I’ve tried hard, and succeeded, to keep away from two phrases since 1st July 2020. One of them is “we told you so”. There’s never a good time for those sentiments but maybe the time has come for the other. Following yesterday’s launch from the Supporter’s clubyesterday’s launch from the Supporter’s club, I guess that now is as good a time as ever to say “We need to talk about the future…”
But before we do, it’s worth taking a minute to think about what the fund set up by the Supporters’ Club is. Or what it could be, given that the prospectus issued by the Supporter’s Club doesn’t lay it bare. That’s not a criticism per se, as a lot will depend on circumstances outside of their control.
The fund is an attempt to gain a fan funded stake in the future of Wigan Athletic, that could be one of a few things…
- In the worst possible case, it could provide the funds for a phoenix club should all other avenues be exhausted
- In a better case, it could see a supporter buy out of the club as it stands, putting decisions about the running of the club back in the hands of people who care about it, even if their first job will be to strip back operations so that we can live within our means
- Even better, it could form a part of a joint bid to take over the club, providing supporters with a significant stake in a club that still may be able to operate at the level we are at currently and build for the future
- Moving on, if the club were bought outright by investors, it could provide funds to negotiate the sale of a share in the club to a fans body, at the same time providing fan representation on the Latics board – providing that the new owners are on board with that type of idea
And many more variations on those themes all of which are preferable to being a voiceless consumer of someone else’s project.
Anyone who’s followed the history and origins of this site will know that we’ve always tried to fight the fans’ corner, we’ve always had a cynical eye on the owners of our club, we’ve always had an interest in football funding and we’ve always supported the idea of fan representation. That’s why, as much as we’d rather the circumstances be different, we’re backing the Supporters Club’s bid to raise funds.
But we realise that not many of you will have savings, that you are probably in uncertain times financially or might simply just not have enough to go around. So, if you can’t afford to buy one of the £1,000, £500 or £250 packages we’d still encourage you to get involved. You could…
- Just donate what you can. Any amount will help get the total up, people like ourselves will always ensure that no one is kept in the dark where information can be shared,
- Encourage other people to get involved. Whether that’s through sharing links or just talking about it to friends or,
- If you know someone lucky enough to own a business who are doing well at the minute, ask them to contact the supporters club to see how they can get even more involved.
And so, to the future… let’s think about a couple of what ifs.
What if… we don’t raise enough money and the club folds? Well, this is the worst case listed above. For me, and possibly me alone, this fund could/should/would provide the necessary means to keep the name and spirit of Wigan Athletic alive. Even a phoenix club needs funding and, if worst comes to worst, the fund could give us a head start to shape the next chapter of the Latics journey.
What if… new owners won’t entertain the idea of selling a share to fans? Well, first off, we’d want to take a minute and be thankful that our club has been rescued. Then we’d put our cynical hats on, wonder why they didn’t want fans on the board and we’d want to go again. We’d want the Supporters Club to go again and impress on them the need to maintain a fund to back future bids for a share holding, we’d suggest that that was the purpose of this fundraising and that (with donators permission) it should be held in trust until the aim of fan representation can be met.
And I know that’s not for everyone, and in either of those extremes you should have an opt out, but I won’t want anything I put in back, I just want a club to support and know that it’s got the protection of supporter representation or a group of people prepared to fight the good fight until it does.
But before I go, just a couple of words of caution…
The prospectus isn’t clear about how the fund will be governed – only that it will be done under the auspices of the Supporters Club. We would ask that some statement from them about the ongoing governance of this (and any monies remaining from the Let’s Hang On fund) is made relatively soon, and preferably before Monday 31st August. In the meantime, if you contribute, you may want to think about joining the Supporters Club as well.may want to think about joining the Supporters Club as well.
Also, the deadline of 31st August is, seemingly, an artificial one, created by the administrators to try and force bidders hands, presumably before the next set of wages are due to be paid. If that’s the case, and the fund doesn’t stand at £550k by Monday night, we implore the Supporters Club to continue their efforts to fundraise AND to keep it out of the hands of the Adminstrators (unless it’s in return for ownership of the club). Whatever comes next, the more funding it has, the better.
So yes. Support the fundraising in whatever way you can. Join the Supporters Club. And keep on keeping on.
See you on the other side…
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