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Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Part 1

Posted: 11:53 05 Apr 2012
by PL2 3DQ
We've now received the answers to the Pasoti Q&A with James Brent, Martin Baker, Peter Jones, Richard Holliday, David Felwick and General Manager Jason Turner.

Thank you to everyone who posed a question; there were many questions and this has taken a huge amount of time to sort through and answer so thank you to James, the Directors and Rick Cowdery.

The answers also appear on the club official website.

http://www.pafc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0 ... 36,00.html
http://www.pafc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0 ... 42,00.html
http://www.pafc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0 ... 46,00.html
http://www.pafc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0 ... 48,00.html


To start it off James has posted a short message:

Dear Ian and colleagues,

Thank you for the questions submitted on PASOTI . It is clear that a lot of time has been put into raising and collating these questions, which must be a good sign as we develop the new governance regime for the club.

The Board is absolutely committed to ensuring that we have a governance structure which sets new standards for the football ‘industry’ and, save where it would damage the interests of our club, to have a transparent approach to communicating with the club’s fans.

In this spirit, my colleagues and I have tried hard to answer the questions raised.

Clearly, there are some questions which are raised which reflect matters that are work-in-progress and the answers will become clearer over time.

I hope, however, that we have been able to address the majority.

With fingers crossed for Friday and Monday.

Yours sincerely,

James Brent

THE MANAGER

The club is in danger of relegation. Was it a mistake to appoint an inexperienced manager like Carl Fletcher, particularly when other struggling clubs appointed an experienced manager?
Naughty Forty; Lee WSM; Womble; Simon and Sam my 7 year old son; Calum Abbot; Darren Stoneman

A:There were a number of factors that I (and then the Board) needed to consider in confirming Carl’s position as manager. On the downside, there was inexperience; on the upside, passion, commitment and drive, knowledge of the players and club, thoughtfulness, loyalty of the players, etc. The appointment was not without risk, but any appointment would have had risks. The Board is happy with Carl’s performance thus far and we are hoping this will be sustained for the remainder of the season.

If you had to go into battle, who would you rather have: a leader who has fought in many battles and has the experience and knowledge to lead a campaign; or an inexperienced leader who has been into battle but does not have the tactical knowledge to lead from the front? This man should be under the experienced leader learning the ropes.
We are in a result driven game, and I am sure that, if one of your companies was not making money, you would want to know why, and try to rectify it.

Roger Day

A: Ideally, I would rather have an experienced leader who also had the attributes listed above. A person with all these attributes was not available to us, but, with Carl, we have ticked a lot of boxes. Perhaps this is why many war-time leaders have been in their 30s, as Carl is.

I expect the management teams in all our businesses to perform; our businesses are results-focused also. When we have an issue, I try to understand how it arose and what the Board and I can do to help improve performance. Sometimes it is the manager’s fault and the issue cannot be addressed; more often, it is outside his or her control and/or he or she needs help to improve. In my view, the frequent dismissals in football are extraordinary.

Could you describe John Deehan’s role at the club?
Steve

A:The purpose of the role of Director of Football is to provide mentoring and one-to-one coaching and technical support to the first-team manager and his assistants on a daily basis, whilst enhancing programmes that support the development of players within the club, to ultimately improve first team performance and results to attain a higher League position.

This role is responsible for liaising with the Board of Directors on matters relating to the football side of the business within the budget limitations of the club, for example: identifying potential player acquisitions for the club; handling players’ contract negotiations; facilitating selected players’ movement out of the club in a professional and appropriate manner, all with the support of the Club Secretary.

FIGHTING relegation

It’s fair to say all fans were happy when the club was eventually bought and it gave, to a point, some optimism for this coming season, only so far as to expect that we wouldn’t struggle as badly as we had done the previous two seasons. Clearly, that optimism has been unfounded.

I wonder, as a self-confessed non-football fan, are you aware of the consequences of this club falling out of the Football League? If so, do you, or the Board, plan to take any action to give this club the best possible chance of remaining in League 2?

Garry

A: As you know, the club remained in administration for a significant period as the Joint Administrators sought a bidder and then chose a preferred bidder who failed to perform. The club was hamstrung during this period and collapsed to a position that many pundits felt was irrecoverable. A significant number of new players have been brought into the club, the disciplinary record has materially improved, and the results have followed suit. We are not out of the woods yet, but we are pointed in the right direction. I remain very optimistic about our club: imagine what we can achieve without the handicap with which we began this season.

