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Jun
12

New 500 Club Launched

Working with the Football Club, we have just launched the 500 Club for a third time, giving fans the opportunity to contribute to the playing budget for the year ahead.

Membership to the 500 Club begins at the £20 per month rate or a one-off contribution of £240.

To make the single payment option or choose the monthly option go to this link https://www.wycombewanderers.co.uk/news/2019/june/one-off-payments-to-500-club-now-available/

If you want to donate any other sum, then please call the club office 01494 472100 where they can take a card payment from you over the phone – during their office hours of 10am-5pm Monday to Friday.

This initiative has been driven by the Trust, but with the support of all the various fan groups.

Full details can be found here: https://www.wycombewanderers.co.uk/news/2019/june/500-club-returns/

As rewards, we invited fans to the Fixture Release Day breakfast on Thursday June 20th, will be creating a changing room plaque in their name, and will issue regular ‘spot’ prizes whenever we hit a certain milestone.

If there are any technical problems regarding payments, please could fans email Nigel Kingston at nigel@wycombewandererstrust.com.

May
4

Trust Matters: Chairman’s Programme Notes – 4th May

As the season draws to a close, I thought it the perfect time to reflect on the achievements of the season. If we do survive in League 1 and barring an unprecedented set of results, we will, it will be a better achievement than gaining promotion from League 2.

Perhaps the feeling of euphoria may not be as intense as promotion, but Gareth and his management team can be hugely proud of what they have achieved, and the players will take a fully deserved round of applause on their lap of honour at the end of the game. League 1 security for next season also completes the 5 year plan, originally set up by Andrew Howard when he was Chairman. A number of people scoffed at the idea of such a plan, but today’s events will hopefully see a successful completion.

So what of the next 5 years? It has been no secret that to be competitive in the Football League, we need external investment to give us a platform to stabilise the Club financially, and start on a new 5 year journey. We thought we had found the right partners in Jim Collis and Bill Luby, but that was not to be, and therefore we continue our search to find the right partners. We have talks taking place with a number of interested parties, and as soon as there is tangible news, I will call a meeting of Trust members, to update them on our plans.

Although we have significant financial pressures, we will not be rushed into a decision that partners us with someone who does not understand the values and history of our Club.

At the end of the season, it is appropriate to thank a number of people who help the Club in so many ways. Our loyal band of volunteers, who help with maintenance, run the car parks, sell programmes or sit on the Football Club or Trust Board. We are all volunteers, and just want what is best for our Football Club. I would also like to thank all of our Commercial Partners who sponsor us, be it on playing kit, stands, advertising boards or on a matchday. We believe we offer sponsors, excellent value for money, but will always strive to improve how we can ensure their money is well spent. The fact that so many have already signed up for next season, suggests that we do.

I would also like to thank the off-field team, which is a small but very effective full time team. Interestingly after the game with Wimbledon, the number of people cutting the grass ( Kingsmeadow is owned by Chelsea), was almost equivalent in number to 50% of our off-field team! On matchdays this number swells to over a hundred, and I really appreciate how hard they all work. Although we may not get everything right, there is an ethos of continuous improvement, designed to enhance the matchday experience.

So what does the future hold? The answer is I’m not sure at the moment. What I do know, is that no stone will be left unturned to establish a stable future for this Football Club, and to give Gareth the resources, to really show what can be achieved. I wish you all a pleasant summer, and will issue updates as and when necessary, to keep you appraised of significant developments.

Trevor Stroud

Apr
11

Investment Update – 11th April

The following message has gone out by email to all Trust Members today.

(Please check your spam and junk mail folders if it’s not in your inbox. If not received at all, then please email secretary@wycombewandererstrust.com to ensure we have your correct email address)

Wycombe Wanderers Trust have ended their discussions with Bill Luby and Jim Collis regarding potential investment into the football club.

A meeting was scheduled to take place on Wednesday evening (10th April) whereby the American businessmen were due to present their offer to Legacy Members of the Trust, leading to a vote to determine their suitability as majority shareholders.

The Trust received notification over the weekend that Mr Luby and Mr Collis wished to postpone their visit, and – during further discussions between the two parties earlier this week – the offer of investment has now been withdrawn.

Wycombe Wanderers Trust chairman Trevor Stroud said: “This news has come out of the blue for us, but we respect the position of Bill and Jim and appreciate their honesty and above all, their desire to see the best possible outcome for the club. We felt for a long time that they would have been excellent custodians of the football club, and it’s a shame that we were unable to reach a point where Legacy Members of the Trust would have the opportunity to vote on the matter.

We were excited about the journey that potentially lay in front of us and enjoyed developing a plan which would have laid the foundations for long-term stability and success for the club. However, they now feel that they may not be able to devote as much time to the club as they had originally envisaged, and have taken the decision to withdraw their offer.

