The board of the Brakes Trust would like to make the following statement with regard to the recent approach by myfootballclub.co.uk to Leamington FC.
Background info on MyFC can be found here:
And a wiki page on their background:
The Brakes Trust were approached by Jim Scott late last week to seek our feedback on the club having a potential linkup with MyFC. [* See additional statement below also]. We learned that MyFC were to be voting on a future club to be involved-with, and that Leamington FC were in the final two vote-off.
The Trust welcomes this communication from the LFC board and hopes that it will continue. However, at the time the information was very limited and hence the Trust gave a deliberately cautious, noncommital response.
Over the weekend the Trust’s board members discussed this issue at length and also sought external advice. Our decision on Sunday was to prepare a statement for presentation to the Club if the outcome of the MyFC vote was Leamington FC.
Our prepared statement voiced our extreme concerns and recommend careful diligence but it is now no longer relevant given the final outcome and the Club Board’s statement today.
The Trust recognises the very serious concerns raised over the last 24 hours by our members and the wider Brakes fanbase as a whole.
– On behalf of the Brakes Trust board.
Additional statement and responses to questions.
The Brakes Trust board would like to make the following amendments and clarifications to the statement which was published yesterday (09.07.13).
– The Trust statement above says it was first advised late last week when infact it was 2 weeks prior to that.
This is an unfortunate error and we would like to make the following clarifications.
The Trust was first approached informally 2 weeks previously. A discussion between Jim Scott and Adrian Barton involved letting Adrian know about LFC being entered into the MyFC voting process but that talks were based upon sponsorship/social media links etc (benefitting all parties, MyFC members and Brakes fans alike) and excluded any consideration of a board position for MyFC.
The club’s communication with MyFC was not discussed by the full Trust board because at that time no threat was perceived. In hindsight, this was an error given the background history of MyFC. The Trust should have become more genned-up on the situation and communicated caution. That said, the club had (at face value) a sponsorship opportunity, so going public could very easily have derailed that.
Again we must stress that this was a difficult position and with limited information. The approach at the time, rightly or wrongly, was to see how the saga played out.
– The Trust didn’t tell members what it knew soon enough.
The Trust were contacted again by Jim Scott late last week when it was revealed that Leamington FC were in the final two vote-off and that now it had become a very real and pressing issue which needed to be acted upon. This was communicated to the whole Trust board on Friday afternoon/evening. At that time, information was still limited and far from the fuller picture which is now available.
On Saturday the Trust Chairman Adrian Barton together with Nick Rogers and Secretary Nick Hallworth were all booked on Board Member Development training provided by Supporters Direct in Birmingham. It was a coincidence that such an event allowed for professional advice on the situation to be sought. However the SD contact with the most experience of MyFC (and the Ebbsfleet history) was not contactable on the Saturday so a message was left for him to get back to us asap.
On Sunday the whole Trust board spent a lot of time preparing a response to the overall situation yet there was still a lot of uncertainty about what exactly was going on. The intention was to provide a considered and appropriate response, hopefully (at that time) after receiving advice.
Why was an urgent reaction not kicked off after the initial contact?
We can see now from the Slough reports that their deal is purely a sponsorship arrangement, yet the philosophy of MyFC is to have influence at a club. So we still have mixed messages and limited information – and we had even less information back then.
But yes it is conceded that the Trust team should have acted to discuss and learn more about this situation sooner.
The Trust team recognises that mistakes have been made on the handling of this situation and we hope that a full and open clarification like this is welcomed.
We have seen that there have been numerous responses and opinions on this statement across the various social media sites. It is our responsibility to engage with members and your feedback is highly important to us.
The comments section below is open and members are encouraged to air their thoughts. We will endeavour to respond to all points raised where required.
(Note: comments are moderated so may not appear immediately. Please allow a little time for comment responses, if necessary).