FINANCE

If the club is relegated, will there be any staff redundancies? Will the club still be able to make payments to the staff as part of the deal after administration if the club is relegated?
ArgyleIggy

A: As I made clear from the outset, plans A, B and C involve us retaining League status and this is where our focus has been. We have ensured that new playing contracts protect us from relegation (and we will continue to do this going forward) but, otherwise, we have not focused on relegation; no discussions have been had about staff redundancies in this event. The payments to staff are contractual and are not dependent on League status.

How badly affected is the club by the football debt that must be paid off over the next 5 or so years? Are we still going to be able to compete financially with our rivals?
Womble

A: The annual payment of football club debt is £200,000 per annum - a large absolute amount, but less than 5 % of the club’s forecast turnover. Our player budget (even allowing for the football club debt) is the envy of the vast majority of League 2 clubs and many in League 1.

Will the long-term debt repayment have an effect on the money available for the wage within the cap limits? If it does, could you provide any indication, even if in broad percentage terms based on projected attendance/shop trading information, on how the payment of the long-term debt will impact on our wage-cap for the next few seasons if indeed it will impact at all?
Neil B

A: Please see above. Yes, it does count against the wage-cap but is relatively modest (less than 5% of turnover) and will not materially impact on our ability to compete.

Can you make public the debt situation - how much debt is the club still carrying following the Administration process, to whom is it owed, and what are the repayment plans?
Richard Jones

A: The club has no financial indebtedness other than the £275,000 of convertible securities which are expected to convert into equity and then a loan of £330,000 repayable to Plymouth Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust, of which we have paid back £33,000.

The debt owed to football creditors is around £2.8m - some £900k is payable over the next four and a half years and the balance of £1.9m at the end. The payments will be accelerated by 50% of unbudgeted income, starting with the last payment first.

You may be aware that there are amongst the fans those who have said that you are simply a hard-nosed businessman whose prime/only motivation is to make money for you and your companies. Equally, there are those who see you as a philanthropic investor whose prime motivation has been to save Plymouth Argyle. I’d be interested in your response to both extremes.
Knecht

A: The rationale for our involvement was initially to underwrite the club’s future to buy time for another purchaser to acquire it (the Administration was unfunded and if the Administrators were not confident of sale, liquidation was highly likely). In this sense, our involvement was philanthropic. We are very happy, however, to have seen our underwriting exercised and we look forward to developing the club.

I do not believe that football clubs make for sound investments. It may be that the development at Home Park creates a profit, but there are no shortage of development sites in the South West.

Do you have any notion, at this stage, what sort of split between profit and investment you foresee and on what premises you may base your decisions?
Knecht

A: I anticipate that any surpluses generated by the club are likely to be reinvested in football activities. We are hoping to develop a new grandstand for Plymouth Argyle Football Club and this will provide the club with further income. Plymouth Argyle Football Club will not be exposed to development risk on the Grandstand.

Q: May I ask whether the liabilities for the football creditors (to be paid over five years) fall to Akkeron/yourself or to income into the football club (via gate sales, merchandise sales, etc.)?

May I also enquire as to the status of the debts to Mastpoint, Ticketus, Lombard, Sir Roy Gardner and the Development Trust (i.e., whether they have been paid, when they are due to be paid, and how they have been/are being paid?) I appreciate some of these are slightly personal questions but in this new era of transparency, and in the light of recent worries expressed about our ability to re-pay this debt, I feel a statement of the extent of it and how it will be paid would be most welcome.

May I go on to ask that if a large proportion of this debt re-payment comes from income into PAFC, to what extent you are entirely confident that this debt will be able to be re-paid if we drop out of the league, which will inevitable see a decline in the attendances?

Sam Down

A: The football club liabilities are a primary obligation of Plymouth Argyle Football Club. One of our companies has provided a guarantee: £200k is payable per annum and the balance of £1.9m in five years time, but this will be accelerated by 50% of unbudgeted income. We are confident that this debt will be serviced, regardless of league status. The loan from the Development Trust is being repaid by quarterly instalments over five years with interest at 1.75 % pa. Plymouth Argyle Football Club has no primary liability to any of the other parties you mention although some participate in windfalls (e.g. any sale of club; promotion to Championship/Premiership; and, in the case of Lombard, super profits on development).

