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Club News


22 July 2015

The High Court judgment last week was massively disappointing for everyone at the club from the supporters and staff to the manager and players, and of course the board of directors.

Emotions are running high, and we know you all feel let down by the outcome.

Obviously many of you are worried where this leaves the club, and where we go from here.

There are questions you want answered, and we understand and respect that.

Here Toni Watola answers the questions supporters have been discussing since the judgment.

Q Is the club going to appeal the decision, and if so why?

Nick, Ed, and I went to London last Monday following publication of the verdict to sit face to face with our legal team and see whether they believe we have a real chance to win this case. The advice we received was very positive, and we believe we can be successful in our appeal.

Q Wouldn’t it be better to cut our losses, accept defeat and move on?

Our advice suggests that we have a very strong case, and we feel that to be so close to achieving a result following the huge amount of work, energy and money that has been expended on the project we would not be doing our best for the Club if we did not pursue this. 

Q How long will the appeal take?
We will need to convince the court to expedite our appeal, in which case we would hope to be in court by Christmas.

Q is there a chance UWE will walk away from the deal before then?
There is a chance that the UWE could decide to walk away, but they have indicated that they would like to defer making that decision for as long as possible. They are very supportive of our position and want delivery of the stadium, but they cannot defer their decision forever.

Q Won’t it be hugely expensive?
There will be a cost to this, but should we be successful then this will be covered by a damages claim payable by J Sainsbury’s.

Q Isn’t this just a case of good money being thrown after bad?
Should we lose then inevitably we will be accused of this, but having got this far we really cannot stop now, it would mean that the big guns of Sainsbury’s have won.

Q What would you say to supporters who think the club is wasting its time and money pursuing this case?
I understand their feelings, but as I have said on more than one occasion before, if it’s worth having, it’s worth fighting for.

Q Is there still a chance we will be able to build the UWE Stadium, even without funding from Sainsburys?
The chances of finding the funding would be very slim, given that the Club would need to have access to funds totalling £30 million+ in the short term.

Q Why can’t we re-develop the Mem?
The problem with this scenario is that we would need substantial funds to do this, which we do not have and is the reason why the sale to Sainsbury’s gives us the funding to build the UWE stadium.

Q Could we sell the Mem for housing and make up the deficit with private funding?
That is an option that we have looked at, but there is a large deficit to be privately funded, which would be difficult to find.

Q Has the club identified any other potential sites should the UWE deal fall through completely, if so can you tell us where these are?
We have, but they would require us to start from scratch again, which would involve both more time and funding, and for that reason we are not giving up on the UWE site.

Q Will the cost of a potential appeal affect the manager’s transfer budget for the coming season?
The playing side of the Club has always been seen as separate from the footballing side, and we will always try to support the manager, as we have done in the past. The playing budget for this season has been increased from last season, and will be constantly assessed as the season progresses.

Q What about on the pitch matters? Pre-season appears to be going well, and the new players seem to be bedding in nicely.
Darrell and the board have been very pleased with the preparations so far, but it is league results that matter. We have a great manager with a very solid team and we feel that the mood around amongst our fans and the local community is very positive and we hope that this is carried through on to the pitch and is reflected in the results this season. 

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