“This is a setback for us, however we will resume talks with other interested parties, and are confident of finding the right person or people to take the club forward. We know we have a wonderful club to be proud of, and there will be many parties who would like to join us on our journey. The timing of this news is unfortunate, but we will not be rushed into accepting an offer which may not be right in the long-term.

“This is a very amicable parting of ways with Bill and Jim, and on behalf of the Trust board, I would like to thank them for their interest and support over the past year or so.

“We will continue to keep Trust members updated with our progress with other parties, and in the immediate future, our focus is on giving our full backing to Gareth Ainsworth and the team in our quest to secure League 1 survival in the next three weeks.”

A statement from Bill Luby and Jim Collis reads: “Wycombe Wanderers is a special club that has done extraordinary things under fan ownership.  It has been a privilege for us to have the chance to get close to the club and we are grateful to everyone in the Wycombe community for being so welcoming.

“We have been working on this opportunity for two years now.  And it was our firm intention to become the majority shareholders and provide the club with the financing and resources required to evolve in a sustainable way on and off the field.

“When we began the process our expectations were that our professional obligations would be slowing down and that we would have ample time for additional business pursuits. Unfortunately, that hasn’t turned out to be the case and we have both taken on significant additional business responsibilities. Upon reflection, we realized that we simply couldn’t dedicate the required focus that Wycombe Wanderers and the supporters deserve and have decided to withdraw from the process. 

“We know people will be asking if we were serious in this endeavour.  Our loan to the club provided the working capital required to operate this season. We would have never made this loan if we weren’t fully intending to complete our investment. We know that the club doesn’t currently have the capital to repay us. We have therefore offered to move the maturity of the loan to the end of 2019 and have deferred 100% of the interest until that date.

“We wish everyone involved with the club and the Wycombe community the very best of luck and will be fully supportive of the Trust Board as they work to bring in additional investment.”

ENDS

Apr
7

Trust Members Update – Sunday 7th April

The following message from our Chairman has gone out by email to all Trust Members today.

(Please check your spam and junk mail folders if it’s not in your inbox. If not received at all, then please email secretary@wycombewandererstrust.com to ensure we have your correct email address)

Dear Trust Member,

I have been advised that Bill Luby and Jim Collis are unable to join us for the planned meeting on Wednesday 10th April and therefore the meeting is postponed.

I am sure you will feel as frustrated as I do at this further delay in the voting process, and I will advise as soon as possible of the revised date.

I have called a Trust board meeting for Wednesday evening and a further update will be issued on Thursday 11th.

Please accept my apologies and I will ensure you are kept up to speed with developments.

In the meantime let’s get behind the boys on Tuesday and hope we get the points our performance deserves.

Trevor Stroud
Chairman

Mar
14

Investment Update – 14th March

Wycombe Wanderers Trust can provide an update on the process of investment into the football club, following a meeting of the Trust board on Monday evening.

The board assessed in great detail two offers of investment, one from Bill Luby and Jim Collis seeking a majority shareholding, and one from Andrew Harman seeking an initial minority shareholding increasing to a majority holding in two years.

Trust directors voted overwhelmingly in favour of the offer made by Bill Luby and Jim Collis, and will call a meeting of Legacy Members in due course to present the details of the bid and initiate a voting period for Members to determine whether or not the offer should be accepted.

During the Trust’s discussions with both parties following the meeting on Monday, Mr Harman has decided to withdraw his bid from the process.

Members will be updated with details of the next steps once they are finalised.

Mar
7

Trust Members Update – 7th March

Wycombe Wanderers Trust are pleased to confirm that they have received a formal offer for an initial minority shareholding in the football club from Andrew Harman and will be meeting Mr Harman this week to discuss the offer in more detail.

The Trust board will then give full consideration to both Mr Harman’s offer and the one made by Bill Luby and Jim Collis – seeking a majority shareholding – before providing another update to members.


Trevor Stroud
Chairman

Feb
14

Extension Granted for Becoming a Legacy Member

At the Legacy Members’ meeting on 28th January, a request was made to reconsider the cutoff date for Trust membership which, providing the 4 consecutive Season tickets criteria is satisfied, would lead to Legacy Membership status.

It has been agreed that the cutoff date for applications for Trust membership that would allow such applicants to become Legacy members, has now been set at Saturday 23rdFebruary. Applications can be made by completing the form which can be downloaded here or by obtaining and completing a form from the Trust Table before the next home game, vs Gillingham on that day.

Click here to read more about Legacy Membership

Feb
6

Updated Timeline for Investment Process

Wycombe Wanderers Trust are now able to update members on a revised timeline in the process relating to potential investment to provide long-term stability for the football club.

