Since the takeover by the Rothwell family, the amount of day-to-day firefighting required by OASF has reduced considerably. As a result, we’re looking to settle into a ‘business as usual’ way of operating. Part of this includes publishing quarterly updates for our members to set out what we’ve been up to. This will replace updates on individual meetings.
“Fan Director Coming Through”
Following approval from the National League, OASF director Darren Mills has been appointed to the Board of Directors at Oldham Athletic. Darren will give a voice for all fans in the boardroom at Boundary Park.
It is a challenging role to split yourself between being a director of the supporters’ foundation and the Club. We thank Darren for agreeing to take on this responsibility. We are keen to learn from previous failings with OASF directors sitting on the Club board so will keep this arrangement under review to ensure Darren can meet the demands of both roles and is not put under undue pressure.
1895 Legends Series Retro Shirts
On 21 March, we announced our partnership with Hope & Glory, JW Lees Brewery, Palm Worldwide, and Push the Boundary to release retro shirts. This will be a limited run. We have a very small set of initial stock with the rest of the purchases needing to be pre-orders.
We are making changes to our website to accommodate the sale of the shirts. The shirts will be available to buy from our website from Monday 10 April. We will provide more information about prices and fulfilment timescales soon.
Future of the 1895 Fund
Until the takeover of the Club in the summer, we were collecting money in a separate fund to buy Boundary Park, to safeguard the future of the Club in Oldham. As the purchase of the ground by the Rothwell family has been completed, it seems appropriate to review what the money should be used for instead.
We’ve been considering and preparing a proposal to change the use of the 1895 Fund to put to OASF members in the coming months. The proposal will seek to shift focus to protecting the long-term future of the Club. We want to avoid making the mistakes of the past and squandering the donations you have generously made.
Instead, we will explore options to increase fan shareholding in the Club to give us a greater say in the future of Latics over the long-term. We began discussions with the Club board about increasing fan shareholding in our first board-to-board meeting on 1 March and will continue to advocate for greater fan engagement and involvement in Latics.
OASF Membership Fees
As we mentioned in our January update about converting to a community benefit society, our new Rules mean that we have to start charging an annual membership fee to be a member of OASF. At the last board meeting, OASF members reviewed an options paper and discussed the best level to set the fee at, taking into account our costs and wanting to avoid pricing anyone out.
We are making the relevant technical changes to our website to accommodate the new membership fee and made an announcement on 28 March. There will be an annual membership fee of £12 from 30 April. Please read our statement for further details.
Purchase of Boundary Park
We, like most supporters, were pleased to see the announcement on 23 March that the Rothwell family had completed their purchase of Boundary Park and its surrounding land. Returning the club and stadium to a single, reliable ownership seemed impossible a year ago.
Safeguarding Boundary Park has long been a key aim of OASF, with purchasing Boundary Park being the focus of the 1895 Fund last season. In the past, OASF also put a lot of work into listing Boundary Park as an asset of community value (ACV). This means OASF will be notified when the asset is being sold and given opportunity to make a bid. This protection wasn’t triggered in this case because the asset has remained the property of Brass Bank Ltd. The Rothwells simply acquired Brass Bank Ltd instead.
In the long-term, OASF will explore what other protections can be put in place. In fact, we’ve already made some proposals to the Club for safeguarding the stadium over the long-term. We’ll keep members updated on our progress.
Away Travel Sponsorship
We submitted a proposal to the club which aims to resolve the issue of supporter coaches being cancelled, with the added benefit of coach travel prices being capped. The proposal would guarantee no coaches are cancelled next season and the cost to travel to any away fixture would be fixed.
The club are happy with the proposal, but it is dependent on a sponsor. We’ve discussed with several potential sponsors but are yet to find the right fit. If you or someone you know may be interested in a sponsorship deal which benefits the club AND the fans, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The package the sponsor would receive is generous and the scheme would massively benefit OAFC fans.
OAFC’s Annual Accounts
The Club’s deadline to submit its annual accounts was 26 March and we can see that they were made available via companies house on 31 March. We would usually expect the opportunity to review the accounts, which is our right as a shareholder.
However, this isn’t something we are concerned about for the period covered by the accounts. As they refer to the period under the previous ownership which the current ownership cannot be held responsible for. We anticipate that they will not reflect a financially healthy club but the current financial situation is likely very different post-takeover.
FSA Community Benefit Society Training
In February and March, several OASF directors attended training hosted by the Football Supporters’ Association. The training was split over four sessions and covered the responsibilities of directors of community benefit societies including finances and annual general meetings.