Please see our response email to Trust Oldham this evening following their earlier club update;
Firstly thank you for your timely response and for addressing all of the issues in our original correspondence. We understand these are testing times, however we are an independent supporters group who have the fans interests at the heart of everything that we do and everything that we put out. Therefore it would be unfair to correspond and not ask the questions our supporters want the answers to. In life and in business sometimes the most difficult conversations are still the right ones.
Progress has been slow and it is very difficult to see any real signs of positive change both on or off the pitch. There is no point in sugarcoating it as these days are pivotal to the clubs future.
In response to your email please see our comments below.
Payment to Players
Your comments regarding the timeliness of wages are taken on board. We will be keen to monitor this going forward given the measures that are being put in place by regulatory bodies regarding points deductions for late payment of wages. It was unclear from your correspondence whether a resolution was in sight regarding the senior members of staff who had refused the offer of furlough. Therefore can you provide an update? These players will be free to seek out new clubs which would therefore make a positive resolution less likely by the day.
We would imagine that most employment tribunals come as a result of a breakdown between employer and employee so this wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. What is a worry is the frequency at which they seem to occur with our club. Your comments are noted that this shouldn’t happen again and we would expect this to be the case.
Ending of the Season
Your comments are concerning in this regard. An announcement is being delayed with regards to the end of this season but you have admitted that sales are still taking place for next season, which as it stands, is just as much up in the air as the conclusion of this season. This begs 2 questions:
1. How many season tickets have we actually sold to date? You will note the results from our most recent survey regarding this as our concerns were raised prior to the current pandemic. It is noted that no formal response was given to these results by either the club or yourselves.
2. Do you think it is morally right to take money from fans when the club don’t know what will happen next season (in terms of allowing fans in the stadium) while simultaneously holding back the offer of refunds for the current term? Refunds that fans are entitled to.
We are surprised that this wasn’t raised by yourselves. The ownership and the stadium purchase will no doubt play a big part in the decision to renew so we would encourage this response as a matter of urgency in the interest of being fair to supporters. To see individual responses to supporters by the MD without an official stance being publicised by the football club has been very disappointing as it offers current season ticket holders no clarity. This comes after a proportion of season ticket holders were removed from their allocated seat due to the closure of the North Stand. Another situation where we are yet to see a clear resolution.
We would argue that it is not a positive that the club has been cooperative, it should be an expectation based on your shareholding in the football club that they would provide full copies of the accounts for you to analyse in detail. It is sad that there has been no resolution possible to the accounts from the previous period and we would expect at the very least that lessons have been learnt on both sides to avoid a situation like this arises again.
With regards to the latest set of accounts can you please advise whether the current nondisclosure arrangement will remain in place or whether you will be able to provide full commentary around the accounts that you see from the last accounting period. Can you also inform us whether these accounts will be fully audited or whether it will be an abridged/unaudited copy as per the 2017/18 period.
While writing, we note that we are yet to see the minutes from the Trust meetings in January, February and March and would like to agree a deadline for supporters so these can be published. It is your obligation to fans to produce these minutes in a timely fashion for supporters but this is something that you consistently fail to deliver.
Your urgent attention to this matter would be greatly appreciated at this current time. Given that all you are doing is providing clarity on specific issues, we see close of play on Wednesday as a very achievable deadline considering you have a trust meeting on Monday.
Just so you are aware, we will be publishing this for the benefit of the fanbase.