As previously communicated, a meeting was due to be held on Monday 28th January whereby Legacy Members would hear a presentation of a formal offer made by two American businessmen – Bill Luby and Jim Collis – who are seeking a majority stake in the club. This presentation, to include more details of Bill and Jim’s vision for the club, would then have initiated a voting process whereby Legacy Members would be asked to approve the deal (requiring a 75% of ‘yes’ vote).

This meeting was postponed at short notice after the Trust Board was made aware that Andrew Harman, a local businessmen and former player, was also interested in submitting an immediate formal bid for investment. Having previously held tentative discussions with the Trust board., Mr Harman met with a number of Trust directors in mid-January 2019 to present the outline of his proposal, which he also shared with supporters at a public meeting, Together with Bill Luby and Jim Collis, the Trust Board has agreed to halt the process in order to allow Mr Harman time to submit his offer.

Mr Harman was initially asked to submit his formal offer in three weeks’ time (week commencing 18th February) but requested an extension of two weeks, which has been granted. While the Trust Board are keen for the process to move forward quickly, to enable the club to undertake long-term sustainability planning and start the planning process for next season. Mr Harman has indicated he needs more time to complete his due diligence and submit his offer.

The new agreed timeline is that Mr Harman will submit his formal offer in the week commencing 4th March, including a meeting with the Trust Board to present his offer in detail. The Trust Board will then consider his offer alongside that of Mr Luby and Mr Collis, and call a Legacy Members meeting to update them on the situation as it stands. Further details of this meeting will be communicated in due course; it is very much the Trust’s intention to hold this as soon as possible after their meeting with Andrew Harman.

At the Legacy Members’ meeting on 28th January, a request was made to reconsider the cut-off date for Trust membership which, providing the criteria is satisfied (i.e. Trust membership and season ticket holding for four consecutive years), would lead to Legacy Membership status.

It has been agreed that the cut-off date for applications for Trust membership that would allow such applicants to become Legacy Members, has now been set at Saturday 23rd February. Applications can be made by completing the form which can be downloaded here or by obtaining and completing a form from the Trust Table at the next home game.

Visit the website for a full summary of the Legacy Members meeting on Monday 28th January, or apply to join the WWT Live Stream group on Facebook to watch the full video of the event (Trust members only).

The Trust board held a meeting for Legacy Members last Monday (28th January) at the Union Baptist Church on Easton Street in High Wycombe, attended by 227 Legacy Members, with a live stream available on Facebook for those unable to attend, plus all Trust members (receiving more than 600 views to date).

During the meeting, chairman Trevor Stroud made a presentation in three parts – the slides of which can be seen here.

The first part covered a timeline of the process which has led to the position outlined above; where the Trust will consider both bids in mid-March and explain the rationale for their recommendation to Legacy Members.

A synopsis of that timeline – which can be viewed in more detail on the slides – is as follows:
– 2015: Trust identify need for additional funding for the football club, and initiate the Share Scheme
– 2016: Share Scheme raises c.£700k but Trust recognise that outside investment is likely to be required
– 2017 (January): Trust introduced to Steve Horowitz, who has completed transactions of football clubs to new owners including Liverpool, Inter, Portsmouth, Crystal Palace and Dagenham & Redbridge. He advises the Trust that he will introduce them to suitable partners that he believes would be good custodians of the club
– 2017 (November): Trust meets Andrew Harman, who puts forward an outline proposal for investment
– 2018 (January): Mr Harman’s proposal is declined due to it being based on club debt, rather than equity. The Trust are keen to learn lessons from the past and not see the club fall into significant debt to any individual or organisation which has loaned money into the club
– 2018 (January): Mr Horowitz introduces Trust to two American businessmen, Bill Luby and Jim Collis
– 2018 (March): Mr Luby and Mr Collis visit the club for introductory meetings
– 2018 (July): Mr Luby and Mr Collis return to the club to meet whole Trust board. Talks with other interested parties are ongoing
– 2018 (August): Trust call members meeting to inform them of board’s recommendation that the club requires investment. At this time, Mr Harman is informed that the club have received two offers – one for a majority stake, one for a minority stake. Mr Harman acknowledges the information in writing and wishes the Trust well with their progress with these two bids
– 2018 (September): Trust outlines the need for investment to members, and asks for mandate to proceed with talks and bring their recommended proposals forward. A show of hands in the room indicates that this mandate is given
– 2018 (October): Proposal offered by Mr Luby and Mr Collis is selected unanimously by the Trust board as the recommended route forward
– 2018 (November): Mr Luby and Mr Collis visit Adams Park to meet members and answer questions. After this point, the Trust enters into formal discussions with a view to an offer being made. Also this month, Trust recognises need for a Plan B in the event of Mr Luby and Mr Collis’s offer not being accepted by Legacy Members, and Mr Harman is asked to sustain his interest in investment
– 2019 (January): Trust are made aware via a post online that Mr Harman wishes to revitalise his offer as a Plan A, and arrange to meet him to discuss. At this meeting, Mr Harman presents an outline proposal which is not rejected but the Trust board raises concern at the timing and the lack of detail in the proposal. Mr Harman calls a public meeting to share his proposal with supporters. The Trust board – together with Mr Luby and Mr Collis – agree to postpone the scheduled Legacy Members meeting and vote in order to allow time for Mr Harman to submit a formal bid
2019 (February): Trust board initially ask Mr Harman to submit an offer within three weeks, but agree to an extension of a further two weeks, as requested by Mr Harman.

