Dumbarton FC supporters have called for answers from bosses after they failed to respond to questions from the Reporter about the club’s ownership and proposed £13.5m ground move, write Adam Thomas and Kyle Crawford.
The Reporter contacted the club several times but received no response to direct questions regarding who is involved in Brabco, the company that owns 75 per cent of the Sons, and who was set to profit from the proposed stadium relocation to Young’s Farm.
The Reporter also asked about the club’s apparent off-shore ownership after viewing documents which showed Brabco’s parent company Granada Enterprises as registered in Belize. We also asked why Dumbarton FC does not hold annual general meetings (AGM).
Simon Barrow, who represents the Sons Supporters Trust (Sonstrust) in discussions with Dumbarton FC’s owners about the new stadium proposal, said: “The kind of questions the Reporter has chosen to address to the club are ones which fans are asking.
“We hope that things will be clarified soon. We will be seeking transparency around ownership and finance, and we hope the club will also call an AGM shortly so that we and other shareholders can ask questions.
“The primary concern of the Sonstrust, as a registered cooperative that works for and on behalf of Dumbarton fans, is to ensure a secure, viable future for the football club we love. We have always said, and we continue to stress, that if a new stadium can be shown to be credible and financially stable, offering a better deal for the club, the supporters and the community, we will back that.
“However, we are in receipt of a large volume of written and verbal comments from fans, and at the moment there is concern and scepticism about the new stadium proposal.”
Dumbarton FC presented its stadium plans at Silverton and Overtoun Community Council last Thursday.
Community councillor Rose Harvie confirmed members would not vote on the decision until a planning application had been formally submitted to West Dunbartonshire Council after a meeting on Thursday at the Crosslets Centre.
Roddy MacLeod, of Montagu Evans, planning consultant for the proposed ground move to Young’s Farm, estimated at costing £13.5m, was there to present the plans.
Ian Wilson, director of Dumbarton FC and a representative of Brabco was due to attend but missed the meeting due to a prior engagement.
Concerns were raised over access and noise from the new housing development planned next to the stadium.
Community council members also raised concerns over the area where two training pitches are planned for being labelled as flooding as “once in every 200 years” – with Roddy explaining they would not legally be able to build there if the figure was any lower.
The planning consultant also confirmed drinks firm Chivas Brothers would receive a cut of the deal for the housing development in exchange for land, and the club would also make a contribution to the planned waterfront pathway.
This comes after a supporters’ meeting last November, where Mr Wilson presented their plans to Sons fans, along with fellow director Callum Hosie and Mr MacLeod.
But since then, there has been little official word from the club on the progress of the application.
Mr Barrow added: “A meeting with our trust board due to have happened in January with Brabco’s development leader was postponed at the last minute. But we hope it will now go ahead next weekend, and we very much look forward to the engagement.
“Our understanding now is that there are further delays to the submission of a formal planning application for the construction of a stadium on the Young’s Farm site.
“We fully understand that things need to be done in good order, and that there are significant obstacles to overcome, but the fact that this has been going on for more than three years has created growing uncertainty among onlookers.
“What will change that is more information, better communication, direct engagement with the project, and a relationship between the owners, the club, the trust and key people in the community that gives people confidence.
“It is important that people see everyone’s interests are being properly included in what Brabco have described as a ‘win-win’ proposal.
“We very much hope that will be the direction of travel following our trust board meeting with Ian Wilson and other discussions next week. We remain positive but vigilant.”
What we asked Dumbarton FC:
- Fans have understandably been sceptical of such an ambitious move when it is unclear who is behind it. How do you respond to this?
- What do you say to Dumbarton fans who are reluctant to support a move which removes the club’s biggest asset – the stadium – and the security which comes with owning it, and passes it into Brabco’s hands?
- Who is involved in Granada Enterprises (the parent company of Brabco 736)?
- Why is Granada Enterprises registered in Belize?
- We know of two directors (Callum Hosie and Christopher Stainton) and one “representative” in Ian Wilson, who else is involved with the company (Brabco 736)?
- Given that Belize company laws prevent Dumbarton fans and other concerned parties from knowing/finding out any company information, would you like to take this opportunity to state who is going to profit from the club’s ground move? And to what amount?
- Why doesn’t the club hold AGMs?