May I ask you how close the club were to liquidation before you decided to put your money where your mouth is?
Deep Throat

A: We don’t know for sure: the Administrators were clearly in control of this. The Administration was, however, unfunded and I suspect the club was very close to liquidation.

Would you still have purchased the club if there wasn’t an opportunity to own the land surrounding the stadium?
Calum Abbot

A: Yes, but not on the same terms.

When the commercial developments are finished will any of the profits be invested in the football club?
Calum Abbot

A: The expectation is that the club will get a new grandstand without bearing any of the development or build cost; failing this (which is in my view unlikely), it will share in the development profits.

Are there any plans for the current debt situation to be shared with the supporters?
Calum Abbot

A: Please see answers above.

My only real concern is that if we are relegated, with the lack of revenue we would receive, is there any chance of a ‘double dip’ and end up in Administration again, like we are seeing with clubs like Port Vale and Portsmouth who have both been in multiple administrations in recent years? My question to you is how do you plan on not letting this happen?
Neil Smith

A: No, I do not see this as a material risk: the debt obligation (described above) is manageable and is guaranteed by one of our companies. My understanding is that Port Vale’s and Portsmouth’s latest Administrations did not result from unexpected relegation, but from other club-specific issues.

I want to ask a question on the players’ current contracts. From my understanding, most clubs which suffer financial problems leading to administration can only seem to get players on short-term contracts (i.e. one, maybe two years at best). I wanted to ask whether this is the case with our current squad and, if so, whether the contracts would be renewed before our best players get snapped up by our rivals?
Chris; Dave Burns

A: We have not seen this as an issue. We have got most of the players that we wanted. We have kept the contracts reasonably short and have typically introduced relegation clauses to protect the club.

Mr Brent,
You have described your purchase of the club as costing you “millions of pounds worth of liabilities” so I have two questions:

If the chance arises to allow people with a long standing interest in the club or football to buy Argyle from you, would they have to just take on responsibility for these “liabilities” or would you expect an additional cash payment, and if so how much?

Grovehill

A: We have no intention to sell Argyle. If we did at a future date, the terms would, of course, be determined by market conditions at that future date.

Do you believe that the club can be self-sustaining in financial terms over the next five years while the football creditor debts have to be cleared, or do you intend to provide funding to ensure the club can continue? If you provide extra funding would this be in the form of a loan with interest being payable, or as a straightforward gift to the club?
Grovehill

A: We have injected additional cash since you raised the question and the form and terms have been publicised. Whether or not additional capital is required will depend on a number of factors. No terms have been set for any future capital raise.

Are the rumours about staff being “asked” to go self-employed correct?
Grovehill

A: Coaching staff working part time – usually evenings – with the youth squads will, in future, be paid on a ‘self-employed’ basis to both streamline the administration process and reduce the costs to the club. All coaching staff have been retained on this new basis

Are you envisaging any other changes to the T&Cs of employees?
Grovehill

A: No.

Are you able to reveal the extent of Argyle’s “football creditor debt”? How long will it take to repay this debt assuming no unanticipated additional income through windfalls? Is this the only debt that the football club has? To what extent will this debt prevent Argyle from paying competitive wages necessary to attract players capable of achieving promotion to the Championship?
Lunarjetman

A: Please see response to Knecht and Neil B in answer to all but your last question. As noted, the annual debt repayment is manageable relative to turnover and will not materially impact on our ability to recruit and retain good players.

NEXT SEASON

Will there be any investment into the team for next season?
Naughty Forty; Steve Gray

A: We will continue to strengthen the team next year but the budget has not yet been set by the Board.

The club is in a precarious position in so many ways and it’s hard to look beyond this season at the moment, but whatever league we find ourselves in can we be assured that the on the field football side of the business will be given a high priority?
Mark Pedlar; Matthew

A: You have our assurance.

If we are relegated to the BSP, what plan is in place to ensure we make a swift return back to the Football League?
Connor Clarke; Chardreadz; Darren Stoneman

A: The focus has been on retention of League status. The Board will look at what is required to achieve promotion from BSP if and when this becomes relevant.

Will the supporters have any input into the designs for next season’s kits (this has proven to be a fantastic form of engagement at other clubs)?
Darren; David Weeks

A: The time-schedule in choosing a kit for next season necessarily meant that the process had to move very swiftly after completion of takeover of the club. Simply, there was no time to seek supporters’ input. However, in future years, we will try to involve the Green Army in the selection process. We are very hopeful that the designs will go down well with fans – and we have also secured back-of-shirt advertising for both home and away shirts.