Trevor Stroud commented that Mr Harman has been asked to clarify the size of his investment offer, over what time period, and what type (i.e. debt or equity). The Trust board also require further detail on Mr Harman’s plans to settle existing club debt, his recommendation for rent payable to Frank Adams Legacy Limited by the club for the use of Adams Park, and the envisaged ongoing relationship between club and Trust. The Trust would like to explore Mr Harman’s plans for further investment beyond the initial injection of funds, and the structure of the proposed academy, plus its benefits to the football club.

The Trust board have arranged to meet Mr Harman at the end of the five-week window, where he will present his offer and a new recommendation to members will be made. Arrangements for meetings with Trust/Legacy Members will be made in due course. In the event that Mr Harman does not submit an offer, the Trust will proceed with a Legacy Member vote on the offer made by Mr Luby and Mr Collis. Bill and Jim have been kept updated throughout this change in proceedings and have reiterated their desire to see the best possible outcome for the club, appreciating the magnitude of the situation and offering their full support.

At this stage, questions were taken from the floor:

Q) Why was the Trust’s position (from 2016) not communicated to members sooner?
A) The update was given to members at the meeting in September 2018 once a position had been agreed by the Trust board that they should proceed with talks with potential partners. There is a commercial sensitivity to publicly declaring the club is for sale.

Q) Why have members not received details of Bill and Jim’s proposal?
A) Members would have received details prior to originally scheduled meeting on 28th January, but this was placed on hold once it was revealed that Mr Harman wished to make a bid.

Q) It looks as though the Americans might now be changing/improving their bid once they know the details of Andrew Harman’s offer
A) Bill and Jim want to be involved with the club, but they want the best for the club, and recognise that if there is a better offer out there, they will walk away. We’re looking for a level playing field where we have two offers that can be placed alongside each other to enable us to make our recommendation to members.

Q) Were all bidders allowed to take a majority stake?
A) They were all aware that a majority stake was available if they desired. One party wished for a majority stake, one wished for a minority stake – a third party in August was aware of the other two bidders and wished us well.

Q) Why can’t we see both bids?
A) At this stage we only have one bid, and an expression of interest from another. We’ve had lots of expressions of interest down the years but once pushed, they have not made an offer.

Q) Andrew Harman said the reason for his re-engagement in the process was that a Trust director had approached him to do so. Is that the case?
A) We have continued to engage with other parties throughout the process. It had previously been indicated that Andrew was willing to remain in the background as a fallback. The Trust formed a sub-group to explore a Plan B in case the offer by Bill and Jim was rejected. Andrew was asked by one director in November if he would be available to come forward if required with a Plan B, and the answer was yes. Plan B (which was discussed with a team deputed by the Trust Board) was intended to be a fallback, not an alternative, which it now is.

Q) You have said that an equity-based deal is preferable to a debt-based one. Why is that?
A) The Americans would not be coming in as a creditor. They would be coming in as a partner to help us clear debt. We are placing as many safeguards as possible into the deal, to make sure that lessons from the past are learned, and mistakes are avoided.

Q) Have you considered a Plan C – where the Americans and Andrew could work together?
A) That has been put on the agenda for consideration.

Q) Why have other opportunities not been heard about previously?
A) Until 12 days ago we didn’t believe another proposal was there; we now know we will be receiving a second bid. The third offer has been there for a long time but has not been sufficient to bring to members.

Q) Why are you allowing Andrew Harman back into the process now if it could scupper things?
A) It’s fair, and we have to consider the best thing for the football club, so it is only right that we give him the opportunity to make an offer that we can consider. We want a level playing field.

Q) Now we have two offers, can we not just vote on which one we prefer, and go with whichever gets the majority?
A) We will look into the voting process once we have more information about the second bid.

Q) Have you checked for proof of funds from the Americans?
A) We have engaged an independent consultancy to carry out due diligence on both Bill and Jim, and will be doing the same on Andrew Harman. Everything we have received so far has confirmed they are men of substance.

Q) Is Bill and Jim’s proposal based on personal investment, or through venture capital?
A) It would be personal investment.

Q) Are you accepting any new proposals, and are you setting a deadline?
A) We think it’s unlikely there will be any new entrants into the process. We will agree a timetable with Andrew Harman and communicate that. We don’t have long; we need to move forward.

