27/02/17: Joint Statement by all club shareholders
The shareholders of the Club confirm they have decided to end long standing talks with a Potential Overseas Investor.
The discussions started 20 months ago and were somewhat intermittent for the most part. Since June talks have progressed to a series of face to face meetings and just over three months ago an investment proposal was submitted after a visit to Brunton Park. This was considered closely and carefully. It was followed up by a written offer to invest in the Club including a funding proposal.
Although there has been some movement, it was felt by the shareholders that these proposals do not present a way forward they could support and just as crucially, were unlikely to gain the support of CUOSC members or the Club’s fans more generally.
The Club understand the prolonged time that these discussions have taken has not been what anyone would have wanted. Throughout, the shareholders have sought to allow sufficient time and every opportunity for credible proposals to come forward, to be properly and diligently reviewed and for a deal to be done, if possible. This process has now run its course and we have drawn a line and are now looking forward.
The desire to see new investment to take the Club forward and a succession of ownership remains unchanged.
This does not alter the overall direction of the Club. The structural and operational changes which began some months ago will continue to be made to strengthen and consolidate the off-the-field operations. Further additions to the board are planned. Regarding the on-the-field activities we will also carry on the rebuilding process started two years ago as we continue to support the manager and the team. We will now push on together with CUOSC representatives to finalise an updated shareholder agreement which will bring all parties closer together whilst helping to facilitate the new investment everyone connected with the Club wants to see.
The CUOSC Board will provide further detail and comment on the investment situation in this week's briefing for our members.
02/02/17: Statement from CUOSC
As we have already indicated, representatives of CUOSC originally met with the potential overseas investor (POI) and his agent in October and this followed on from an earlier meeting between the POI and club representatives.
After a period of some progress, tentative arrangements were made for the POI to visit Carlisle again on a couple of occasions. The intended meetings failed to materialise. Inevitably and for obvious reasons CUOSC reps together with the other owners are currently and urgently considering the implications of this and the actions to take. Regarding the shareholders agreement, the relevant documentation which will include provision for CUOSC to have a seat on the Holdings Company Board is now being finalised so it can be put to the CUOSC Board for consideration.
19/12/16: Press Statement on Investment in Carlisle United
CUOSC Board representatives (Billy Atkinson, John Kukuc and Jim Mitchell) have been in discussions on investment with the Club's other owners for 3 months now. These talks are focussed on possibilities for bringing considerable new money into the Club.
As we have said to our members, CUOSC is fully involved in this process. Our reps met with the potential overseas investor (POI) at Brunton Park in late October when he enthusiastically set out his plans and ideas for taking the Club forward. Since then there has been a lot of further contact and exchanges of information. The full CUOSC Board has been kept fully abreast of developments whilst respecting the non-disclosure agreement insisted upon by the POI.
The pace of things on the investment front has quickened in recent weeks. We do believe that the Carlisle United Board members recognise that further change is required and inevitable.The CUOSC Board shares that view and would very much like to see a firm proposal come out of this process which all involved with Carlisle United can get behind and support. As Nigel Clibbens implied in his Radio Cumbria interview, any proposals involving significant change at the Club are likely to involve risks as well as benefits. It is very important for CUOSC and the other owners that the finer details of any proposals are carefully considered and that the risks in any deal are outweighed significantly by the benefits for the Club, its fans and the wider community. We are only too well aware of the pitfalls which other clubs have encountered having gone for significant change and don't want ours to end up in the same boat.
As Nigel indicated on Saturday, the fanbase is permanent whilst the individuals involved in running the Club are not. It is crucial that any firm proposal to emerge is backed by the Club's supporters generally and via our members' ballot which would need to take place at the time.
As you will know from previous weekly briefings the fresh process involving CUOSC Board members ( Billy Atkinson, John Kukuc, Jim Mitchell ) and the other owners of the Club aimed at drawing in significant new investment has been running for some weeks now.
The discussions and negotiations have been constructive and positive and have involved at various points the potential overseas investor and/or his representatives. CUOSC is fully engaged in the process and this reflects its level of shareholding in the Club.
Progress is being made on investment possibilities. This will hopefully result in a detailed formal proposal being developed before too long which is as right for the future of the Club as possible and can be supported by all those connected to or interested in Carlisle United.
We hope you will understand that the finer details of the discussions and negotiations cannot be divulged at this point. This is of course the norm in processes of this kind. We will provide further updates via our regular briefings as things move forward.
20/10/16: Statement re: Investment in CUFC
Representatives from the CUOSC Board have resumed discussions with the other owners of Carlisle United aimed at finding ways of attracting new investment into the Club. These talks represent a new start with all previous firm proposals for investment being consigned to history.
We very much want to play our part in drawing in new investment to help the Club to move forward and to prosper. Any investment deal must of course be right for the Club, its fans and the wider Carlisle and Cumbrian community. If and when any firm proposal emerges the CUOSC membership will be asked to decide whether they support it.
The development of a new shareholders agreement is being considered as part of these discussions. A revised agreement would not only better reflect today's realities but would, like the current one, include a range of safeguards for the owners and the Club's fans in relation to new investment packages.
We will keep members as informed as possible as the discussions and any subsequent negotiations progress.
13/08/16: Statement from CUOSC
Following the 2016 AGM where a number of board members stood down, we have undertaken a restructure of the board and associated responsibilities
We would like to take this opportunity to thank those members who stood down this year for all their efforts over their time on the board including Lynda Johnston, Don Beacock and Jason Hettrick. Also a huge thanks to Tommy Earl who has taken a year's sabbatical from the board
We would also like to thank Norman Steel for his commitment over the past 10 years and Frank Beattie who has been vice chair for the past 5 years. Both Norman and Frank will now be concentrating their efforts primarily on The Business Club and CUOSC Corporate Membership
As a result of Norman Steel standing down as Chair and CUOSC Representative on the 1921 Operating Board at Carlisle United, we now have two new people in these positions to help take CUOSC forward. In order to achieve greater accountability it has been decided that the Chair and Representative on the Club Board should be two different people. Therefore, from 13/8/16 our new Chair is John Kukuc and the new representative on the 1921 club board is Jim Mitchell.