NEW GRANDSTAND/RE-DEVELOPMENT

When is work likely to start on the replacement grandstand and what do you expect the capacity of Home Park to be once the work is completed?
Gaspargomez; Lloyd; Chardreadz

A: We are hopeful that, subject to necessary planning consents and putting in place the requisite funding, work can start within the next couple of years. Capacity of the stadium has not been finally agreed but we hope will be circa 20,000 and will be designed to facilitate a further increase in capacity when required.

Is the car-park and development land owned by PCC, the club or another sector of Akkeron?
Richard Jones

A: As per the recent announcement which your question pre-dated, the car-park and development land are now owned separately from the club. The owners have, however, contractually agreed either to build a new grandstand for the club or to share in profits. The strong expectation is that the new grandstand will be delivered.

Will the supporters have any input into the design of a new grandstand?
Darren

A: Yes, that is the intention.

The turnstiles outside the Grandstand are 80 years old. They were built and paid for by the supporters, i.e. our grandparents and great grandparents. As we see with so many other clubs when redeveloping their grounds, nothing of the club’s heritage is kept in the race to stay “up to date”. Are there any plans to save the old turnstiles or integrate them into the new grandstand? It would signal how proud the club is of its heritage whilst moving forwards with new facilities.
Kevin Dacombe

A: We are at an early stage in designing the new grandstand. We will consult our fans: any and all thoughts are welcome. As discussed below, we will certainly want to recognise and share the club’s history with future Greens and visitors.

Are their plans to include a Hall of Fame within the new Grandstand development?
Greenrod

A: Our thinking has not progressed to this level of detail but thank you for your comments which will be taken on board and considered by the Grandstand Committee when it meets. I believe that there will be support for preserving and sharing our proud history.

It appears that the football ground is now owned by Plymouth City Council, but a piece of land (car-park?) was kept owned by Mr Brent. Will any of the revenue from developing that land be returned to the club? If so, what kind of percentage and over what period of time?
Greenblooded1

A: Please see earlier responses and those to the set of the questions relating to the investment and land sale at Home Park.

Can the plans for the grandstand wait and we concentrate on the team and using funding to ensure we stop this rapid descent down the footballing pyramid?
Matthew

A: The Board strongly believes that the development of performance on the pitch and the hospitality and environment for fans are complementary, not competitive. In other words, we think we should do them in tandem rather than sequentially.

If the grandstand is built, does it include any revenue flow back into its staff and players?
Matthew

A: We believe that the club will increase both its match-day and non match-day income from a new grandstand and that this will facilitate further development of the club and its team.

Will a new grandstand attract sufficient open air concerts in order to fund our losses, and more during a close season?
Matthew

A: We hope that concerts will provide the club with some additional income, but, unfortunately, the margins are not great. Additionally, we hope that increased utilisation of the stadium will help create Home Park as the sporting and leisure centre of the South West, bringing in footfall and wealth to the city for the benefit of Plymothians.

As part of the proposed Grandstand development will there be some form of bar area/ social club built within as seen at many other clubs. It’s an excellent way to generate revenue and bring many fans together prior to kick off.
Greensummit

A: Yes there will: agreed.

If we go down to the BSP, would that delay the building of the last part of the stadium, i.e. the grandstand?
Brian Rogers; Tony Smith

A: The timing of a new grandstand is unlikely to be impacted by League status. All attempts are clearly being made to avoid relegation but, if we were relegated, we would endeavour to seek promotion at the earliest opportunity.

What will happen to match-day hospitality side of things if the knocking down and rebuilding of the grandstand does go ahead?
Sean

A: We will work hard to mitigate the disruption but thinking is at an early stage.
Could you comment on the perception of a number of supporters that your purchase of the football club was capitalising on a property development opportunity rather than saving a football club?

Garry

A: Please see response to Knecht above.

Are you able to reveal a timetable for the completion of the new grandstand and it’s associated developments?
Lunarjetman

A: It is too early to announce a timetable, but we want to move forward sooner, rather than later.

How will this be financed?
Lunarjetman

A: It will be financed separately from, and without risk to, the club.

Will the football club directly benefit from non match-day income from a new grandstand development or do you anticipate non match-day income being paid into a separate, associated business?
Lunarjetman

A: Plymouth Argyle Football Club will benefit directly from non-match-day income.

