Chester City FC: Danish consortium release Q&A

The Danish consortium bidding to start a football club in Chester have released a Q&A. Here it is in full

Official statement from Fodboldselskabet A/S:

There have been a lot of debates online and in local media in the recent weeks. A lot of rumours, questions and misunderstandings have occurred, and it is our hope that we can clear things up with this message.

1) Why do you Danes work so secretively?

Fodboldselskabet A/S has had a completely open attitude towards CFU all through the process.

We invited the CFU to our recent general assembly, but after a weeks dialogue with Mr. Paul Baker, no one turned up in the end. We had transport, interpreters and everything else ready, exactly to demonstrate that we had nothing to hide, but the CFU chose to terminate our dialogue. We have heard nothing since then, despite numerous intents to re-establish talks.

Recently we sent an open letter to the CFU board, but heard nothing further. To ensure that all the involved parties knew that we had done this, we subsequently sent the letter to the press – only to be accused of staging a media stunt. This was not the case, but as the CFU leadership did not inform their members about our intents to establish contact, there was little else we could have done. Our only desire in this regard was to initiate a prosperous collaboration with the CFU, now and in the future.

We have only been hesitating with informing one part, and that is the press. The reason is simple: We have received various threatening mails, aimed at both ourselves and our families, from people who refer to themselves as CFU members. This has happened every time we have appeared in the local media. To protect our families and especially our children from these mails, we have chosen to only communicate directly with the CFU and not through the media.

2) Do the Danes work with Stephen Vaughan and/or his family?

Fodboldselskabet A/S has NO contact to Stephen Vaughan, his son or other family whatsoever.

Neither does Stephen Vaughan play a role in our business plan, be that actively or passively.

3) Is Mr. Gary Metcalf affiliated with Fodboldselskabet A/S?

It is only possible to become a shareholder in Fodboldselskabet A/S if you are a Danish citizen.

Gary Metcalf is not a shareholder, nor is he in any way involved in the company, and he plays no role legally or economically in the reestablishment of a professional football club in Chester. Gary Metcalf has only provided us with some key figures that we have used to develop our budget, as well as he has contributed with some aspects of our plans for the local community. We are of course grateful for this, but we have not compensated Gary Metcalf or any of his companies economically for his efforts.

4) What can Fodboldselskabet A/S offer CFU?

We have economic funds that are incomparable. We would generally like to keep the details of our finances to ourselves, but future partners like for instance the CFU are of course more than welcome to see our books. We are happy to see the CFU raise funds for their activities, and in the Fodboldselskabet A/S articles of association it is made clear that 25% of the surplus generated through our company will be dedicated to fan based activities once we start up in Chester.

Besides this, we can offer local businesses a boost in terms of tourism of which they have so far only been able to dream about. We enjoy massive support in Denmark – not only among our many shareholders, but also in terms of the general population, especially among football fans. We guarantee a boost in sales of everything from servings and restaurant visits to vacancies and shopping, and we look forward to a close partnership with the local businesses of Chester.

In general terms, we can guarantee an enormous cash flow in the city. We have learned that the right to the Deva Stadium could potentially be awarded the CFU as they represent 1,500 members, which could turn the city council’s decision into a local political manoeuvre. We are however confident that our business plan is so detailed and comprehensive that Chester, both as City and football club, will benefit greatly from letting Fodboldselskabet A/S run the football club.

We can furthermore offer professional football in Chester already from the first season, and we have the funds to work towards promotion already within the first year. We want to ensure a high level of attractive football in Chester through a healthy and well-organised club, and we firmly believe that we can offer this to Chester, its fans and the city.

5) What will the Danes do without the local fans?

We understand that CFU currently has 1,500 members, but we have also been informed that the majority are non-active fans, and we therefore feel confident in this regard.

We receive mails on a daily basis from many Chester citizens who have faith in our project, and we have received many positive comments and encouraging statements since it was made known that we are still in play to run the club.

Moreover, it is an important part of our business plan that the CFU form part of the board of directors in the club, thus giving them a possibility of influencing the decisions made in the club. This is an offer we of course hope that the CFU will accept, and we look forward to a positive and constructive collaboration with the CFU in which we put our differences behind us and start over on better terms.

6) What have the Danes been up to in the time the public has heard nothing from them?

First of all, we have had time and peace to carefully elaborate a very detailed and comprehensive business plan. We have established a major community program, as well as we have gathered support from a range of professional Danish football clubs, which in turn means that we will be able to invite a large number of young people from Chester to Denmark every year. This is a partnership we believe many children’s families in Chester will be able to benefit from, and something, which will hopefully mean a lot of positive experiences for all involved.

Besides this, we have been investing. We have reached an agreement about buying all facilities in the old club and we now as such own all inventories at the Deva Stadium – from locker rooms and toilet facilities to furniture, seats, carpets and lights – basically everything apart from the pitch, the walls and the roof. We have done this to ensure that the facilities don’t fall into the hands of the wrong investors, and to secure that the facilities are used in a positive manner in the future running of the club.

We have finally had many and long dialogues with scores of locals – from businessmen and politicians to ordinary citizens and officials, as well as a long list of future sponsors. We have in this way managed to get a very nuanced picture of the whole situation, and the implementation of our business plan will be facilitated greatly because of this.

7) Who is behind Fodboldselskabet A/S?

The company consists of 320 shareholders who have all invested their own money into a community-based company which aims to run the new football club in Chester. The share holders include anything from students to businessmen. The only thing they have in common is a passion for English football.

A professional board of directors has been established, and this board supervise the day-to-day activities of the company. All involved parts throughout the company work on a voluntary basis.

We are in this way a perfectly regular company like all others. A defining difference is, however, that we run the company solely with our hearts and not simply with the aim of generating large profits.

Henning Bickham

Managing Director, Fodboldselskabet A/S