Q) I understood from Andrew Harman’s meeting that he was not aware until January that a majority stake was available.
A) Our communication with Andrew in August explained that we were in discussions with two parties; one regarding a majority stake, one regarding a minority stake. He wished us well with those discussions.

Q) Will you reopen the process for new Legacy Members (i.e. season ticket holders of 4+ years who have not yet joined the Trust)?
A) We will take advice on that from the relevant authorities.

Q) If you go with the minority stake option, could the Trust accept this without a vote?
A) The rules provide that a majority sale requires 75% approval from Legacy Members. There is nothing to say that a minority sale requires any vote/approval. There is a provision that if a significant change is made to the club, the Trust should seek to run a ballot of members.

Trevor Stroud then continued with his presentation, relating to the loan which has been taken out with Bill Luby and Jim Collis, which resulted in a charge being placed on the stadium as security for the loan.

The key points from the slides are as follows:
– A bridge loan was required due to the critical cashflow situation through November and December (which was eased in January due to solidarity payments from the EFL). Bill and Jim were approached and the response was quick and supportive.
– The loan came in two tranches; the first was definitely required, the second was dependent on ‘football fortune’. Once the club had exited both the FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy in November, the second tranche was required. While the first tranche carried a charge on the club, the second carried a charge on Adams Park.
– These details were not communicated due to the commercial sensitivity of declaring the financial position amidst negotiations with sponsors and players
– If Bill and Jim are successful, their loan will be transferred to equity, and the charge will be lifted
– If Bill and Jim are unsuccessful, the loan will be repaid by the new investor, and the charge will be lifted
– There has been suggestions that the Trust may have broken rule 102 by securing a loan with a charge on the stadium without seeking approval from members
– The Trust board admitted that this rule was overlooked; the rule was introduced in 2014 after two previous loans had been taken out with charges on the stadium. The board acted on the precedent of these loans
The Trust board has sought independent legal advice which has clarified that the rule has not been broken, but the board will now seek member approval for any future charges against Adams Park

Trevor Stroud then went on to clarify his position:
– His role as chairman of both Trust and club was approved by the Trust board
– The Trust board was elected by members
– His position can be reviewed by the Trust board at any time, and the position of the Trust board can be reviewed by members at any time
– If Bill and Jim are successful, there will be two Trust board members on the club board
– No decision has yet been made on who the two Trust representatives would be
– No Trust or club director would be employed by the club if Bill and Jim are successful, or stands to make any financial gain
– Trevor reiterated that it is an honour to serve as chairman, and everything he and the Trust board does is considered to be the right thing for the club

The floor was then opened to questions:
Q) Have you sought loans from commercial partners?
A) We are in constant dialogue with commercial partners, but have yet to find anyone willing to loan £500,000 unsecured.

Q) Have you sought advice from Supporters Direct?
A) Yes, there has been dialogue with them; Lawrie Read (Trust director) had a conference call just last week.

Q) What would be the makeup of the club board if Andrew Harman is successful?
A) That is yet to be discussed.

Q) Will you change the rules relating to charges being placed on the stadium, to require member approval?
A) Yes – this will be ratified in due course.

Q) Why did we find out about the charge on Companies House, and were not informed before?
A) As a fan, I’d want to be able to tell you everything. As chairman, we had to be conscious of the sensitivity of making things public.

Q) Have you discussed a minority share with the Americans?
A) Yes – they have indicated their preference in a majority share, based on the figure that they plan to invest in order to sustain the losses and develop the club.

Q) Will we be paying off the loan soon?
A) I don’t believe that to be the case.

Q) Is there a conflict of interest with you being the chair of Trust and club, in the Trust board’s view?
A) It has been raised, it has been discussed and it has been shared that the Trust board can review it at any time. The situation will be reviewed once this process is through.

Q) Why is the voting on this decision not open to all members, but just Legacy Members?
A) We wish it was, but in reality the rules were set up as a defence mechanism. There were concerns that it wouldn’t take much for somebody to get people to join the Trust and vote through the sale of the club. We set a high bar to ensure that the people that make the decision are season ticket holders, and in theory, the most loyal fans. To change that rule, we would need approval from 75% of Legacy Members.

Q) How many Legacy Members are there?
A) We have 810 Legacy Members. A Legacy Member is a Trust member who has held a season ticket for the past four consecutive seasons at least. We have close to 1,400 Trust members.

Q) Will Andrew Harman’s proposal be funded by loans or equity?
A) We are of the understanding that the answer to this at the moment is ‘don’t know’.

Q) Will the situation be sorted by Easter?
A) We very much hope so.

Q) What happens to the club if neither offer goes through?
A) It would be a serious situation. We’re performing really well on the pitch but need resources to help us keep doing that.

