02/12/99 Chairman Tracey Newport tells
supporters "debts are close to zero" after claiming to have
wiped £250,000 off the clubs debts. £140,000 of this is director's loans
which have been written off, with some of the remainder the club's overdraft
which has now been cleared.
16/11/99 Rob Thomas has written off his
£47,000 loan to the club and has sold back his 32,000 shares for £18,000,
ending the former chairman's involvement with the club. As part of the
deal Colin Gardner's £8,000 loan is also cancelled. The board have previously
pledged this move would mean other director's writing off their loans,
leading to a total of £140,000.
12/11/99 Local businessman Richard Bull
joins the board to replace Dave Phillips as football director. The appointment
offers hope to supporters as he is known to be have been friendly with
Rob Thomas and Brian Hughes.
23/10/99 Hughes thanks supporters for
helping with his player's wages with continued cash donations. He has
received over £1,000 in total from fans this week.
21/10/99 Terrace demonstrations against
the current board followed tonight's announcement that the Supporter's
Club had formally withdrawn their support for the current administration,
citing lack of information and mounting belief the board do not have
the best interests of the club at heart. The statement urged directors
to sell to Colin Gardner. A poll of fans revealed 98% wanted the board
to accept the former director's offer. The demo gets front page coverage
in The Citizen.
15/10/99 Former City chairman Rob Thomas
is angered by an apparent snub by the current board to his offer to
wipe out his company's loan to the club and to also sell his shares.
The offer has been on the table for over a fortnight. Thomas's comments
come as current Chairman Tracey Newport appeals in The Citizen
for Thomas to write off his loan.
12/10/99 Tracey Newport cancels a meeting
with supporter's representatives at forty minutes notice. Manager Brian
Hughes is threatened with the sack following a meeting with supporters.
He is not to discuss finances with the supporters or to accept money
or donations from them. However Hughes is still responsible for funding
his playing squad.
8/10/99 The offer of a £260,000 loan from
former director Colin Gardener lapses after a month on the table. The
loan would have been secured on Meadow Park but would have made the
debts more easily managed and removed the urgency of payments to the
Inland Revenue and City Council. Newport appeals to Colin Gardiner to
write off the £8,000 he loaned to avoid the club being wound-up by Dave
6/10/99 - Injured City midfielder Nathan
Wigg appeals for the club to pay his wages as he has been unable to
work as normal since he broke his leg in his third game for the club
back in August. Wigg has not received either his wage or his promised
signing on fee, and unlike other players has not been able to either
play or find another club. Wigg is threatening to take the club to an
FA tribunal despite the boards claims all contracts are null and void.
Darren Keeling is in a similar position as he cannot play until an operation
which the club will not fund, leaving him stuck on an NHS waiting list.
23/9/99 Former Chairman Rob Thomas writes
a letter to shareholders in response to the letter from Chris Hill.
He points out that there were audited accounts to June '98 available
to the new board, with those up to June '99 not yet available due to
the time taken by the auditing process. Thomas also denies the new board
did not know of Mike Bullingham's £800 plus unpaid wages, he states
they received written confirmation on August 16th. Thomas states that
far from being a 'new' debt the historic Bass debt of £6,000 had been
included in audited accounts, and was dormant with the club having good
reason to believe it may be written off.
18/9/99 The latest shareholders
letter from the board via Chris Hill estimates City's debts at around
£500,000. It states a Bass historic debt of £16,947 and a debt of £3,173
to Mike Bullingham in unpaid wages. There is also a debt of £890
for the club ties, and a loan for £8,380 the club is "being pressed
to pay". Expenditure at the club is still in excess of income,
and the debts are higher than the value of the stadium.
Hill goes on to state the board are looking at options including insolvency.
However the preferred option is to offer the trade creditors and directors
owed return of their loan on 20p per £1 basis, reducing a debt of £200,000
to £40,000, leaving the remaining debts of mortgage and unpaid tax to
14/9/99 Newport threatens that unless
Thomas and Gardner write off their loans City could be wound-up. Gardner
has responded angrily stating that he will not talk to Newport until
he receives a response to his offer to the club that the board has not
had "the common decency" to respond to. Thomas states writing
off his debt would rely on him either receiving 43,2000 shares or the
board taking up Colin Gardner's offer.