In addition we can also announce that the new Vice Chair is Mike Denovellis, the Alternate Director, to stand in at 1921 board meetings if Jim Mitchell is unavailable, is Billy Atkinson. There have also been a number of other smaller changes which were ratified at our board meeting on 13/8/16 in areas such as Membership
All proposals for these positions were uncontested and therefore no voting process was required. If any members would like to discuss these appointments please feel free to contact us
We are looking forward to a new positive stage in the development of the supporters club and its relationship with Carlisle United Football Club and urge all supporters to become part of this exciting and positive project, whether simply as a member, volunteer or more. The new season has got off to a positive start on the pitch and we hope that can be mirrored by exciting and positive developments off the pitch as well
13/05/16: Statement from CUOSC re: proposed issue of 1m shares in CUFC Holdings
To keep supporters up to date with the current investment situation we have prepared the following statement
Possible new share issue by CUFC Holdings
Following the reported events of last week, CUOSC has now received a letter concerning a possible new share issue from the directors of CUFC Holdings.
The information we have received in the letter gives little information other than that which has already appeared in the local media regarding the possible issuing of 1,000,000 £1 shares.
In particular it is still completely unclear:
(i) how any monies raised by CUOSC would be used (although £250,000 would appear to be needed to merely “stand still” at the current level of CUOSC shareholding) and specifically could or would the monies raised by CUOSC be used to pay off existing loans to the Club from other shareholders in CUFC Holdings?
(ii) whether there would be any new investment at all (other than from CUOSC) and if so how much would it be?
(iii) if there were to be any such new investment then from whom would it come?
(iv) which of the existing loans might be converted to new shares and to what extent?
The proposed share issue cannot proceed without CUOSC’s approval under the 2006 Shareholders’ Agreement although our approval can’t be unreasonably withheld and of course it wouldn’t be; as demonstrated by events of last year when in principle a dilution to 10% was agreed subject to completion of “the Lapping deal” new investment of over £1.2m and new CUOSC protection.
Clearly, in the circumstances, the board have had no choice other than to again take legal advice. We are being advised by John Wilson a corporate lawyer and Managing Partner at Baines Wilson LLP.
John is an original member of CUOSC helping to form the organisation in 2001, he was also a founder of the Carlisle United Business Club.
To enable CUOSC to take any decision regarding the proposed share issue a detailed letter has been sent by our lawyers requesting the information needed by any sensible investor to make such a key decision and also requesting an urgent meeting after receipt of such information.
We originally anticipated holding a members information meeting sooner rather than later, but it is with much regret we must put that on hold as first it is imperative we have answers to the questions we have raised with CUFC Holdings
04/05/16: Statement from CUOSC
Representatives from CUOSC met with Andrew Jenkins, John Nixon and Steven Pattison on 3rd May 2016 to discuss investment in Carlisle United
We confirmed to them that we did want to see further substantial investment in the club along with significant structural change, which would in turn give impetus to the club's progression going forward and provide a much needed boost for the new season in 2016/17
During the course of the meeting it became disappointingly clear that the proposal which had been tabled by CUOSC and a group of local business investors was not going to be pursued by the other major shareholders, despite the plan for @£2m of new investment coming into the club to help secure its financial future
They did discuss a counter proposal, however we are unclear on the finer details and wider implications of this proposal at this stage and are not aware of who may be involved as additional business investors or what specific sums of investment are being sought at this stage
As part of the counter proposal, plans for the issue of 1m new shares was discussed along with CUOSC retaining its current 25.37% shareholding in return for a proportional number of shares (@253,700) at £1 per share
The CUOSC board is meeting this evening (4/5/16) to discuss the implications of this proposal and the current situation and will be making the investment consortium aware of both this proposal and CUFC's unwillingness to progress with the combined CUOSC/Local Business proposal
As a supporters' organisation representing CUFC fans, we will of course need to canvass membership & supporter opinion of the situation before making any decisions regarding how to proceed and will of course take appropriate financial and legal advice - with the club's best interests informing any decisions made
Other topics discussed were the seat on the holding company board, the working relationship going forward and the on-going position regarding the potential overseas investor'
We are committed to bringing success to the football club. We can only consider any new investment proposition from CUFC once we are in receipt of a detailed written proposal from the club. We retain the right to negotiate any future shareholding based on proposals put in front of us. We would be happy to work on any credible proposal that is in the best interests of the football club and supporters
As part of the current CUOSC / Business Community proposal we emphasise that this this still very much available to be pursued
27/04/16: Statement from CUOSC re: Andy Bell & Hillsborough
CUOSC condemns remarks made via the Twitter account of Carlisle United Vice President Andy Bell on 26th April 2016. On the day that the Hillsborough Inquest reached its verdict, this was particularly sickening and hugely inappropriate
CUOSC would like to reiterate the fact that the views expressed on the account are not those of the Carlisle United Official Supporters Club and that we would expect Carlisle United to say similarly
We would also encourage Mr Bell to provide evidence from Twitter of the alleged hacking of his account at the earliest opportunity in order that the good name of Carlisle United and its supporters can be cleared of any involvement with this sick incident as soon as possible
We are part of the wider football family and in times of difficulty we all pull together, as has been demonstrated when events such as Hillsborough and the more recent Cumbrian Floods have taken place
Regarding the Hillsborough Inquest itself, it was incredible to see, after such a long time, that supporters were finally cleared of any involvement in the disaster. Our best wishes go to the families and friends of all those who died on that terrible day along with all those connected with Liverpool FC and we hope that the conclusions arrived at yesterday will finally allow them all to move on.
25/04/16: Statement from CUOSC re: fans' rep
We were saddened to hear that Claire Winder has stepped down early from the role of Fans Rep on the 1921 Board at Carlisle United
All on the CUOSC board and fans in general admired her for her honesty and the forthright manner in which she conducted herself
It is a difficult and challenging role, as we know only too well. Acting as an individual, without the backing of an organisation, makes the Fans Rep role even more of a challenge
We wish Claire the best of luck in the future
14/04/16: Statement from CUOSC
PLAN FOR LOCAL INVESTMENT IN CUFC
As we said in our statement issued at the end of last month, the CUOSC Board wrote to Andrew Jenkins on 23 March asking for a further meeting to discuss the latest proposals for local investment in the Club. We asked for a response to that letter in a fortnight but we haven't received one.
