League One Dumbarton has been asked to give guarantees about the club’s future after shareholders expressed ‘serious concerns’ over a £1.3million takeover last May.
The Sons, a founding member of the Scottish Football League, shared the first-ever league title with Rangers and will celebrate their 150th anniversary next year.
Concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding the sale of the club to Cognitive Capital, David Brownlee, chairman of Supporters Trust, will seek clarification from the directors at a meeting scheduled for the end of this month.
Dumbarton has been asked to give guarantees about the club’s future amid concerns over a £1.3million takeover last May
The club was sold to Cognitive Capital, raising ‘serious concerns’ for the club
Cognitive Capital, an investment vehicle for Norwegian Henning Kristoffersen, his wife Kamila Kristoffersen and Manchester-based architect Matthew Atkinson, bought the club from Brabco 736 of St Helen’s last year.
Brabco was sold out when plans to move to a new Renton stadium with 4,000 people, with 200 new homes, a hotel, retail park, office units and communal sports facilities, were shelved by West Dunbartonshire Council.
The Kristoffersen group plans to resubmit plans for a community center with a stadium on the same site, and fund the move by building five villa-style houses and 32 apartments in the parking lot of the club’s current stadium, next to Dumbarton castle.
Concerned that the club could head in the same direction as Clydebank if new stadium plans don’t go through and Cognitive Capital doesn’t make sense for the football club, the Sons Supporters Trust has written to the current board with a series of questions.
The Sons Supporters Trust has written to the current board with a series of questions
Trust chair and former referee Brownlee told sports post: ‘As a registered cooperative with shares in the club and a board seat, the Sonstrust has a special responsibility to voice the growing concern of supporters about events on and off the pitch. With Dumbarton’s 150th anniversary later this year, the time has come for clear answers to the questions we’ve been asking.”
Seen in a letter by sports post, the Trust is looking for answers as to whether the new owners have used Dumbarton’s assets as security against the purchase of the club. The Trust has also requested a full update on revised plans for a new stadium.
Shareholder Andrew Hosie’s role in current club decisions is also under discussion after he was disqualified in November 2016 from serving as company director for 12 years following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Hosie obtained an estimated £7,161 million from investors and syndicates before his company, Gambling Insight Ltd, went bankrupt and investors lost significant sums of money.
The Trust wants to know if the new owners have used Dumbarton assets as security against the purchase of the club
One of those investors, businessman Andrew Sweeney, is pursuing legal action against Hosie and has threatened to freeze Dumbarton’s assets in pursuit of the £2million he believes he owes.
Approached by sports post, Henning Kristoffersen declined to comment on the issues raised by the Supporters Trust. However, a source close to the new owners claims they are in talks with local authorities about the new stadium plans and have solid plans for the club’s future.
Last night the Scottish Football Supporters’ Association said it was “deeply concerned” about the recent events. Spokesperson Simon Barrow, former associate director at Dumbarton, said: “A number of us have been monitoring the situation closely for months. There is a lack of transparency about team owners in Scotland and few safeguards. People who care about clubs like Dumbarton want to know that their belongings are safe. That is far from clear at the moment.’
Dumbarton is one of the founding members of the Scottish Football League
Dumbarton Community Stadium Ltd was established to prevent the club’s grounds from being sold for personal gain through a ‘golden share’. A spokesperson admits they are also closely following developments: “The role of Dumbarton Community Stadium Ltd is to ensure continuity of ownership of the club’s assets and the significant investment of public money required to complete the construction of to complete the stadium in 2001.
“We are concerned about a range of transactions, centered on assets registered with Companies House. We are actively trying to get clarity from the club about 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 serious questions about its ownership and direction, the Sonstrust – of which I am a member – is entitled to increase it.
“I will continue to monitor the situation closely and do everything I can to secure the future of one of Scotland’s most historic clubs.”