The supporters have spoken!
Following a vote by members of the Supporters’ Trust, plans will now go ahead for new £2.2million facilities at Exeter City’s Cliff Hill Training Ground.
Reflecting the democratic nature of the club’s ownership model, and the sums involved in the development, supporters were required to provide consent for the project. They were also asked to approve the provision of a £600,000 loan from the Trust to the Club, should it be required.
Members of the Supporters’ Trust were provided with detailed information about the proposal, including financial data and predicted cash flows to 2025. The financial modelling conducted by the club was also subject to review by external accountants.
Supporters voted on the following proposals:
- Under the terms of the Club Trust Agreement (2,vii) Exeter City AFC Limited will enter into a contract for the redevelopment of the Clifford Hill Training Ground accommodation with Enviro Building Solutions Limited, as detailed in the documentation made available to me.
- That the Exeter City AFC Supporters Society Limited, make available to Exeter City AFC Limited, a loan up to the value of £600k. Such a loan, if requested, would be repayable over 4 years in quarterly instalments and, at the Trust discretion, interest may be charge on this loan at a rate based on the consumer price index +1%.
The results of ballot, which was conducted both online and by post, were:
Overall votes cast: 1462
Percentage of Trust membership who voted: 42.7%
Q1. Number of votes cast:
- For 1418
- Against 25
- Abstensions 18
Q2. Number of votes cast:
- For 1405
- Against 33
- Abstensions 23
The result percentage was determined by a simple majority of 50% +1 of the votes cast.
Nick Hawker, chair of the Supporters’ Trust, said: “The Trust board felt that the supporters should be consulted and ultimately make the final decision on a project of this magnitude and importance. I would like to thank everybody who worked so incredibly hard to put this proposal together, which we were then able to present to the supporters so they could make this decision with full knowledge of the facts.
“We are very proud of our supporter ownership, and I think this vote truly demonstrates our commitment to this model.”
Construction of the building, which will use off-site modular construction techniques, is expected to begin at the training ground next year, subject to the appropriate contractual obligations being met and to proposed new lease arrangements being put in place. It will provide modern facilities at the training ground and replace the worn out and dilapidated building which was constructed on the site in 1974 and always intended to be a temporary structure.
The proposed development provides for a completely new two-floor facility for both the First Team and Academy staff. The building will include a new and larger fitness suite, separate canteen facilities (no longer shared with gym), larger changing and physiotherapy facilities, proper office accommodation and multi-use theatre/match preparation/classroom space.
Julian Tagg, president and director of football at Exeter City FC, said: “This is fantastic news for the club. This project will be a game changer for Matt, his team and the players. It will also help us to recruit new players to Exeter. The pitches at the Cliff Hill Training Ground are exceptional and to have this new facility alongside them will be excellent.”