11/9/99 Tracey Newport appeals for former
directors Colin Gardner and Rob Thomas to write off their loans to the
club, stating that with this done other directors will copy them, wiping
£140,000 from the club's debts. He is quoted as saying the club's total
"current deficit is in excess of £200,000". The wage cut is
blamed on "poor results, low gate attendance and the lack of immediate
financial backing for the club".
8/9/99 Tracey Newport tells Brian Hughes
the board has decided to slash the player's wage bill from £3,500 to
£2,000 a week. The decision comes just three weeks into the season and
only weeks after Hughes was told by the same board to go ahead in the
search for three additional players. Contract players will be allowed
to leave or face a substantial pay cut. Hughes is angry assurances he
gave to players in good faith are not being honoured by the board.
Dramatic scenes followed the defeat at Clevedon as directors were confronted
by furious supporters outside the club house. Directors failed to explain
the situation and several became abusive towards fans. Newport stated
to the local paper that the cuts were due to gates at Meadow Park falling
below a break-even figure of 800, the board blaming disappointing results
for low crowds.
2/9/99 Former Chairman Rob Thomas re-iterates the club's debts at the
point of his resignation in a letter to shareholders. They are stated
£100,000 non-interest bearing debenture to Clifton (now Britannia) Homes,
£50,000 of which is secured on the stadium but doesn't become payable
until at least 2012.
Balance on long-term loan of £139,000
Trade debts (inc. backlog on wages, electricity) £34,000
Past PAYE (due within 6 months) £23,000
Current PAYE owed £9,000
Bank Interest owed from Jan. 1998 £3,900
VAT owed on payment plan £21,000
Current VAT due in July £6,800
Bank's working overdraft £27,000
Director's Loans £127,000
Bass Brewery historical loan £4,300 (being paid at £91.67)
TOTAL: £495,000 (of which £256,000 is immediate inc. directors loans)
24/8/99 Manager Hughes is told to take
responsibility for raising cash to fund his playing squad. The board
have made the decision after discovering new players are expecting signing
on fees which the directors claim they had no knowledge of.
18/8/99 Chris Hill sends shareholders
a letter outlining current debt. Barclays show debt to them to be £169,000
paid at 3% over base rate, while city have a £100,000 debenture with
Clifton Homes. Other creditors are owed a total of £130,000 and director's
loans total £100,000. The 'mystery backer' mentioned by the board is
proposing an anonymous donation of £5,000.
3/8/99 Newport confirms the board will
not accept Gardner's offer. Cook refuses to sell his shares and the
board will go alone in seeking new investors for the club.
29/7/99 Colin Gardner offers to inject
£260,000 into the club by becoming mortgagee of Meadow Park. This would
consolidate all the club's debts into one payment back to Gardner at
4% over base rate, removing the immediate financial threat. Gardner
would require that Brian Cook and Dave Phillips sell
him their shares to increase his stake in the club. He also points to
three other potential investors who would support the club if his offer
27/7/99 A consortium led by solicitor's
clerk Tracey Newport take control of the club with Newport as acting
chairman. The group includes Brian Cook, former director David Phillips,
local businessman Mark Blanchfield, McGurk's wife Sarah Christie and
an unnamed backer. The new directors pay off the club's pressing £6,000
25/7/99 Rob Thomas tells an open meeting
that he is resigning as chairman. Colin Gardner withdraws a £200,000
offer to buy Meadow Park as he say's it was conditional on Thomas remaining
as chairman. Supporter rumours persist that Thomas has been engineered
out by major shareholder Eamonn McGurk.
March 1999 AGM for 97/8
Last year's accounts are announced at the Shareholder's AGM on 31st
March '99. They show an annual profit of £105,363 for the period between
July 1997 and June 1998. However that amount includes all the extra
income and donations raised during January 1998's financial appeals,
and all the profits are set against paying off the club's longstanding
debts. The club still has financial difficulties, although thanks to
the work of the Directors and the publicity surrounding the threat of
a winding-up order the situation is seen as gradually improving.
The club still owes more than £214,829 to be paid within the next year
to March 2000, although that shows a huge improvement on the total £555,188
debt the Club faced to clear in a similar period the previous year.