MATCH-DAY EXPERIENCE

Will the club review the quality of the football for the long term?
Pete Colbourne

A: The wish to provide exciting and winning football lies at the very heart of the club.

Will the club adopt a more attacking passing game mentality, from the management and coaching of the first team right through to the youth players, centre of excellence, etc. and make the club renowned for it?
Pete Colbourne

A: This is a matter for the manager and his staff. I have no doubt that Carl is doing all he can to meet his primary objective: to secure the club’s League status in a fair and sportsmanlike manner.

Please could you give an update on your review of the catering facilities and the Tannoy system?
Alexander

A: It is our intention to improve the present offering on match-days, both in terms of products offered and service provided. Once we have finalised details, the club will make an announcement, but it is intended that the new arrangements will be in place for the first game of next season. The sound system is defective: to revamp it to acceptable standards would cost in the region of £15,000. This will be addressed as part of the new grandstand.

Are there any plans to re-introduce the buses (not free) to transport fans to and from the home games, this is a serious question, many fans were disappointed when the free buses were stopped, starting this has a paid service would go down well with a lot of supporters?
Mike

A: There are no current plans but happy to review over the summer and see if there is a solution that is appealing to fans and economically acceptable to the club.

The Green Taverners have introduced the brilliant Fans Fests, would you consider giving them a key role in the development of match-day entertainment going forward?
Lloyd

A: Agreed, and yes we are.

Catch Them Young - DJM games to start at 12.30pm on a Saturday or played on a Sunday to allow the young players and their parents to attend Argyle games. Will the club push for this to happen?
Miles Bidgood

A:We have always had, and will continue to enjoy, a good relationship with the DJM, who schedule most of their games to kick off at these times.

Match Day Experience - will the club provide pre-match entertainment using talented local people?; Will the club provide a smoking zone outside of the stadium?; Will the club look at the poor stewarding at Home Park?; Will the club take a look at the catering facilities at Home Park and the high cost?
Miles Bidgood

A:The club is considering all these areas (other than smoking areas which we cannot consider).

Do you have any plans to introduce any tangible half-time entertainment? In my view, there are 15 minutes of ‘prime time’ in front of thousands of supporters that are not exploited by any club I know of. Arsenal have embarked upon an Arsenalification of their Emirates Stadium, which has given a previously soulless arena some identity. Could this be implemented at Home Park, for example, a ‘Devonport End: Home of Forza Verde’ sign on the top of the stand, and ‘Home Park, Plymouth’ lettering on the Lyndhurst similar to the North Stand at Old Trafford, visible on TV. It may seem incredibly small, but again, really drives home an identity lacking at other clubs.
Biggs

A: Match-day entertainment is being reviewed and is dependent on a number of factors: cost, the groundsman being happy, the manager being happy, and others. The club will report back on this once the review has been completed.

Can we not stock quality pasties from the likes of Dewdneys or go Cornish with WC Rowe? I think it’s daft that there are vendors outside of the ground selling decent pasties when within the stadium we have pasties that are of poor quality and value.
Sam

A:The club is reviewing catering.

Please could you take a look at the robust stewarding, including the supervisors, in the Devonport End?
Dangermouse

A: We are reviewing stewarding alongside the wider match-day experience and will report back.

A few posts have been made on PASOTI about fans leaving before the end of the match. A few seasons ago the exits and lights were controlled by police officers and/or the special constabulary.
I am wondering if the alteration to policing the emptying the car-park has something to do with this? It can take anything upwards to an hour plus to leave the car-park after the match. My wife and I always stay to the end but getting out of the car-park is frustrating and can possibly spoil the match-day experience for some people.
I can accept that this is a minor point in the larger picture of things, but I do feel that the situation will only get worse when the Life Centre is fully up and running. I can remember when the club was in the championship the car park was chock-a-block and was managed by stewards and police. Now in this situation the chaos would be even worse.

Lunarjetman

A: The police now have no responsibility for traffic control which is now the responsibility of the City Council. Although this has legally been the case since 2004, the police did not withdraw their services immediately.

The car-park is owned by Plymouth City Council, and they have put in the central exit road which is controlled by traffic lights. This has only been in place for a couple of weeks but should alleviate any problems leaving the car-park. We will liaise with them to make sure that the phasing of the lights is suitable on match-days. At present, there is a further problem with the lane closures in Outland Road, over which we have no control and will have a knock-on effect with the car-park.

