Fans Forum 26th February
In attendance Lawrence Levy[LL], Nick Archer [NA] ,47 attendees including local councilliors Sandy Walkington, Melvyn Teare, Annie Bewster
NA opened the forum saying there is no hidden agenda you can ask what you like.
LL said John McGowan offered his apologies for not attending he could not make this specific date.
he spoke about SA City youth connection via Dave Rae and monies the youth have raised, he thanked Jack Kearney for the petition he had set up and that a lap top was here tonight to sign it for those without internet access.
LL spoke about the amount of money invested in the club as mentioned in the Herts Ad article, he said this is not a sustainable club and that he had the council this lasyt year.
LL mentioned the Oaklands college SAFA Scheme and why the owners had not continued with this when taking over the club.
A question was asked re LL future at the club he has said perviously he is not leaving anytime soon but the Herts Ad article indicated this may not be so? LL outlined the background to his involvement in becoming joint owner and said that I dont know my long term involvement , how much money do you continue to put into the club? he added the club is run legally and no cash in hand payments are made which had happended in the past.LL said I cannot say I am here for the long term but I cannot put another 500k into the club and be bankrupt in 5 years for 500 watching the match each week.If it takes 4 years to build a sustainable club then I may be here but not to continually put money into the club.
A question was raised when LL had said the council are not anti SAC FC given the Herts Ad article do you think they are pro SAC FC?
LL said today Clarence Park will never be the location for the club, he said he would get a copy of the clubs licence to use the ground published and went onto say council are constrained by the covenant dictating use of the park which are very restrictive adding that we are one of the few clubs who have to train on our own pitch.
LL went on to say the council are handcuffed by the covenant, the new licence has only minor changes to it but the restrictions on the use of the ground are too many.
LL said it is easy to lay blame on the council , but the problem at the moment at the moment was that the club are not convincing the council of the need for a new ground.
Question asked , If you LL are telling the council of all the benefits a new ground would bring to the communty why are we not seeing any progress?
LL said the council is a complex organisation, one department may say ok go ahead with new ground but another department will say planing consent etc is required first, he added we have individual support at the council but there are so many rules you have to learn such as the Green Belt constraints .
LL referred to article in todays [Thursday] Herts Ad, Annie Brewster said she had been interviewed in this article. LL said the club need cross party support.
Question asked , what do the council expect us to provide them with to get a new ground?
LL said a "Blue Sky" forum was being set up with the council to look at how to go forward which will include the runing costs of the club .
Question asked , if a new owner came along and said he would buy the club would the current owners expect to get their 500k back as part of that , is the money you have put in a loan that is repayable?
LL said it depended , if the new owner got the new ground as a result of the work LL and John McGowan had put i then he saw it as right they should benefit from it.
Bob Bridle spoke about the importance of having unity amongst fans, some may want to stay at Clarence Park, and that the whole club should be behind any move including the managers and players. he went on to talk about the success of youth football in the district.
A comment was made thaat a new facility would it not encourage more people particularly children to attend?
A question was was asked have we considered having the council having some controlling interest in the club?
LL spoke about how the local council in Stevenage had helped the club, he said at that time money was more plentiful , but that today funding is not ther for that sortof arrangemnet of co-ownership, and how would you make it work?
LL adde if we have a new ground which we own with relevant covenants on it it is ours forever.
LL said he and his co owner had offered considerable amounts of money for suitable sites for the ground , but that other bidders had offered more, he said they are meeting a landowner in 2 weeks about a potential site .
A question wa asked , why cant he council or county council help us identify suitable sites?
LL spoke about the Radlett aerodrome site and a genuine offer they had made for the site but all this was now subject to a juidical review.
Sandy Walkington said he was furious with Herts county council who had aproached the Radlett site with pound signs in their eyes whereas it should be seen as an assett for the whole of the district .
LL then spoke about the Colney Heath site and its non viability.
question asked , what happens to Clarence Park if we move to a new staduim?
LL said it has to be used for sport, suggestion made about 3G pitch.
Question asked , Are SAC FC liable in any way for any costs under our licence if we leave here? LL said no.
After some discussion LL said community involvement and use of a new ground was well and good but there had to be other revenue streams , he went onto talk about other boom 7 bust shemes we have seen at other clubs.
NA said can LL give fans a timeline for when we could be playing in a new stadium?
LL said we ned to convince the council of the need for the new staduim, he added it was important the petition was not backed by the club but seen as being independent.
LL went on to explain the process for planning for the new stadium, he xplained how revenue would be raised from the new site from conferences etc, and that if neede the club would have buses running to the city centre on match days to allow the local economy benefit from this.
A question was aked so what is stopping us?
Melvyn Teare responded saying there is a need to educate the local people of the of the benefits of a local football club and what it can bring to the city, too otten camapign groups wheere set up to oppose local schemes and we need to be ahead of the game certainly on social media.
a suggestion was made that we needed a common sustained approach across all fronts schools, comminuites etc to back the move to a new ground.
A point was raised about the £15 entry price and its impact.
A coment was made about involving the cricket club in the the move as they may wish to us the ground if we vacate
LL spoke about the new Cambridge City ground and its facilites and their aspiration to be a league club.
Annie Brewster then spoke her support as portfolio holder for sport about the move to a new ground.