Q) Would Bill and Jim clear the existing debt?
A) They won’t come in and write a cheque to clear the debt, no. We have a deal in place to pay rent from the club to the Trust to help clear the debt, yes.

Q) To what extent is there an opportunity to use investment income to establish an academy to help bring through the next Roger Johnsons, Jordon Ibes?
A) The general view from the footballing side is that the academy model is flawed, for a number of reasons. The EPPP rules have changed since we sold Jordon Ibe, which restricts the amount of money that the lower clubs can receive. Sell-on fees can be a lottery, as with Kortney Hause moving on loan from Wolves to Aston Villa, rather than a permanent move. We feel there is a gap for a development/reserve squad, where talented youngsters from the Sports & Education Trust’s Elite & Development Academy might have an opportunity. Gareth Ainsworth is very good at identifying good players that have been let go by other clubs, such as Curtis Thompson and Alex Samuel.

Q) When will see the details of the Americans’ proposal?
A) It will be depend on the timetable agreed with Andrew Harman. Approximately three weeks, as it stands. [NB this timescale has since been lengthened to five weeks, as outlined above]

Q) Has Andrew Harman signed an NDA and been given access to accounts?
A) There is an NDA running from our initial discussions, but he will re-sign it and receive access to the accounts. [NB the NDA has since been signed]

Q) Are you aware that Andrew Harman came into the Woodlands Lounge to talk to supporters, and was of the impression that the vote would be going ahead tonight?
A) Andrew isn’t a Trust member so he wouldn’t have received the communication about it.

The meeting then concluded at around 8.45pm. A full transcript of the Q&A sessions from the meeting is available upon request by emailing tony@wycombewandererstrust.com, or apply to join the WWT Live Stream group on Facebook to watch the full video of the event (Trust members only).

Jan
30

Information from Legacy Members Meeting 28th January 2019

To view the slides that Trevor Stroud used on Monday, please click on the download button below.
We are writing up the answers to questions posed during the evening and these will be added shortly.

Jan
25

Comment from Bill Luby and Jim Collis

We are extremely grateful to everyone in the Wycombe Wanderers community who has given us such a warm welcome and education over the past several months.

You have left us in no doubt that the spirit of your community is the driving force behind Wycombe Wanderers FC and is the primary reason you have been on such an extraordinary journey on and off the field since the Trust took over in 2012.

We remain committed to earning your support to become stewards of this unique and special club.

Above all, we want the best outcome for Wycombe Wanderers so we both encouraged and welcomed the Trust’s decision to open up this process.

In our conversations so far, we hope we have shown that it is our desire to work in true partnership with the whole community to help Wycombe Wanderers fulfil its potential in a sustainable way. 

We believe that we have a financial and operational commitment that will enable a bright future for the club but first we feel it is right for all stakeholders and bidders to have had their voice heard before the final vote.

We will be keeping in close contact with the Trust, and the club and look forward to coming back to Wycombe and making our formal presentation in the near future.

Good luck against Plymouth tomorrow!

Bill Luby and Jim Collis

Jan
25

Legacy Members meeting – Agenda Change

Wycombe Wanderers Trust, together with Bill Luby and Jim Collis, have agreed to change the scheduled Legacy Members meeting – taking place on Monday 28th January – after the Trust received an expression of interest from a second party.

Following the Trust board’s recommendation to its members regarding the best route forward for the football club, Mr Luby and Mr Collis were due to make a presentation to initiate a voting process with a view to gaining Legacy Members’ approval for their offer of investment.

Late last week, the Trust received an outline of interest from Andrew Harman and will now give Mr Harman time to submit a formal bid for consideration by the board of directors.

A Legacy Members meeting will still take place on Monday evening, from 7.30pm at the Union Baptist Church in High Wycombe, with a number of Trust board directors present.

Chairman Trevor Stroud said: “Following discussions this week with Bill and Jim, we have mutually agreed to postpone that part of the meeting where they were due to present their offer to Legacy Members.

“The Trust have been in discussions with Andrew for a number of months and he will be offered the opportunity to make a formal bid, so we look forward to receiving full details in due course and we will update members accordingly.

“We feel this is the best and right approach and thank Legacy Members for their patience and understanding of the change in arrangements at late notice. We are keen for a meeting to still take place on Monday, and invite Legacy Members to hear further clarification of the situation and take the opportunity to ask questions. 

“Bill and Jim will now not be visiting the club this weekend but we will look to arrange a new date with them at some point in the near future.”

A statement from Bill Luby and Jim Collis read: “We remain committed to earning the support of the Wycombe Wanderers community to become stewards of this unique and special club. Above all, we want the best outcome for Wycombe Wanderers so we both encouraged and welcomed the Trust’s decision to open up this process. We look forward to presenting our proposal in the near future.”

Jan
21

Trust Update – 21st January 2019

IMPORTANT – SEE AGENDA CHANGE NOTIFICATION ISSUED ON 25th JAN.