The sum includes money still owed in tax and money owed to the bank
in terms of loans and overdraft. The club owes a further £305,766, but
much of that does not require paying for many years - and even this
long term debt is decreased from the previous years accounts. Overheads
have once again been cut, with the whole wage bill (covering all staff
as well as players) has again been cut and now stands at £292,139 for
38 staff of which 23 are players. This compares with a bill of £322,453
for 41 staff the previous year.
Chairman Rob Thomas remains hopeful of the clubs long term future,
and sees the situation improving further. However, cost cutting could
well continue, and the selling off the Social Club (Fieldings) remains
a distinct possibility, with an annual saving in excess of £25,000.
Shareholders were also issued with a register of those holding shares,
at present 214 people. Many are minor shareholders with between 20 and
40 shares. The two largest shareholders are Eamonn McGurk with 69,000
and Rob Thomas with 31,900 out of the total 150,000. The next largest
shareholding is 6,638. It remains the policy of the board that there
shouldn't be any one shareholder with total control of the club.
Full Accounts 30/6/98
Turnover rose from £456,790 in 1997 to £659,347 in 1998.
Operating profit rose from a loss of £319,474 in 1997 to a profit of
£129,224 in 1998.
Meadow Park as freehold property had been valued by directors in June
1997 at £540,000. During the year 1997/8 land valued at £240,000 was
sold to Eamonn McGurk of EMG Ltd. for £211,244. This has led to a revaluation
of Meadow Park at £300,000.
The amount owed to creditors with one year was £555,188 in 1997. This
decreased to £214,829 in 1999.
The amount owed to creditors over a period longer than a year in 1997
was £332,404. this had dropped in 1998 to £305,766.
Employee costs, including players, management and bar staff fell from
£322,453 in 1997 to £292,139 in 1998.
January 1998 Bankruptcy Crisis
On January 5th 1998 chairman Rob Thomas issued a desperate
plea to raise £32,000 in order that Gloucester City could pay an £82,000
bill from the Inland Revenue for PAYE bills over the past few seasons.
If the bill wasn't paid Gloucester City faced a winding-up order at
the High Court on January 14th. This debt was said to have been ran
up by previous chairman Keith Gardner who left the club, and the bill,
in May 1997. Since that time the new board had succeeded in paying off
a debt of £240,000
to Carlsberg-Tetley, plus a number of other debts to local firms and
contractors who had gone unpaid during the Gardner years. This money
had been raised through cost-cutting and increased sponsorship revenue.
Rob Thomas revealed in February that when he took over in June 1997
the club owed £409,687 -by February 1998 reduced to £75,000, and finally
cleared in July 1998. The club announced a loss of £376,002 for the
season 1996/7 at the shareholder's AGM.
The winding-up order was averted by string of donations from supporters
and local firms, the largest being a £5,000 donation by Birds Eye-Walls,
matched by an anonymous supporter. The final sum to enable City to pay
off the Inland Revenue was secured with a short-term interest free loan
from Gloucester City Council. The new board and Chairman Rob Thomas
promised the revenue crisis would be the club's last financial crisis.
With the £82,000 raised City could look to the future, but to ensure
success they still need sponsorship and donations.
Debt Clearance by July 1998: Gloucester City Council's £20,000
loan was repaid with a second £10,000 payment at the end of March 1998.
The club still owed yet more money to the Inland Revenue for the 1997/8
PAYE bill with £18,000 remaining to be paid off in £6,000 monthly installments.
A £30,000 quarterly VAT bill has been knocked down to £9,200 after good
work by City's accountants and is being paid off in monthly £1,000 payments
with £8,195 completed by the summer of 1998. The club also had bad debts
owing to the police, MEB and Severn Trent but all these bills are now
cleared or reduced to normal trading levels. To pay off these debts
the board has budgeted for £10,000 from new sponsors Orange, Tesco,
Ecclesiastical Insurance and the C & G building society plus a further
£4,000 from current sponsors. This was boosted in May 1998 by the announcement
of a two year £20,000 package agreed with Brunsdon Insurance. The club
has also been helped by £15,000 from the bequest of house contents by
a recently deceased supporter Ken Selwyn, and expects to make a further
£40,000 from the house sale. By July 1998 the club was saving £5,600
a month previously being paid out on bad debt collected over previous