Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

A proposal for the members' meeting on Thursday 20th February 2020

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Copwatcher
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Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Copwatcher » 04 Feb 2020, 15:39

This is a proposal that will go to the forthcoming members' meeting taking place on Thursday 20th February and is proposed by the CCFC Finance Committee. If you have any questions, please post them in comments below by 19 February at the latest.


Since the club held a public meeting on 15 October to discuss the offer by Star Pubs and Bars, the property arm of Heineken, to take over the Old Spotted Dog Ground, ongoing negotiations with them have focused, inevitably, on the poor state of the ground.

At issue has been our obligations to maintain the ground “in good order” when the Old Spotted Dog Ground is quite obviously in a poor state of repair and does not currently meet the ground gradings for Step 6: a level we will require if we are promoted at the end of this season.

Essentially, we have argued that Star Pubs and Bars is not offering a functioning sports facility but a pitch and building that will require significant repairs before it becomes one.

Heineken appears reluctant to commit significant or indeed any spending to improve the state of the ground. Our negotiations with them have, nevertheless, requested a capital contribution to ground improvement and we are also discussing how long they offer us a “holiday” from paying rent to we can make further improvements ourselves. We do not yet know, however, whether they will agree to either of these requests.

A recent site visit has indicated the need for work on the leaking clubhouse roof and we will need to build new changing facilities – the existing ones are part of the warehouse next to the Old Spotted Dog Ground that are not part of the lease and that we have no control over. A new pitch fence is an urgent requirement for Step 6 too.

We can reduce other costs with offers of support from members and volunteers (for example, for redecorating the clubhouse and clearing debris). We know we can also make a strong case for grant funding for restoring what is the oldest senior football ground in London – but we cannot start submitting funding applications until we have agreed to the lease and have a guarantee of long-term tenure.

We will, therefore, need to allocate a budget from our existing funds to ensure the Old Spotted Dog is ready for our return.

Taking back Clapton’s spiritual home, after a season of boycotts when it was placed in liquidation by the previous tenant, was absolutely central to the motivation for setting up Clapton CFC in the first place. Finally having a ground of our own, owned by members, can offer long term stability for the club and also the chance to build lasting links with the local community.

What are we proposing?

The Finance Committee is, therefore, proposing we make available £35,000 from our funds for work on improving the Old Spotted Dog Ground, which is available for use by the club’s new subsidiary company, the Old Spotted Dog Ground Trust. Initially, we would make £15,000 available, with the remaining £20,000 held until such time as it is needed.

This commitment is on top of up to £5,000 to cover legal costs for securing the lease that was agreed by a huge majority of members in October 2019. To date, legal costs have been £1305.

Can we afford this?

As a result of the sales of our shirts. the club currently has £34,407 in our operating reserve account and £50,000 in an ethical fixed interest account, both with the Charity Bank.

In addition, our main current account will have around £22,000 by the time of the members’ meeting on 20 February, after imminent payments in the next few weeks that include a sizeable corporation tax bill of £18,965.61.

We agreed at the AGM in June last year that we would not use the operating reserve unless there was a financial crisis in the club. This means available cash assets are approximately £72,000.

What are the risks of making this decision?

There is an argument that by publicly committing to allocate significant funds to the Old Spotted Dog Ground, Star Pubs and Bars has less incentive to make its own capital contribution to ground improvement.

However, the club is in a strong position to apply pressure (via its support from the local council and MPs) by contrasting our willingness to invest in the ground with the apparent reluctance of its owner to make a similar contribution.

There is a risk that with the club’s overall reserves reduced, there is less funding for new developments such as additional teams. However, we are continuing to raise funds from matchday donations, merchandise and membership and the extraordinary windfall from our shirt sales was never a bottomless pit.

Any new initiatives we organise will need to consider how they generate some income, including grants or sponsorship. The Old Spotted Dog Ground certainly has the capacity for generating its own income when it is returned to regular use.

Using a significant proportion of the money we raised from shirt sales on restoring the Old Spotted Dog Ground seems like a fitting way to use this unexpected income.
Last edited by dowdinsk on 06 Feb 2020, 13:57, edited 2 times in total.
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Old Monovian
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Old Monovian » 07 Feb 2020, 10:52

The corporation tax owed of £18k - is that a one-off or annual bill?

Mwg
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Mwg » 07 Feb 2020, 10:58

Go for it!
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admin_ccfc
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by admin_ccfc » 07 Feb 2020, 10:58

Our OSD Committee and OSDG Trust visited the ground on October 3rd, 2019.