We are a week away from the Legacy Members meeting at which Bill Luby and Jim Collis, and I, will present their proposal for taking the club forward, by acquiring a majority stake in Wycombe Wanderers. At such an important time for the club, I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on a handful of topics.

Firstly, later this week we will be able to share:

  • Details relating to Bill and Jim’s proposal, which will be sent directly to Legacy Members, giving them the chance to consider various elements of the deal in advance of the meeting
  • An itinerary for Bill and Jim’s visit, where there will be opportunities for all supporters – not just Legacy Members – to meet them

We remain in constant dialogue with Bill and Jim, and their team, and want to be sure that all information is accurate, relevant and fully approved from both sides before we are able to share it.

Meanwhile, I am aware of queries which were raised at the most recent Fans Council, which I am more than happy to cover off here.

– Firstly, there was a question as to whether the Trust had broken one of its own rules (rule 102) in relation to the loan we have recently taken from Bill and Jim, and the charge against the stadium.
The answer to this is no – the loan has been taken out by the club, rather than by the Trust. Our reason for the loan was simple; our cashflow reached a critical point over Christmas and when asked, Bill and Jim volunteered a loan facility to ease us through this problem period. Such a facility was not available via a bank or other means, and if it was, similar security would have been demanded.

– Meanwhile there has also been talk of other potential bidders in the process, and we acknowledge that one interested party has called a meeting to present directly to supporters. To date we have received an outline proposal from the party in question, but no formal bid.

We have always declared that we have been in discussions with more than one interested party and I can only reiterate that Bill and Jim’s proposal remains the recommended route forward for the Trust board. We will never close the door on any potential interest until such point that our negotiations with Bill and Jim reach a conclusion, but theirs is the best deal for the club – in the view of the Trust board.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding while we work hard to achieve the best deal for the club going forward, and we look forward to sharing more details once we are in a position to do so.

Trevor Stroud
Chairman


Jan
11

Open Letter from Trevor Stroud

Good afternoon, and a belated Happy New Year,

I wanted to take the opportunity to talk as directly as possible to all supporters of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club, including members of the Trust, ahead of what is a pivotal time in the club’s 131-year history.

In just over two weeks’ time we will be asking Legacy Members to vote on whether or not to accept investment into the club from two American businessmen, Bill Luby and Jim Collis, who are seeking a majority stake in Wycombe Wanderers. A reminder that Legacy Members are members of the Trust who have held a season ticket at Adams Park for four or more consecutive years.

As volunteer directors of the Trust, this is new territory for us, and yes – it can keep us awake at night. We have each been elected to serve as custodians of the football club; to protect its heritage and safeguard our future. We take great pride in what we do, and standing on the pitch at Chesterfield in April, I personally was overcome with emotion as I reflected on what we had all – together – achieved. Above all, we are supporters who want the very best for the club, with no ulterior motives.

We’ve been entrusted to make the right decisions, and we are confident that we have found the best people to take the club forward, in Bill and Jim. Trust Members have met them when we introduced them at a meeting back in November, and we have been in constant dialogue with them over the past two months as we finalise the proposed deal which would see them become majority shareholders if they attain ‘yes’ votes from 75% or more of Legacy Members.

During that time, as is only natural, there has been plenty of discussion and speculation from supporters and Trust Members, and a fair amount of information – some accurate, some inaccurate – has been disseminated from various sources. We have never set out to deliberately conceal details from fans, but the discussions are, as I’m sure you can imagine, commercially sensitive and bound by confidentiality clauses on both sides, as is commonplace in business and football is no different, with most transfer dealings masked by undisclosed fees, like them or loathe them!

I am aware of grievances about a perceived lack of communication, and in some cases I can accept that we could have done things differently. The details of the postponement of the next meeting – originally provisionally booked for January 14th, but moved to January 28th – could have been clarified sooner, and for that I apologise.

I wanted to offer some clarity on a few points; I can only imagine there will be hundreds of questions and the opportunity for us to answer them will come at the meeting for Legacy Members on Monday 28th January. But for now, here is a synopsis of the story so far:

–              Two years ago we were introduced to a representative of Bill and Jim who enquired whether we would be interested in opening talks relating to potential investment into the football club. We said yes, and – along with expressions of interest from two other parties – have developed these talks into something more substantial

–              In September 2018 we held a meeting of all trust members to gauge their attitude, as the club’s current owners, to the possible options for the future of the club, and received an indication that we should proceed with discussions relating to outside investment.

–              In the autumn of 2018, following the members’ meeting, the Trust board agreed that its recommended option for the best way forward for the football club is to accept Bill and Jim’s proposal. More on that below.

–              We invited Bill and Jim to meet Trust Members at Adams Park in November; an evening that we – and they – felt was met with positivity from a large proportion of those present.