Are the stewards subject to CRB checks and do Argyle know if there are there people working as stewards with previous convictions for violent offences ? Would the club employ a steward with a previous conviction? Are steps being taken to improve the professionalism and customer service skills of the stewards?
Lunarjetman

A: A third of the stewards are SIA trained and qualified. They are the stewards that are involved in all licensing activity, searching and ejecting. These are all CRB checked by the SIA authority. Ordinary stewards are not CRB checked as there is no requirement for them to be. They are all trained to at least NVQ Level 2. In both cases, previous convictions do not necessarily preclude them but this would depend on the conviction. It would depend on what the conviction was for as to whether we would allow a steward (who is employed by a sub-contractor) to work at Home Park. Both SIA and NVQ training includes modules on customer care and professionalism. We continually monitor and train stewards. If we feel that individuals need one to one tuition, then we do so. This is an ongoing process that will continue for the foreseeable future.

THE TRUST/GASB

I would be interested in the thinking around the setting up of the GASB at the same time as offering the Trust a 20% stake. How do you see the roles of these two bodies differing in future?
Knecht

A: As you know, there are a number of fans’ groups with overlapping membership and a number of fans who are not represented by any of these groups. The GASB is being set up to represent all the fans in providing constructive challenge to the Board of Directors and liaison between the Board and the fanbase. The appointment of the GASB will be independent from the club and the majority of its members will be directly and democratically elected. I believe the Trust’s mandate is clear. One of the issues raised by the Trust has been the acquisition of a stake in Plymouth Argyle Football Club: the club will give them the option to acquire this.

Is video conferencing a possibility for fans who cannot get to meetings?
Totnes comie mike

A: Apologies but, for governance reasons, the Board and Management of Plymouth Argyle Football Club have had no involvement in the establishment of GASB. Could you liaise with Chris Webb or David Wheeler?

Has there been any progress with the Trust over the 20% offer? Is there any aspect of the discussions or terms that can be made public currently? What do they get for 20% etc?
Mathew Appleton

A: The Trust’s Board has raised a number of questions and we are due to meet - the ball is in my court. Perhaps we can update after this meeting.

Finally, with the trust maybe acquiring a 20% in the club how does that affect the debt liability and the repayment of it?
Mathew Appleton

A: It depends on how the proceeds are applied. This will be one of the points to be discussed with the Trust.

Would it be an idea to see if we can have a slot, each week, in local papers (The Herald for Plymouth and Cornish papers) which is dedicated towards helping supporters who do not have access to the internet, to have up to date news about things going on around Plymouth Argyle, such as advertising the Green Taverners Fans Fests / updated news from the Trust and the ‘to be’ GAS Board / weekly interviews from a board member giving any up to date news and so on ... that will help to make the Green Army feel as though they are being kept in touch with everything going on?
Sue Pollard

A: The Herald, WMN and the most read Cornish newspapers are all part of the same group. In the past, the Herald has carried a bi-weekly column from the manager. Your idea seems very sensible to us and we will investigate the art of the possible.

SEASON TICKETS/STUDENT - CONCESSION TICKETS

As a student (although graduation soon) my financial situation isn’t going to be very strong next year. Whilst I understand the financial implications we are still under (especially if the worst happens this season) are there any plans for Under-23/Under-25 concession tickets?

I feel we are currently missing a potential mass audience in the city with University students studying in Plymouth, as well as alienating younger supports who have less income.

Southampton FC promote tickets for their club through the University and as part of Freshers’ Week promotions. Could Argyle do something similar?

Drew; Andy Cooke; Sam Down; Dangermouse; Sam

A: The Board agrees with your views. We are on record recognising the importance of encouraging support from younger supporters and the promotion for the Aldershot game is hopefully the first sign of this. The UoP had a delegation at the match last Saturday (including the President-elect of the Students’ Union) and we plan to follow this up and improve co-operation between us.

If we go down to non-league football will you lower season ticket prices as they already to high for this standard of football?
Cult of Personality; Landons Forehead

A: We have delayed the launch of the season-ticket offer so that fans have greater clarity on our likely League status. The Board has not looked at pricing for the BSP.