You can find the photos which were taken to give a bit of a context at this link:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/claptoncf ... 1290909978
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RISCARDO
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by RISCARDO » 07 Feb 2020, 11:08

Quite an interesting read, and some hard decisions I presume to make. In reality the shirt sales (the windfall) have enabled the process of going to the OSD an easier one. However the fact that the Landlords will provide a ground that isnt fit for purpose is quite astonishing. They seem quite happy to go through a lease tendering process with Clapton CFC, Hackney Wick and Clapton without any indication of putting right what was wrong with the ground. Given that Clapton Community want to do everything correctly, there then becomes a cost to fix the problems. A side question would be if Clapton (and VMcB) had been given the lease would they have just carried on as is, as it appears that the Essex Senior league dont really care about the state of grounds and safety etc. Anyway just some ramblings .... with no concrete answers :)
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evieg
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by evieg » 07 Feb 2020, 11:23

It's a weird one isn't it? I don't have sympathy for McBean, but everything we've learnt has shown how hard it is/has been to make improvements to the ground, especially if Heineken haven't been contributing anything throughout the entire time. Obviously, Vince had a similar-ish windfall to our merchandise with the increased gate receipts.

Anyway, I fully support this (although I'm completely failing to see what the alternative would be, if we don't make this cash available). My only concern is that the amount is too small.

wansteadton
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by wansteadton » 07 Feb 2020, 11:52

If the money is there and we need to spend first, to then get Heineken willing to open their purse strings. Then I suggest we go for it. It does seem that the merchandise has given us a huge buffere in terms of revenue and the ultimate goal has been return to the OSD.

Ideally you would like Heineken to be a bit more forthcoming, but it is becoming more apparent that this is not to be the case. So as we have the power and funds to drive this forward ourselves, then I believe this is an appropriate use of the money that has been raised over the past two seasons.
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dowdinsk
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by dowdinsk » 07 Feb 2020, 12:35

evieg wrote:
07 Feb 2020, 11:23
It's a weird one isn't it? I don't have sympathy for McBean, but everything we've learnt has shown how hard it is/has been to make improvements to the ground, especially if Heineken haven't been contributing anything throughout the entire time. Obviously, Vince had a similar-ish windfall to our merchandise with the increased gate receipts.

Anyway, I fully support this (although I'm completely failing to see what the alternative would be, if we don't make this cash available). My only concern is that the amount is too small.
Originally Clapton's changing rooms were in the warehouse demolished after Heineken parcelled up the site to sell off the land where Upton Heights now stands, and then in the existing warehouse behind the clubhouse. It seems Heineken are perfectly content with the idea that community football can be played in a field without any facilities?
Just the new changing rooms alone improving Heineken's freehold will cost upwards of £75,000 in my view, so there'll be lots more money to find beyond this initial £35,000 to enable the OSDGT to get started with the project.

shuira
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by shuira » 07 Feb 2020, 13:28

Hi, first of all, sorry for my english, i´m from Argentina. I found the CCFC and i think that it has everything what i expect for a community club, who belongs to their members.
Could you explain me, the OSD has an owner? the owner is Heineken? they arrends it to the CCFC? I try to search info in google but i coudn´t find it.
I saw the pictures, it´s in really bad conditions, but i think it has a lot of potencial, i´m an architect, if you want i could do some renders, or plans if they if they serve for something.

Tulane
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Re: Proposal on funds for the Old Spotted Dog Ground

Post by Tulane » 07 Feb 2020, 13:30

I believe strongly that our single most important objective is securing OSD as our home and my instinctive reaction is to support any effort that helps achieve that goal.
We have the resources and normally I would say Go for it.
I have a suspicion however that our landlords are hoping we are desperate enough to put those resources into this so they don't have to.
Surely they are losing income the longer it is before we take residence and as it stands it doesn't look like they can offer the site to someone else as a sports ground. We are their best bet as long as they are obligated to use the site as a public sports ground.
So my question is ....what is the worst that they can do if we say we will stay in Walthamstow until they have either fixed the ground up or agreed to curtail expenses we incur to fix it up - by a rent holiday presumably.
Big corporations move slowly unless they are losing money - maybe we should see how likely they are to respond to a delay of seasons rent because we are obligated to stay in Walthamstow.. I imagine Match-Day Centres will be keen for us to commit at some point also
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