As a result we have again written to Andrew today to repeat our request for a meeting as soon as possible. We have indicated that we see the current investment proposal as the ideal opportunity for the Club to move forward from the present position of having 'custodians' at the helm to a more permanent and broadly-based community ownership situation involving significant new investment.
We have made it clear that the discussion we hope that Andrew will have with us will reflect his massive contribution to the Club over the last 56 years and cover the various possibilities regarding debt clearance/restructuring.
We would like to think that that as the Club's second largest shareholder and the official organisation representing its supporters Andrew will now let us have a response in the very near future.
29/03/16: Statement from CUOSC
Plan for local investment in CUFC
The CUOSC Board wrote to Andrew Jenkins last week to attempt to find a way forward. We firmly believe the time is right to bring in new investment and fresh faces to the club and to put in place a plan to stabilise the club's finances and aim for sustainability. It is vitally important that we remove our reliance on individuals like Andrew in the years to come. The club's business 'model' is clearly 'broken' and in need of repair and re-structure.
Whilst we, along with our business partners are willing to be patient, it is imperative to progress these plans as the club's short-term improvement in finances is only likely to last one season. We are still awaiting news on the underlying performance of the club's finances for this term. Last year's figures saw a loss of over £600,000 - another loss like that would gobble up a large portion of the club's cup run and transfer windfalls.
The letter highlighted three key areas we need to look at:
1. Current Supporters/Local Business Consortium Proposal
The club's owners have stated many times that they believe in 'local control' which involves keeping the club in local hands. The proposal put forward by Andrew Lapping last year provided for this but was rejected. The current proposals, although different in some ways to the Lapping plans, are another attempt to keep the club in local hands.
We believed there was some misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the terms of the proposal, particularly in regard to what was on offer to repay existing debts. A meeting with Andrew Jenkins would address this and re-state our intentions when it comes to clearing and re-structuring debt.
CUOSC recognises the outstanding role Andrew has filled over 50 years and the chance to re-state the details behind the proposal would allow us to demonstrate how we can maintain the 'local control' over Carlisle United whilst removing the huge financial burden the club's significant financial needs have placed on Andrew and his family business.
2. Potential Overseas Investor
CUOSC feel it is necessary, indeed imperative, to finally 'move on' from this overseas investor. Over 10 months have elapsed since news first broke of apparently significant overseas interest. In the meantime there has been no firm proposal put to the club of which we are aware, and contact with the investor himself has been minimal to non-existent. It was made clear to us that while the door was apparently still 'open' to this source of investment, provision was being made for local investors to come in, too. The amounts being mentioned were not significantly different to those proposed by the current CUOSC/Local Business plan. Indeed, there was a chance the amounts raised would fall well below the figure we feel we can achieve with the current proposals. We have suggested to Andrew that it is time to draw a line in the sand under this particular avenue and focus instead on a 100% 'local' solution.
3. CUFC Holdings Board
As part of a planned re-structure of the football club, we were promised a seat on the club's Holdings board at the start of this season. The re-structure has only partially been carried out, but we have once again requested the opportunity to take our place on this board. The plans outlined to us called on Holdings to act as a strategic board, meeting about 2 or 3 times a season and with responsibility for such areas as management recruitment, transfer budgets and long-term financial planning.
We are requesting a meeting with Andrew with a view to getting the proposals back on the agenda as we have no reason to think that the club's future prosperity is going to be assured with the current model in place. We have lost close to £2m in recent seasons and as things stand, one-off cup and transfer windfalls are only going to provide temporary respite. With the current situation being one of relative stability, we believe this is the best time to bring in investment. To wait until we are in deep water again would be folly. We are determined to make sure the club is stable and has a platform for future success.
22/02/16: Press Statement issued to News & Star re: investment
The deal is still on the table, in the absence of any other viable deals, we are willing and looking to discuss this further with the Holdings Co directors. At the end of the day it is very simple, we all want the best for this football club and this local deal involves people who have that aim at heart and is what the Holdings directors have always stated they wanted. Financially it has been a good season, with two unexpected cup runs, but now is the time to build on that and get around the table to secure the future of the club in the long term, not just the next few months'
11/02/16: Statement from CUOSC
THE LATEST PROPOSAL FOR LOCAL INVESTMENT IN CARLISLE UNITED
In our most recent official statement issued on 6 January we indicated that an outline proposal for substantial local investment in the Club had been developed during December last year and discussed with the directors of the holding company. At that stage the intention was to put more detail into that proposal ahead of further dialogue with the Club. Further meetings to discuss these investment plans have now taken place and the CUOSC Board would like to bring members up to speed with where things currently stand.
It might be helpful firstly though to reiterate the steps which led to where we are at present on the local investment front. It was about eighteen months ago that CUOSC reps were introduced to Andrew Lapping by John Nixon and Andrew Jenkins. A firm investment proposal was subsequently developed which was supported wholeheartedly by the CUOSC Board and the membership but, as we know, those plans did not come to fruition. Nevertheless, the Club made it clear some months later that it was still seeking local investment. In early November 2015 CUOSC was presented with a couple of local investment suggestions by the Club. After consideration the CUOSC Board felt that those ideas did not go far enough towards achieving the required long term financial security and stability for the Club. Consequently, it was agreed by the Club that CUOSC would pursue alternative and more financially beneficial investment ideas prior to further discussion taking place.
The Current Investment Proposal
Pursuing other ideas led to the investment proposal which is presently on the table, amongst the aims of which are to :-
. put CUFC firmly in the ownership of the local community ( i.e. fans and businesses ) via an investor consortium model
. raise £2m of new investment through the business community and CUOSC
. ensure the future financial stability and solvency of our football club
. protect the asset of the football ground for future generations of fans
. make CUFC an attractive concern thereby providing a platform for future investment
. set out and achieve ambitious targets relating to investment and revenue generation
. build upon the momentum of current success on the playing side to create and maintain success across the Club
The proposal envisages that the investor consortium will be made up of CUOSC and around 12 - 15 major business investors. The strategy is for these key players in the local business world to raise £1.5m and for CUOSC to raise £0.5m from its members, other fans and smaller businesses. This arrangement would result in an expected shareholding of 25% CUOSC, 75% business community depending on the amounts actually raised by the respective parties.