–              At the same time, the Trust agreed a non-binding heads of terms with Bill and Jim.

–              Faced with a concerning cashflow situation for the club over the winter months, and while negotiations have been continuing on the investment deal, Bill and Jim also agreed to make a loan available to the club,  with a charge against Adams Park, which is standard practice to guarantee some security against the person or persons loaning the money. This sum is to be converted into equity if Bill and Jim are successful in the Legacy Member vote, or repaid if not. Without this loan, the club’s cashflow was looking critical and could well have impacted on wages and bills being paid on time.

To return to an earlier point, the Trust’s purpose is to safeguard the club’s future, to ensure there is a Wycombe Wanderers for future generations to enjoy just as we have done, and those before us. There will be a Wycombe Wanderers for the foreseeable future, but the makeup of that club is ultimately dependent on its financial backing. We are making sizeable losses each year in our current setup, and it is not either fair or viable to rely on ‘football fortune’ (cup runs and player sales) as a breakeven model each year.

If Legacy Members vote in favour of the investment by Bill and Jim, I have every confidence that their investment will be spent wisely, to continue the forward progress that has been made on the pitch in recent years, and improve the off-field activity to help us better engage with supporters, sponsors and the local community as a whole. The potential for growth is exciting, and our due diligence to date leads us to have every faith that the values that make us proud of our club will continue to be upheld under new ownership, which would also include supporter representation on the make-up of the board of directors.

In case the vote is unsuccessful, the Trust has identified possible alternative options – though in our view, as it stands, these are less favourable. To be sustainable under Trust ownership would mean descaling the size of the on-field and off-field operations, and it will take the most optimistic of supporters to believe that that situation would not lead to a decline from our current league standing.

The Trust do not want to see the club decline; we have been honoured with Football League status for a quarter of a century, and have what I believe to be the one of the best management staffs and playing squads that we have had the pleasure of watching in that era. The club was in a dark place around the time that the Trust acquired ownership in 2012, and after overcoming some tough challenges in those first two years, enjoyed a steady progression thanks to the achievements of the team on the pitch, and considerable financial support from Trust members and other fans.

What happens next is up to the Legacy Members; we have offered our recommendation and more details of Bill and Jim’s proposal will become clear in the very near future. I am determined that every Member should use his or her vote; we want a 100% turnout to ensure that the future of the club is not decided by apathy of those not bothering to vote, given that not voting is counted as a ‘no’ vote.

From one fan of Wycombe Wanderers to another, we are all on this journey together, and I sincerely believe that welcoming Bill and Jim into the club will lead to a more prosperous and successful future for us all.

Thank you for reading, and during this exciting period, let us not lose focus of what brings us all to Adams Park in the first place – the football. Gareth and the team have this incredible hunger and determination to return to winning ways, to reach our target for survival in League 1 this season, and to continue to give you as much as possible to cheer and be proud of every single week.

Trevor Stroud

Jan
7

Legacy Members Meeting – 28th January

I am pleased to confirm the Legacy Members meeting will take place on Monday 28th January, in the Hub (Wycombe Baptist Church), Easton Street, High Wycombe HP11 1NJ starting at 7.30 p.m.

The purpose of the meeting is to present to members the proposal for investment into the Club, by Jim Collis and Bill Luby. This meeting had been provisionally scheduled for 14th January but has been pushed back to allow for more time for details of the proposal to be discussed between the two parties.

Following the first meeting, a period of voting will open (circa three weeks) and members will be able to vote online or by post.

A second formal meeting will be called, where a further presentation will take place together with the opportunity to vote in person on the night. The votes will be counted on that night and the result declared.

As we are talking about selling a majority stake in the Club, 75% of the 810 Legacy Members have to vote in favour. The important message is a non-vote is a no vote and it would be criminal if apathy decided the future of our Football Club.

It is planned to issue details of the proposal before the first meeting, and there will be ample time to ask questions, at the meeting, as well as on-line during the voting period.

You should by now have received an e mail confirming your status as a Legacy member. If you have not received this communication, and believe you qualify to be a Legacy Member, please contact David Cook at David.cook@wwfc.com

A more detailed timetable and how the vote is to be conducted by Electoral Reform Services will be sent to Legacy Members in the next few days. In the meantime, please put the meeting date in your diaries.

We are entering one of the most important phases in the history of our Football Club, it is your Club and it is vital, that you understand what is being proposed, and exercise your democratic right to decide it’s future.

Trevor Stroud
Chairman

Dec
31

Trust AGM Slides including Investor Update + Minutes

The Powerpoint slides used in the November 2018 Trust AGM – which include Trevor’s update on the American Investors – can be viewed via the following link WWSGL AGM 29 NOVEMBER 2018

Here are the minutes of the AGM 2018 AGM Minutes