget can be set for next season. We understand that discussions along these lines have taken place foollowing the dramatic cut in the wage bill resulting from the exit of a number of players, ironically including Ferrier who went back to borehamwood for an "undisclosed fee".

How about it Glyn???

In his own words
The following are Glyn Hopkin's own words on this when questioned by DiggerDagger on the reasons for him pulling out.

Judge for yourselves!

"My reasons for leaving are now well documented. There was no other reason.

I tried for 10 months to get everyone pulling together. It just got worse. It went from one flag to four (including a racist flag and a flag aimed at me) and ended up with the Supporters Club arranging a meeting in their office to hand over a fake email to force Steve from the Club.

Brenda told me on the 26th October that there was nothing else I could do, there were too many of them and they would not stop. She also told me she had begged Russell not to get involved with the email. She also told me how sorry she felt for me and how devastated I looked when the email was handed over. The Supporters Club had the email a long time in advance of the meeting and had plenty of time to verify its authenticity.

To date neither Steve or myself have received any sort of apology, publicly or privately from Russell Elmes about the fake email. I also asked the Supporters Club for their official view about the flags. All they agreed to was to not let them on the coach (the flag owners donít even use the coach!) A strong statement from the Supporters Club would I feel have made a difference.

Any relationship I had with the Supporters Club ended after the email proved to be fake.

I tried my best for the Club and have put a lot of time, effort and money into it. I also dealt with and paid for out of my own pocket for all the refurbishment in the Clubhouse.

Unfortunately I could not stop the campaign against Steve. I took advice from many people, showed them the photos of the flags and explained about the email. Every single person said I canít be involved with whatís going on. I have a large business that has my name. How could I be associated in owning a Club that the Supporters insist on flying a racist flag? And whoís Supporters Club want the Managing Director and a partner of the takeover Consortium sacked.

A lot of people might not agree with my decision, but I came to a point when I just had to say enough was enough of what was going on.

So where does this leave the Football Club?

Since relegation the football club has been run on the assumption that it would have investment in order to regain it's Football League status quickly. This resulted in the attempted takeover by Glenn Tamplin in the first half of the 2016/17 season which was eventually scuppered when Glyn Hopkin withdrew from that consortium, only to then step in himself.

The withdrawal of Hopkin now leaves the club in a very difficult financial position, however Steve Thompson indicated on the Game Of Headers & Volleys podcast last week that the club is not carrying any significant debt and is actively seeking outside investment to fill the gap.

This is obviously a gamble though and as predicted by a good number of long term supporters, including the late Ebeneezer (Chris Thurston), having given up its status as a Members Club, the next majority owner could be literally anyone, we have given up the right to choose.

During the previous takeover circus there was another consortium interested of course, led by the Easts and John Goodwin. It may be possible that this interest could be resurrected, however nothing has been heard to date and this seems unlikely now.

Daggers supporters are starting to talk about the usual fan action of bucket collections etc., while there has been considerable support from outside parties, including the offer of a first team friendly with West Ham United in March. There is apparently also considerable interest from potential investors.

Hope springs eternal!

Opinion

No one has covered themselves in glory here.

The existing board have allowed the club to get into a sitution where it is between a rock and a hard place at the moment.

While hindsight offers 20-20 vision, it would have been better to have accepted that relegation out of the Football League meant a period of rebuilding. After all, the club is, historically, and based on the size of it's fanbase, naturally Conference level.

Instead, the push to get back up quickly has led to overstretching ourselves to the point we are today. We have become one of the clubs we used to laugh at, who when relegated to the Conference were going to "piss this tinpot league".

Seeking outside investment to chase this, then budgeting based on believing verbal financial commitments from Tamplin and Hopkin has resulted in both parties exiting at short notice and leaving a growing mess behind them.

This is unforgivable and once this issue is resolved one way or another, the board need to consider their positions.

At the same time, a significant and vocal section of Daggers support, aided and abetted by the Supporters Club, who have previously tried to say that they are "100pct committed to helping the club in any way", have acted terribly and brought this disaster down on the rest of the supporters as a result.

In failing to support the leadership of the club and going after Steve Thompson at every opportunity, they have led to a poisonous atmosphere at times. The Supporters Club chairman Russell Elmes also had his say Game Of Headers & Volleys podcast last week which is worth a listen.

In the original version of this piece, we reached the conclusion that Glyn Hopkin was the biggest villian of this drama.

On exploring the facts further, while we still find Hopkin culpable here, and have had no real explanation for his withdrawal mid season rather than him committing to the budget he had been involved in setting for the season, with all the panic and pain that has caused, it seems clear that a small group of our supporters have equally behaved very poorly.

Hopkin bought in to a club that he had known and supported fiancially for many years, improved the off field infrastructure out of his own pocket, and yet was not supported when making reasonable requests, then was ambushed by people that ought to know better in October. The very act of being approachable was used against him to try serve the agenda against Steve Thompson.

The refusal to listen when asked to back down on two stupid flags, the rejection of a written offer to buy back the Confederate flag from the Club chairman in July, the faking of the infamous email, which some still insist is real to this day, the additional flags added "for a laugh" since which Hopkin took as personal, have all resulted in them killing a potential golden goose at the club.

This is graphic demonstration that football fans can be the biggest dickheads on the planet sometimes.


 

 

 

 

DiggerDagger.com is an independent website and the views expressed are not necessarily those of Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club