The Club's Response to the Proposal
Following further meetings with the Club it has become clear that the CUFC Holdings directors do not wish to pursue the current proposal. This is particularly disappointing for the CUOSC Board as the proposal :-
. was developed to deliver on the agreement with the Club that CUOSC would seek to identify and present fresh investment ideas
. would result in a financial contribution to the Club roughly ten times greater than the Club's November '15 proposals
. would eliminate the Club's over-reliance on the generous financial contributions from Andrew Jenkins and relieve him of that unacceptable burden which was stated by the Holdings directors to be one of their major aims when they first raised the Lapping possibility with us
. is felt to be very much in the best interests of the community's football club and in keeping with the on pitch improvement this season and the team manager's ambitions for further progress
The CUOSC Board and the business investment group have indicated to the Club that their offer of investment will remain in place should there be a change of heart in the near or mid-term future. We hope that the consortium's plans will be welcomed and supported by CUOSC members and the wider fan base. Those involved in the consortium are genuine fans of the Club and, like all fans, want to see it progress and to be in a better financial place for the long term.
As it isn't realistic to provide too much detail in a statement such as this, the CUOSC Board wants to arrange a members' meeting to take place in the next couple of weeks or so to provide the opportunity to learn more about the present proposal and for us to receive feedback on it. We will be joined at the meeting by Robin Brown and Graham Mossop who are leading on this initiative on behalf of the business investors alongside the CUOSC Board.
We will be in touch with members in the next few days regarding the venue, date and time of this meeting. Although the focus will no doubt be on the local investment possibilities, other CUOSC/CUFC matters will also be on the agenda.
In the meantime, here's hoping for 3 points at Newport on Saturday as we seek a return to League 1 next season, via the play-offs, or otherwise!
06/01/16: Statement from CUOSC
NEW PROPOSALS FOR LOCAL INVESTMENT IN CARLISLE UNITED
As we indicated in our three statements issued in November, CUOSC has been in discussion with directors of the Holding Company about the Club's proposals for local investment. During those talks it was agreed that CUOSC would pursue alternative and more beneficial investment ideas with a view to further discussions with the Club taking place. CUOSC then began a dialogue with businesses about attracting local investors.
During December an outline investment plan was developed and agreed in principle by several local businessmen and CUOSC representatives as a coherent and workable initiative. The aim of the plan is to raise a substantial seven figure sum which would give Carlisle United much needed financial security and stability and to continue the progressive change process which has already begun. This new plan has been discussed with Club representatives. The intention now is to put more detail into the proposal prior to further consideration of it by and with the Club.
Should the plans reach a more advanced stage all CUOSC members would be put fully in the picture and, as on previous occasions, be asked to consider giving it their approval in order for it to proceed.
When there is more information available we will issue further statements. In the meantime, the CUOSC board will continue to work in the best interests of our, your and the community's football club.
30/11/15: Statement - Proposals for Local Investment
PROPOSALS FOR LOCAL INVESTMENT
The CUOSC Board gave further consideration to the Club's latest investment proposals at its meeting on 28 November 2015. The Board came to some unanimous conclusions which will be discussed at a further meeting with Andrew Jenkins and John Nixon as soon as one can be arranged.
We are sure that our members and the wider fanbase will understand that until we have responded face-to-face to the Club's proposals it would not be appropriate to release any of the details involved. What we can say to everyone is that we are very keen to play a significant role in seeking to improve the financial security and stability of the Club to match the big strides forward we are seeing in the team's performances, commitment and results.
We will issue a more detailed and informative statement as soon as our next meeting with the Club has taken place. In the meantime we would be happy to respond to anyone who wishes to discuss this or any other CUOSC or Club related issue with us.
Following last Thursday's meeting involving Andrew Jenkins, John Nixon and CUOSC Board representatives, a brief meeting was held on Saturday morning to bring other Board members up to speed with the local investment ideas presented to us.
It was left at the end of Saturday's meeting that Board members would mull over these fresh proposals, advice on their implications would be sought and initial thought would be given to alternative investment proposals prior to the Club's ideas being further considered at the scheduled full CUOSC Board meeting to be held on Saturday 28 November.
Following that meeting there will be further dialogue with the Club as we try to help to put it in a better financial place for the mid and long term future
20/11/15: Joint statement from CUOSC and Carlisle United FC
Representatives of the CUOSC board met with Andrew Jenkins and John Nixon on Thursday this week to discuss the investment situation at Carlisle United
The make-up of the holding company board was discussed and a future structure aligned with potential new local investment.
Talks are ongoing and the investment proposals discussed today will be examined in detail by the entire CUOSC board this week. Further updates will be given as and when possible
10/10/15: Statement from CUOSC
We have received a number of supporter questions recently which we would like to take the opportunity to respond to publicly through our direct channels so everyone is aware of the answers and developments.
A lot has happened over the past few weeks and months and we have been spending a lot of time working with the club on particular issues and developing CUOSC itself; as well as organising the first meeting of the CUSG (Carlisle United Supporter Groups) which took place this week. More information on the outcomes from that meeting will be publicised on Monday 12th October
We have been working with the club (particularly Phil King and Suzanne Kidd) on a number of initiatives; we have had a positive response to our appeal for volunteers to help out on match days as 'Meeters and Greeters' with a similar brief to the 2012 Olympics 'games makers'; we have also sourced a more permanent match day facility so CUOSC can have a presence to meet members and prospective members before kick-off. It needs some work to get it ready for match days, but we hope to have that ready soon. We continue to liaise with Phil and Suzanne at the club and have arranged a regular meeting date with them to discuss issues and progress on a consistent basis as there are plenty of ideas and projects we will be getting involved with, not least having a presence in the supporters bar on match days.
As many will have noticed we have also secured a regular weekly column in the Evening News and Star thanks to Jon Colman, which allows us to communicate to a wider fan base including those in West Cumbria, on a regular weekly basis. As from this week that has also gone online via the CUOSC website and Facebook pages.
