On Wednesday, I got a press release about the new bond scheme for the Stacey West Stand.
I chose not to work with it then, because I knew the responses that were going to come. Less than a day after a disappointing end to the transfer window, the club were putting notice out of a scheme where supporters needed to dig into their pockets. Whilst it isn’t as some believe, the timing could have been a bit better. Mind you, with £50k raised in fewer than 24-hours, maybe it didn’t matter.
For those who do not know, the club are looking to expand the Stacey West Stand, by building an upper tier. It’s been on the cards for a while now, with much of the funding raised through grants etc – I know Damien Froggatt has worked tirelessly on it, amongst others. To get the development over the line, the club have come up with a bond scheme. It isn’t new; they did a similar thing around the EPC as well, helping raise money for its construction and development.
The bond is essentially an investment that will see those lucky enough to have the fund to invest get a return. Full details can be found here, and it is open to anyone with £500 or more to invest. There is a range of options available for those wishing to invest, all of which have varying returns. The thing to impress upon people is that this isn’t a bucket-rattling exercise, it isn’t a ‘take and take’ scenario in which the club get your cash and you get nowt. Nor is it asking you to put your hand in your pocket with no discernable benefit. That is how some perceived it on Wednesday, doubtless clouded by the failure to get a player over the line (even though the two are linked only by the fact it is the same football club).
The Red Imps Community Trust is leading the scheme, and their elected support on the board, Rob Bradley, said: “The scheme will ensure the development is financed responsibly in a way that is attractive to investors while strengthening our place in the community and continuing to honour the past. It will also ensure our club has the potential to increase matchday and non-matchday revenue thereby contributing to the future financial sustainability of the club we love. This is an exciting scheme for us all to be a part of in line with the ongoing ambition of Lincoln City Football Club and we urge you to support its success and consider its benefits as an investment opportunity.”
Imps Chief Executive Liam Scully added: “I’d like to thank the Red Imps Community Trust for their leadership on this project, which is another key step in the development of the club. Expanding the Stacey West Stand will enable us to really push our educational and community offering through the Lincoln City Foundation, while also creating more opportunities for us on matchdays.”
The bond might not be for you, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t understand it, or think it is another cap in hand excuse to get pennies out of those that can afford it. The development of the Stacey West is seen as a long-term benefit to the club and the community, and it forms a key part of the club strategy going forward. The RICT site explains; “With around an additional 1500 capacity we can generate increased ticket and food and beverage revenue that is so important to the health of our finances. The new facilities planned beneath the stand will open up new revenue streams on non-match days whilst providing better quality surroundings for all that use them.”
Also, before anyone starts, yes, there will be posts in the way, because to retrofit a cantilever roof would mean the club needed even more money to get the project over the line.
If the bond isn’t for you, that’s no problem, but please don’t use it as a stick to beat the club because Swansea pulled the plug on our deadline day deal. In January, the pain of Tuesday night will ease with new players – it may even seem less of a gut punch come next Saturday. However, a second-tier on the Stacey West Stand and a capacity of 12,000 or more will last a lot, lot longer.