Could free tickets or concessions be given to the Armed Forces, ex-servicemen and disabled War Veterans?
Lee WSM; Greenrod

A: The Board is very keen to recognise our Armed Forces and there will be recognition of this in our season-ticket offer. As a starter, we have given 500 free tickets to the Armed Forces to recognise Armed Forces Day on Saturday, April 21 against Oxford United. We hope that servicemen and women will turn up in uniform so that we can show our respect to them.

My first question is in reference to the White membership (which used to allow supporters to buy admission to six games at the beginning of the season). First of all, will the White membership be returning next season? If so, would you consider allowing the customer to choose how many games they wish to buy using the White membership?

I ask this because I no longer live in Cornwall and am no longer able to go to as many games as I would like so would love to have been given the option to buy a season ticket of some sorts to gain from some of the benefits such as saving money for buying ticket in bulk and in advance of the game.

Continuing the theme of season-tickets, the introduction of extras being added to the season-ticket has also been discussed on this website. I’m not sure if these were based on ideas already formed by the board but I personally felt these would be a nice addition to season ticket. The idea being when a customer purchases their season ticket they can “top it up” with discounted extras such as a discounted replica shirt or a season’s worth of match-day programmes purchased alongside the season-ticket, similar to my Orange phone where I can add “Animal Deals” such as so many free text messages or free internet for a month.

Obviously you could not offer Argyle supporters free text messages with a season-ticket but extras such as the ones I have previously suggested could be considered as “top-ups” for the regular season-ticket which could also be offered at increasing discounts on each individual extra when the customer purchases further extras.

Ollie Pope (Miles Bidgood and Adam Baker also pose the same question regarding White Membership)

A: We do not want to ‘front-run’ the announcement on season-tickets which will follow shortly. Suffice to say, however, that a sub-committee of the Board and senior management at the club have spent considerable time trying to optimise the package and recognise the importance of season-ticket holders and that your ideas above are, in my view, good.

At what point will I be able to purchase a ticket via an on-line system? Recently I tried on four occasions to get through, I had to wait 20 minutes, 45 minutes and finally 60 minutes before I gave up and relied on a good friend of mine to visit Home Park. The club needs to make it easy for fans to buy tickets, creating revenue for the club. Will there be any concessions for young children, i.e: kids go free with full paying adult?
Greensummit; Loyal1970

A: As the saying goes ‘we would not have started here’ with our systems, and your comments are fair. However, online ticketing will very shortly be operational. The Board strongly agrees with your sentiment regarding, not only children, but younger supporters generally. The offer for the game against the Shots evidences this and there will be further recognition in the season-ticket offer.

Surely it’s time to drop the cost of entrance to games?
Havnmysay

A: The club will lose money this year and quite probably next. The Board needs to balance the cost of tickets against the financial requirements of the club to develop its football team. We believe that the ticket prices for next season will achieve this balance.

The Old Age Pensioners seem to have been forgotten, I know there is a concession but there are many OAP who have supported the club all of their lives who can’t afford to attend games anymore, are there any plans to consider further concessions for this group of people.
Dunlop

A: The OAPs have certainly not been forgotten and, as all attendees of Home Park know, are a critical constituency of the club. There will continue to be concessions for next season. If there are OAPs who cannot afford these concessionary rates and continue to follow our club, it may be possible to review this on a case-by-case basis.

Have you considered the potential co-location of Argyle, Albion and Raiders and joint season tickets for all three teams for fixtures that don’t clash?
Lloyd

A: We would like to see Home Park (the club, together with its neighbour the Life Centre) provide the region with a sporting and leisure centre of excellence. No discussions are taking place with either Albion or the Raiders but we would not rule anything out in this regard.


YOUTH DEVELOPMENT/TRAINING FACILITIES/SCOUTING SYSTEM

Is there a vision of the club regarding youth development? There was talk of an “academy” type set up, the idea being to ensure a flow of quality talent into the club rather than through aquisition.

On a similar theme: Are there any “investment” plans regarding the training/coaching staff & facilities.

Greenblooded1; Biggs

A: We have made an announcement this week which covers this in detail. The announcement can be found here: http://www.pafc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0 ... 75,00.html.

Are there areas that significant funds could be raised by fans to build and own something separate from the club, but is for the long term good of our club. For example the/a training ground or some facilities for the youths, etc.
Greenblooded1

A: We are reviewing training facilities generally. If the fans would like to play a direct part, the club would be delighted to consider this.

I know money is tight but have you considered investing in a broader scouting network?
Andrew Patton

A: Scouting is being reviewed.