CUFC Season Ticket Holders became official CUOSC members 5 weeks ago, with only 10 opt-outs (some of which were required due to media employment commitments) however, we have only been able to gain their contact details in the last week or so from the club, so we haven’t yet been able to communicate to them as a group.
However, on that front we are putting together a comprehensive ‘Welcome Pack’ for all our members (now some 1,500+) including professionally-designed membership cards (very like the club's season ticket cards in appearance). This significant increase in members requires us to work in a different and more professional manner to administer the membership effectively and efficiently. Given that the CUOSC board are all part time volunteers, this has taken some time to complete, but we are almost there and our board re-structure and provision of accountable roles was done with this partly in mind. The Welcome Pack will communicate a lot of information to the membership about CUOSC, about the volunteering options (Match Day Experience, Remedial works at the ground etc) available through CUOSC and the Supporter Groups CUSG, about what our plans are for the future and about engagement of supporters from within CUOSC and outside in order to clearly show the whole fan-base just what CUOSC and supporters can do to assist the club.
On the investment front, we have had several meetings with the club's other owners Andrew Jenkins and John Nixon concerning investment and these discussions are on-going. They have assured us that the potential overseas investor with significant financial resources is still in discussions with them. We understand that many supporters are somewhat sceptical, particularly as time goes on, and are both concerned and interested in the outcome. Our entire board met with Andrew Jenkins and John Nixon last week and we have agreed a smaller working group to take the investment talks with them forward. We believe the overseas investor has asked for confidentiality at this stage and although we respect this, we have also asked John Nixon once again for CUOSC as the second largest shareholder in the holding company, to be included in any further discussions and we await a response on that point. With the club’s best interests at heart it is crucial that we ensure we do everything we can in order to facilitate any suitable positive investment proposal, which in this case means treating the situation with the confidentiality requested. As and when we are able to update supporters on any developments we will do so without delay.
We will be heavily involved in the process of attempting to bring in local investment to the club and have been party to the plans to restructure CUFC, where we are seeking a strong say on both the Holding Company and 1921 boards. We have stated to the Holding Board Members that we consider we could provide a meaningful contribution at both a strategic and operational level and have assured them we are working proactively in the interests of the supporters and the club.
There has been some speculation about Keith Curle’s contract with the football club and of course we cannot either discuss or speculate about private employment contracts in public as these are primarily the business of the club and the employee. The CUOSC representative on the 1921 board is fully aware of the current situation.
Carlisle United recently appointed a Fan Rep to the 1921 club board. We have had many discussions with the successful candidate Claire Winder and she will be attending our next full board meeting at the end of October. She was also invited by us to attend the Carlisle United Supporter Groups (CUSG) meeting this week, which is a CUOSC initiative. Claire took a very active role along with the other supporter group representatives and we now have a number of projects in the planning stage which we will be able to update supporters about in more detail on Monday 12th October.
We anticipate the Welcome Packs will be going out very soon and we will be looking to organise a meeting with the new supporter membership in the coming weeks for the pooling of ideas and actions
27/07/15: Statement from CUOSC and Carlisle United
Carlisle United and CUOSC joint roadshows
Representatives from Carlisle United Football Club and Carlisle United Official Supporters Club (CUOSC) will be hosting a series of joint roadshows around the region in August in a bid to address any concerns or queries, and to discuss any points fans may have, following the rebranding of The United Trust and the launch of an official supporters’ club this month.
Season ticket holders will be automatically enrolled as members of CUOSC when the optional opt-out period runs out on 28 August, with a proposal already in place which seeks to bring the fans and the club closer together as we head into the 2015/16 campaign.
Former Members of Carlisle United, who received a range of benefits upon purchase of their season-long membership, can also sign up to CUOSC with immediate effect as the new supporters’ club starts to take shape.
“We’ve provided an opt-out option for our season ticket holders in the information pack we sent out last week,” financial director Suzanne Kidd said. “We’re delighted to say that a very low number of fans have taken up the option, and we hope that by doing these roadshows we will be able to encourage more of our fan base to hop on board with us.
“The benefits of having an official supporters’ club are endless and we’re looking forward to regular meetings, events and discussions with CUOSC as the season moves forward. These roadshows give fans an opportunity to meet us face to face and raise any issues they feel they have. We urge everyone who can attend these events to come along and contribute to what we hope will be lively and productive discussions.”
CUOSC board member Nigel Davidson said: “Come along to meet CUOSC and staff from Carlisle United at the joint roadshows to discuss the creation of CUOSC and the closer relationship with the football club, giving you the chance to air any ideas and suggestions you may have and ask any questions you have about the club and the supporters club.”
The proposal is as follows:
+ All season ticket holders (excluding minors) will be automatically enrolled as members of CUOSC (an opt-out option has been provided).
+ The club will recognise CUOSC members as full Members of Carlisle United Football Club and will grant the benefits associated with this membership.
+ The club and CUOSC will set up a committee representing both parties and will meet regularly to discuss areas where all parties can work together.
+ The club will provide regular updates and information for dissemination by CUOSC to their members, as they see fit.
The roadshows will consist of a short presentation followed by a Q&A session and an ‘open floor’ discussion where suggestions, concerns and ideas can be put forward and addressed.
Roadshow details are as follows:
Tuesday 4 August – Sunset Suite, Brunton Park – 6pm
Friday 7 August – Penrith AFC – 6pm
Wednesday 12 August – Royal British Legion Club, Workington – 7pm
Thursday 13 August – Hazeldene Hotel, Gretna – 7pm
CUOSC - Supporting Local Football in Cumbria
18/07/15: Press Statement
John Nixon & Andrew Jenkins invited the board of CUOSC along to a meeting on Friday 17th July at Brunton Park. We had met with both the directors on a couple of occasions recently, but had not received any concrete information regarding the investment situation at either of those two meetings.
John Nixon had also asked us to invite a representative from each of the supporter groups which we were pleased to do and as such reps from The London Branch, Away Travel, West Cumbrian Travel and the Cumbrians.net Message Board attended along with us at one of the meetings.
There were actually a series of meetings throughout out the day yesterday involving the club board (CUFC 1921), CUOSC, the supporter groups and the club staff.
