League One Dumbarton has been asked to provide assurances over the club’s future after shareholders expressed “serious concerns” over a £1.3million takeover last May.
One of the founding members of the Scottish Football League, the Sons shared the first-ever league title with Rangers and are celebrating their 150th anniversary next year.
Concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding the club’s sale to Cognitive Capital, however, Supporters Trust chairman David Brownlee will seek clarification from the directors at a meeting scheduled for the end of this month.
Dumbarton has been asked to provide assurances over the club’s future amid concerns over a £1.3m takeover last May
The club have been sold to Cognitive Capital who have raised ‘serious concerns’ about the club
An investment vehicle for Norwegian Henning Kristoffersen, his wife Kamila Kristoffersen and Manchester-based architect Matthew Atkinson, Cognitive Capital bought the club from St Helen-based Brabco 736 last year.
Brabco sold out when plans to move to a new 4,000 capacity Renton Stadium featuring 200 new homes, a hotel, retail park, office units and community sports facilities were evicted by West Dunbartonshire Council.
The Kristoffersen Group intends to resubmit plans for a community center with a stadium on the same site, financing the move by building five villa-style houses and 32 apartments in the parking lot of the club’s current stadium, in side of Dumbarton Castle.
Concerned that the club could follow the same path as Clydebank if new stadium plans fail and Cognitive Capital has no use for the football club, the Sons Supporters Trust have written to the current board posing a series of Questions.
The Sons Supporters Trust wrote to the current board asking a series of questions
Trust President and former arbitrator Brownlee said sports mail: ‘As a registered cooperative with shares in the club and a seat on the board, the Sonstrust has a particular responsibility to voice the growing concern of supporters about events on and off the pitch. With Dumbarton’s 150th birthday coming up later this year, now is the time to directly answer the questions we’ve raised.
In a letter seen by sports mail, the Trust is seeking answers as to whether the new owners used Dumbarton’s assets as collateral against buying the club. The Trust has also asked for a full update on revised plans for a new stadium.
Shareholder Andrew Hosie’s role in the club’s current decisions is also in question after he was disqualified to act as a company director for 12 years in November 2016 following an investigation by the service of ‘insolvency.
Hosie secured around £7.161million from investors and syndicates before his company, Gambling Insight Ltd, went into receivership and investors lost substantial sums.
The Trust want to know if the new owners used Dumbarton’s assets as collateral against buying the club
One such investor, businessman Andrew Sweeney, is taking legal action against Hosie and has threatened to freeze Dumbarton’s assets as part of the £2m lawsuit he he claims to be due.
Approached by sports mail, Henning Kristoffersen declined to comment on the issues raised by the Supporters Trust. However, a source close to the new owners says they are in talks with local bodies over plans for the new stadium and have solid plans for the club’s future.
Last night the Scottish Football Supporters’ Association said it was ‘deeply concerned’ by recent events. Spokesman Simon Barrow, a former associate director at Dumbarton, said: ‘A number of us have been monitoring the situation closely for many months. There is a lack of transparency about who owns teams in Scotland and few guarantees. People who care about clubs like Dumbarton want to know his assets are safe. That seems to be far from clear right now.
Dumbarton is one of the founding members of the Scottish Football League
Dumbarton Community Stadium Ltd was founded to protect the club’s ground against sale for private use by means of a “preferred share”. Admitting that they too are closely monitoring developments, a spokesperson said: “The role of Dumbarton Community Stadium Ltd is to safeguard the continuity of ownership of the club’s assets and the significant investment of money audience needed to complete construction of the stadium in 2001.
“We are concerned about a series of transactions, centering on assets which have been registered at Companies House. We are actively trying to get clarification from the club on the purpose and effect of these moves, but so far without success.
Dumbarton constituency MSP Jackie Baillie added her voice to the fray last night when she said: ‘The football club is an important part of the local community and if there are any serious questions about its property and management, the Sonstrust – of which I am a member – has the right to increase them.
“I will continue to monitor the situation carefully and do my utmost to safeguard the future of one of Scotland’s most historic clubs.”