End of part 1.

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 15:48 05 Apr 2012
by Sue Pollard
It's going to take a while to read through both part 1 and 2 of the Q&A's :crazy: but in the meantime, I'd just like to say thank you for doing this for us Ian :clap:

And thank you to James Brent and all concerned for agreeing to take part in this and answering our questions very swiftly :clap:

Not that I've had a chance to divulge everything said, as yet, but it's good to see this kind of communication between the club and fans evolving and long may this continue :scarf:

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 16:09 05 Apr 2012
by GreenSam
Thank you to James Brent and Peter Jones for taking the time to answer :clap:

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 16:29 05 Apr 2012
by Graham Clark
I wonder how many other Football League clubs have been quite so transparent. Not many other Board of Directors would have willingly and openly answered all the questions raised let alone put aside the time taken to do it. It was clearly an exercise that was taken seriously and all concerned fully deserve our gratitude.

In its way it is an interesting forerunner for what the the objectives of the GASB could achieve in a supervisory capacity in holding the Board to account on all matters, including financial, to do with the football club.

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 19:19 05 Apr 2012
by dennis the menace
The clarity of these replies is so refreshing. I hope that even Grovehill will be silenced - for a while!

Such a contrast with the replies we had from Toddy a couple of years ago.

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 22:33 05 Apr 2012
by esmer
Couldn't ask for more, particularly the clarity on the debt situation. Thanks to Mr Brent and all concerned.

Only concern would be the capacity of the new stand, it sounds as if it will only hold 5,000 which is a bit disappointing but, hopefully, it will be designed to be capable of being easily enlarged.

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 22:42 05 Apr 2012
by PL2 3DQ
esmer wrote: Couldn't ask for more, particularly the clarity on the debt situation. Thanks to Mr Brent and all concerned.

Only concern would be the capacity of the new stand, it sounds as if it will only hold 5,000 which is a bit disappointing but, hopefully, it will be designed to be capable of being easily enlarged.


I thought Phase 1 held 12,000? If so, the new Grandstand would hold 8,000 bringing the total capacity up to the 20,000 mentioned in the Q&A.

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 23:09 05 Apr 2012
by Ollieargyle9
PL2 3DQ wrote:
esmer wrote: Couldn't ask for more, particularly the clarity on the debt situation. Thanks to Mr Brent and all concerned.

Only concern would be the capacity of the new stand, it sounds as if it will only hold 5,000 which is a bit disappointing but, hopefully, it will be designed to be capable of being easily enlarged.


I thought Phase 1 held 12,000? If so, the new Grandstand would hold 8,000 bringing the total capacity up to the 20,000 mentioned in the Q&A.


According to Wikipedia the Lyndhurst is home to around 6,000 fans, with the Devonport and Barn Park holding around 3,500 each so 13,000 fans in total, so the new grandstand should hold around 7,000 fans if we are to have a 20,000 seater stadium post-redevelopment...

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 23:16 05 Apr 2012
by esmer
PL2 3DQ wrote:
esmer wrote: Couldn't ask for more, particularly the clarity on the debt situation. Thanks to Mr Brent and all concerned.

Only concern would be the capacity of the new stand, it sounds as if it will only hold 5,000 which is a bit disappointing but, hopefully, it will be designed to be capable of being easily enlarged.


I thought Phase 1 held 12,000? If so, the new Grandstand would hold 8,000 bringing the total capacity up to the 20,000 mentioned in the Q&A.

You're right. I was working on the existing ground capacity of 15,000 but that, of course, includes the existing grandstand. I've had a heavy day.

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 04:52 06 Apr 2012
by Womble
Thank you to the directors. Clear and transparent, no todd esq double speak. Pretty encouraging i think.

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 07:39 06 Apr 2012
by therealdsg
Very encouraging. Thanks to James and Peter for the clarity of positivity with the answers as well as Ian for arranging :scarf:

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 17:33 06 Apr 2012
by LiskeardLooney
thanks again to James and Peter for taking their time to answer these questions. what a breath of fresh air for the board to come out and do this in such an honest manner and not dodge any 'uncomfortable' questions

unlike the whole smoke & mirrors debacle with Keith Todd, who managed to answer everything and told us nothing!

Re: Q&A With James Brent and the Directors - The answers! Pa

Posted: 17:34 06 Apr 2012
by LiskeardLooney
and also all the people involved in organising this too!