With regard to the Andrew Lapping deal, we were both surprised and shocked by the situation and the allegations. In all our dealings with Mr Lapping he always conducted himself with the utmost professionalism; however, we are clearly not party to all the facts and as such it would therefore not be prudent to comment any further on this matter at this stage.
However, the meeting did include a number of positive points:
1. It was confirmed by John Nixon & Andrew Jenkins that any new investment deal/share issue will require a new CUOSC board recommendation and member vote regarding issuance of new shares and the potential dilution of CUOSC's 25.37% shareholding. This decision would then form the basis of the CUOSC vote within the holding company. Hopefully this will reassure supporters that a deal cannot be steam-rollered through without supporter agreement.
2. CUOSC will shortly have, as a result of the restructure, a seat on the holding company board and we warmly welcome this development. This will be backed up by an additional supporter representative on the operational board of the club
There is a need for stability at the club now, especially given that we are now just weeks away from the beginning of a season where so much is at stake. We will continue to meet with John Nixon & Andrew Jenkins in the coming weeks and hope to have further information regarding the potential investor shortly.
We wish to assure all supporters that we are working to get the best deal possible for the supporters and the club in the future and look to stand as one with supporters and supporter groups especially on this issue.
We welcome any queries you may have and given that the CUOSC AGM takes place next Sunday (26th July) this would form an excellent platform for such queries to be aired. Current non-members can attend the AGM simply by joining CUOSC on the day for the cost of just £10 per year (cash only at the AGM)
(On behalf of CUOSC board)
CUOSC AGM 11.30am Sunday 26th July 2015, Foxy's Restaurant, Brunton Park
08/06/15: Press Statement
Members of the United Trust Board met with representatives of a number of the Carlisle United Supporter Groups (CUSG) on 27th May & 6th June 2015 to discuss the rebranding of The United Trust and the future joint-working the CUFC supporter groups. We will be having further such discussions on Wednesday 10th June 2015
During these meetings The United Trust Rebranding, Supporter Groups Joint-working and the current investment situation were all discussed. Of the groups with whom we have spoken, all are behind the Trust’s plans regarding rebranding and the supporter groups joint-working along with being united in their commitment to Carlisle United, the Supporters and the Community of Carlisle, Cumbria & South Scotland
We are now planning to expand these discussions to the United Trust Membership and then to the wider supporter base by means of a number of additional meetings - further details of these will be made available soon
We are currently at a critical stage in our club’s history and now more than ever the United Trust’s current substantial shareholding is key to any future investment plans. This shareholding represents the voice of the supporters and as such we would urge as many Carlisle United Supporters as possible to join the United Trust in order to have your voice heard, to be part of any discussions regarding potential future investment proposals and any subsequent votes
The investment position at the club is currently very unclear given that Andrew Lapping’s Proposal appears to be on hold and the Trust has been afforded no further information from the club at this time regarding the recent approach to Carlisle United’s Holding Company Directors from an, as yet unnamed, potential investor
However, supporters should rest assured that any new potential proposal will be fully scrutinised by The United Trust Board and appropriate recommendations will be made to the membership in the same way they were with the Andrew Lapping proposal. The United Trust will do everything in its power to secure the best investment deal for Carlisle United & its supporters. If you want to be part of that decision making process then please join The United Trust today and have your voice heard
To download a membership form please visit http://www.united-trust.org.uk/downloads/appform.pdf or contact us via email at email@example.com or by phone 07840795368 (Alastair Woodcock, Secretary)
On behalf of The United Trust Board
19/05/15: Press Statement re: new investment offer
The United Trust, following the statement re new investment from CUFC, would like to clarify that the approval to dilute its shareholding was voted for by the membership on the basis of the Andrew Lapping plan and no other. We still remain committed to this plan and the bright future it promises.
These new proposals will need to be examined with all the care and diligence that Andrew Lapping’s proposals were and if it was felt the proposals had merit the approval of the membership would be sought again.
23/01/15: United Trust Press Statement re: Investment in CUFC
The United Trust and its representatives, who have been privy to some of the discussions taking place over new investment in the club, welcome this afternoons statement from United chairman Andrew Jenkins.
They feel this statement clarifies what the exact situation is and hopefully this will dispel the myth and rumour which has been circulating. All of the parties involved are working on a solution that will be best for the long term future of Carlisle United Football Club and its supporters.
13/01/15: United Trust Statement
Supporters have been asking about the United Trust's take on the current situation at Carlisle United. There's no doubt that it's been a difficult few days for the club and the Trust understands fans frustrations. What is really important now however is that we all, all of the CUFC supporters, the team & club pull together as one and be patient, as Keith Curle alluded to earlier.
If any trust members have specific questions please address them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible or pass them on to the club board if necessary
19/12/14: THE UNITED TRUST - Statement concerning the loan write off by Mr F Story
The United Trust would like to thank Fred on behalf of all supporters for this magnificent gesture in writing off this substantial loan. His contribution over the years to the football club and the community has been not only generous but very welcome.
The United Trust would welcome any new investment in the club and will be proactively working alongside the other owners in the pursuit of new investment. The Trust, like all current and recent owners of the club only want to benefit Carlisle United and the local community.
Supporters should take this opportunity to support the club in all ways possible.
The Board of The United Trust
22/05/14: United Trust Press Release
A resounding ‘No’ to League 3
The United Trust of Carlisle United like so many clubs, trusts and supporters across the country are seriously concerned by the restructure proposal made by FA Chairman Greg Dyke regarding the national football pyramid. The United Trust is totally opposed to this poorly thought out and insufficiently researched idea to include a so-called ‘League 3’ which would consist, in-part, of Premier League B-sides.
The very fabric of the game in this country, the home of football, is under threat as a result of this idea. To simply invent B-Teams of highly paid Premier League youngsters with no real supporter base to play in an additional tier within the pyramid, which will increase the difficulty for Conference teams to achieve their objectives of playing in the football league will change the game at lower league level irreparably. The focus on Premier League clubs and their associated wealth, achieved in-part through the Sky TV deals, highlights the gaping hole in the FA’s understanding of what a football league club actually is - to its supporters, the local Town, City, economy and the very ethos of football - a game for the masses to enjoy, from grass roots to the top tier with the idea that a team can make its way up the football pyramid and bring increased success and a greater sense of pride to the club, its support and the local area.
Greg Dyke’s insistence that supporters of ‘lower league clubs’ would welcome playing a ‘Stoke B Team’ clearly illustrates that the committee is so far disconnected from real football supporters that you have to question if it is actually fit for purpose – speaking on behalf of the United Trust we can assure him that playing the likes of a Stoke, West Ham or Aston Villa B Team would significantly decrease the home and away support, reducing turnover quite considerably at a time where every pound for football league clubs count – on top of that, ‘we simply don’t want ii’ which arguably why we have never been asked.
The United Trust would welcome any genuine proposals that could increase the National side’s opportunity to be successful at major tournaments such as the World Cup and the European Championships, but this proposal appears to show no evidence of this being achievable, whilst at the same time extinguishing the desire, dreams and aims of many lower league clubs. A reduction in the influx of non UK players to the Premier League & Football League with a cap on the numbers eligible to play in each game in conjunction with a more regular competitive home nations competition for the national side such as the 6 Nations that has seen the likes of England Rugby rise to become one of the top 3 or 4 sides in the world are two ways in which more home grown young players could experience playing at the top level and allow the England Team to gain valuable competitive international tournament experience to give them a better opportunity for success in the major European and World competitions. The funding of Youth Teams and development programmes at non-league and football league level would also allow for more raw English (& British) talent to be successfully developed.
We would like to state that we as a supporters trust are also distinctly unhappy with the way in which the FA Commission did not seek to take account of the views of the clubs or supporters of the lower leagues or football conference when researching their report and did not engage with support groups such as Supporters Direct (SD) or the Football Supporters Federation (FSF). As we understand it, SD twice submitted, their response which was never acknowledged until after the report was published. They received an apology from the administrator of the Commission, and he said he would 'pass on the submission' however at the time of writing SD have heard no more from the commission. The FSF submitted their response and had it 'acknowledged' but were never spoken with directly. FSF Chair Malcolm Clarke is meant to represent supporters on the FA Council which makes the fact that FSF were not even consulted so much more insulting. It is important to stress that there are actually ‘no fans on the Commission’.
Interestingly, Roger Burden, the apparent representative for the non-league game on the Commission, and Vice Chair of the Conference, agreed with the findings. Yet Brian Lee, Chair of the Conference said "He doesn't speak for us". Likewise Greg Clarke, Chair of the Football League, whose clubs are in open rebellion about the proposals. The Conference board put out a statement as follows: ’neither its chairman nor any other members of the Board of that particular competition were in any way consulted nor were their views sought directly or indirectly’ despite FA Commissioner Danny Mills stating that they were consulted.
The United Trust
11/05/14: United Trust Press Statement
The United Trust can confirm that since 2006 that it has never been approached directly with a view to selling any of its shares.
However, it can confirm that it was advised by Carlisle United managing director John Nixon that the club had been approached last year by somebody wishing to purchase shares for the sum of £250,000 [25 shares as the Trust understands it].
The United Trust is unaware whether or not the other shareholding directors were in a position to sell any of their shares at that time.
The Trust was advised that its contact details were to be forwarded to this person, but no contact was ever received.
In relation to any potential investment, the Trust would examine any potential offer and take it on its own merits; making any decisions in the best interests of the club and its supporters.
It is worth noting that the option of creating new shares in a business normally exists and is an excellent way to raise funds, as has recently been exhibited by the Workington Reds share scheme.
What is important to stress now is the The United Trust continues to develop good working relations with the club and are continuing to supply volunteers for various projects at Brunton Park.
The United Trust
02/05/14: One Last Throw of the Dice
As at 11am on Friday Carlisle United had sold 1050 of their allocation of 1838 for the away game at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday 3rd May 2014 (kick off 3pm), there are still tickets available directly from the ticket office at Brunton Park as well as via phone and the Carlisle United website
The United Trust would like to call on ALL Supporters of the club along with members of the United Trust, CUFC London Branch, Away Travel Club, corporate members of the Business Club and any other groups to make sure those remaining tickets are snapped up by the deadline of 5pm today (Friday 2nd May 2014)
Hopefully, we can take the maximum number of supporters to Wolverhampton in order to cheer the Blues on with ‘one last throw of the dice’ to secure our League 1 survival. Hopefully the sight of approximately 1800 Cumbrians cheering on the Blues in the away end at Molineux will help inspire the team to a famous victory and demonstrate to the players in no uncertain terms just how important this club is to all of us and to the city as a whole.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of those amazing supporters who have attended the games in what has turned out to be a very difficult season; to those who have travelled home and away, covering thousands of miles throughout the season in support of this incredible football club. We along with the Club and all of the supporters would hate to see us relegated at the end of a season that began with so much promise and anticipation in the air and call on all supporters in the city, the county, throughout the country and even those special groups dotted across the globe such as the Norwegian Branch to rise to the challenge and support us away at Wolves on Saturday.
It may take another Jimmy Glass smack, a Kav blast from 30 yards or a Brightwell thunderbolt to do it. At this stage all we are certain of is that the script isn’t yet written, we have the chance along with the team to write that final chapter for this season and influence the outcome as the 12th man. So often when all has seemed lost for Carlisle United we have found that moment of magic and risen like the Phoenix from the ashes against all the odds so let’s take that one last roll of the dice together in the hope that come 5pm on Saturday we are still a League 1 football club
The best of Luck to the team and safe trip to and from Wolverhampton to all of our supporters…
The United Trust
20/01/14: Hull City FC and the 'No to Hull Tigers' Campaign
The owner of Hull City AFC, Dr Assem Allam, has proposed recently that the club change its name to 'Hull Tigers', which appears to be against the wishes of the majority of the club's supporters
The Board of The United Trust (Carlisle United) would like to express its full support for the fans of Hull City AFC who are campaigning to prevent Dr Assem Assam, the club’s owner, from changing its name to 'Hull Tigers'. The United Trust would like to express support for Hull City Supporters and their campaigns 'City Til We Die' and 'No To Hull Tigers'. It is critical that The Football Association recognise both the history and traditions of the club in this case and also ensure that any potential consultation process is meaningful, democratic and respects the wishes of the club’s supporters
The most important point about the situation at Hull City AFC is that Dr Assem Allam is trying to push through the name change without consultation with the fans and doesn't seem to want to consider their views in any way whatsoever. It is critical for the good of the game and the future of football and other sports clubs that supporter engagement is considered as one of the most important aspects of running a club and that any potential new owner/part owner is fully aware of this before taking over a club and adheres to it once they have taken over
David Conn of The Guardian commented on this via Twitter on 14/01/14 as follows:
@david_conn 14/01/14 via Twitter - 'Assem Allam insists on Hull City change to Tigers'
@david_conn 14/01/14 via Twitter - 'Classic from Assem Allam about fans' opposing Tigers name change: "No one on earth is allowed to question my business decisions"
@david_conn 14/01/14 via Twitter - 'Assem Allam's threat to walk away from Hull City if he doesn't get the name change to Tigers: has lent £72m, which he'd probably want back'
The United Trust wonders how we as Carlisle United supporters would feel if a new owner came into our club and proceeded to ignore the wishes of both the United Trust and the supporters as a whole by deciding to change the club colours to say 'Red' or 'Pink' and the club name to 'The Carlisle Chieftans', 'Brunton Blizzard' or some other ridiculous American Football sounding name. The best way to ensure that this type of decision is not steam-rollered through without consultation with club supporters is to back your Team's Supporters Trust, or to start one if one doesn't currently exist, then to invest money into the club via the Trust for a reasonable shareholding to help the Trust secure a seat on the club board and to then ensure that the Trust plays a full and active part in the democratic process within the boardroom and engages as fully as possible with the supporters in order to deliver the views of the supporters to the club board and vice versa.
Trust numbers are growing all the time and there are currently 180 supporters trusts across Europe. The governing body for these Trusts is 'Supporters Direct' who 'promote the value of supporter and community involvement in the ownership and running of clubs, enabling supporters’ trusts to secure influence and become a constructive voice in how their club is run. There are now over 30 clubs owned by their supporters including AFC Wimbledon, Exeter, AFC Telford and Wrexham, and numerous clubs with directors on the board – including Cambridge United, Carlisle United and Premier League Swansea City' (Source: Supporters Direct Website http://www.supporters-direct.org/homepage/aboutsupportersdirect)
Other Supporters’ Trusts have pledged their support to the local campaigns in Hull such as those from Manchester Utd, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Norwich City and Cardiff City, who remain opposed to the ‘rebranding’ of the their club which is being forced on them by their owner Vincent Tan, also with no supporter consultation. 'MUST' the Manchester United Supporters Trust stated recently that "We might be rivals on the pitch, but we are united off it" and the United Trust could not echo that feeling more strongly at this time...
The United Trust
11/04/13: SD STATEMENT: POMPEY IN THE HANDS OF THE FANS
FROM SUPPORTERS' DIRECT: Trust to take majority control after successful legal battle
Portsmouth FC are to become the biggest community owned club in Britain following the resolution of the case brought by the Club’s administrator, Trevor Birch, today in the High Court in London, over the sale of Fratton Park.
The deal, which means that Fratton Park can now be sold to the Club, removes the final hurdle which has seen fans of the Club pledge funds to a Pompey Supporters Trust Community Share Issue, and which will result in majority ownership by the Trust. They now have a further year to purchase as many shares as they can.
Kevin Rye, spokesman for Supporters Direct, said:
“This is of course a fantastic day for the supporters’ trust movement, and we think something that football should celebrate as well. The work that went into making this possible is extraordinary, and I don’t think its significance can be underplayed. However what has made this possible at its heart, beyond anything that any one single individual or organisation did alone, is that the fans of the club, and the community of the City of Portsmouth, united to ensure that their club can now be in the hands of the people who sustain it”
Please contact email@example.com or call 0044(0)7852998542 for more
08/02/13: Supporters Direct Event held at Portcullis House, Westminster
REPORT –BACK TO SUPPORTERS DIRECT EVENT AT WESTMINSTER 5TH FEBRUARY 2013
It was standing room only at the Supporters Direct event held at Portcullis House, Westminster earlier this week.
Almost 70 MPs and trust representatives from across the country were in attendance along with the media.
Key measures proposed by Supporters Direct and endorsed by a cross party select committee of MPs include;
The Football Authorities would include a rule, as part of the new football club licensing arrangements , that guaranteed a structured relationship between Supporters and Clubs by the start of the 2013/2014 season.
The department of Media , Culture , and Sport establishes a government expert group to explore methods of removing barriers to increased collective supporter share ownership in their football clubs.
Football ( sports ) stadiums to be declared as community assets and legislation to be introduced to protect the asset as such.
Most of the cross party select committee of MPs were present which included several keynote speeches. The Chair of the select committee , John Whittingdale MP , was the final speaker and stated that if the football authorities were not prepared to carry out their agreed reforms of the governance of the game then Parliament would do the job for them. He closed the meeting on a positive note by saying he had received favourable feedback by all of the relevant parties
THE BOARD OF THE UNITED TRUST-8th FEBRUARY 2013
04/02/13: Trust representatives to attend key event in Westminster
UNITED TRUST PRESS RELEASE 4th FEBRUARY 2013
Delegates from the Carlisle United Supporters Trust (The United Trust) will attend an event at the Houses of Parliament tomorrow (05.02.13) along with many MPs. The guest speaker list is long and those present will include the MP for Carlisle, Mr John Stevenson.
The aim of the event, hosted by Supporters Direct is to lobby MPs and promote further awareness of the needs of some of the reforms required by the Football Association particularly greater financial governance within a strict licensing system.
The United Trust, a full member of Supporters Direct, is more than happy to offer its backing to the various initiatives being undertaken in a genuine attempt to bring greater stability to our national game.
Further updates and information will follow once the event has taken place.
THE BOARD OF THE UNITED TRUST
Carlisle United Official Supporters' Club (CUOSC)
Tel: 07999 73 73 90
IPS Reg No: 29220R
A secure future together
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