11 Sep Joint Statement from FSS Committee and FFC Board
Following a positive meeting with Falkirk Supporters’ Society (FSS) members on Friday 1st September, we write to update all Falkirk FC supporters and shareholders on latest developments and on how we intend to move forward together.
As announced at the end of May, following receipt of a Scottish Government Fans Bank loan, FSS purchased 875,000 shares and became the club’s largest shareholder. As a result, the Society acquired 24.3% of all shares, 3.5% ahead of the expected position outlined at the last FFC AGM. This was the result of FSS being allowed to buy an extra 185,000 shares, from those ring-fenced for the Patrons’ Group (PG).
The Society is also in the process of receiving further share donations from members of the PG and others, allowing FSS to secure over 25% of total shareholding. We’d like to thank PG members for enabling this significant milestone to be achieved by FSS, which is a real demonstration of unity and Falkirk fans working together.
The latest position, with all 5.25m shares in the club now sold, will therefore be as follows:
- Large shareholders 39.3%
- Medium shareholders 26.1% (of which PG = 21.6%)
- Small shareholders 34.6% (of which FSS = 25.0%)
This means that since December 2021, when we first embarked on this journey towards full fan-ownership, Falkirk fans have bought two million shares in our club, raising £800,000. As a consequence, small and medium shareholding has grown from 36% to over 60% in just 21 months; well ahead of the original schedule. This is an amazing achievement and one we should all be very proud of.
Critically this has also been done with the full support of large shareholders, showing the value of collaboration and what we can achieve when we all pull together.
Now that we are fan-owned and fan-run, it’s time to move onto the next phase of our journey to become fan-funded. This is an essential next step in creating a more sustainable operating model to help our club compete, on a more level playing field, with those clubs owned by wealthy individuals.
Back in May we also announced a Partnership Agreement which saw FSS appointed as the lead vehicle for fan-funding, working with all shareholders’ and supporters’ groups to raise the estimated £400,000 pa the club needs, to give us a fighting chance of reaching the Premiership.
Under this agreement all FSS member subscriptions, net of loan repayments and expenses, will be donated to the club and invested in its agreed strategic priorities. For the foreseeable future this means the football budget, with a short-term focus on the first team but with an increasing emphasis on youth development as we rebuild the Falkirk Academy.
Board Director Kenny Jamieson, on behalf of FFC, commented:
“Since we first partnered with FSS to grow small shareholding 21 months ago, it has been a real pleasure to work with the FSS Committee. Together we have grown FSS membership to over 700 and we’re delighted to continue the partnership into this next phase of our club’s journey. FSS donations are baked into the football budget this season, and we’re already seeing the benefit in the team’s performances and results. We can’t thank FSS members enough for their on-going commitment to the club. Going forward, we’re pleased that the FSS has agreed to be the focal point for fan-funding across all shareholders and supporters, and we look forward to continuing to work with the committee to strengthen the FSS by growing its membership”.
Chairman Stuart Graudus, on behalf of FSS, commented:
“We’re delighted to continue our partnership with the club into this next crucial phase. FSS is now the club’s largest shareholder and, as such, it’s important that we continue to play a central role in how the club develops going forward. Under this agreement we’ll continue to influence the club’s strategy and, via our two Board Directors, ensure that members’ funds are focused on key priorities. We’re also pleased to take the lead role in driving fan-funding, via which we’ll both protect and support the club, giving it the best possible chance to become sustainably successful. We look forward to working with the Board, the Patrons Group and all other shareholders and supporters in the future”.
Q Will there be more shares made available?
A There are no plans to issue more shares at this time. In the last three years the club has increased its share base from 2.4m to more than 5.2m shares. Directors have a duty to ensure that a company’s market capitalisation reflects reasonable market value and continually issuing shares doesn’t provide a sustainable operating model.
Q Can FSS continue to grow its shareholding?
A Yes. There are around 800 current shareholders who are not FSS members. They collectively hold just over 500,000 shares or 9.6% of total shares. We’d encourage all small shareholders to join FSS.
Q Why is FSS the lead vehicle for fan-funding?
A As we now move to the fan-funding phase, the club needs a vehicle via which to gather donations. Other options were available, but FSS is already set up to gather monthly subscriptions and is the club’s largest shareholder. Both parties agree that it is in their mutual best interests to continue in partnership.
Q What is the Partnership Agreement?
A It’s a long-term agreement between FFC and FSS which defines the nature of the relationship between these two independent organisations. For example, both parties agree to a commitment to balanced fan ownership, democratic governance and fan-funding.
Q What commitments does FFC make under the Partnership Agreement?
A The agreement commits FFC to maintain and promote FSS as the lead vehicle for both small shareholding and fan-funding, guarantees FSS two Board Directors and the approval of all share transfers into FSS. It also guarantees to ring-fence sufficient shares for FSS to maintain its % shareholding in the event of a future share issue.
Q What commitments does FSS make under the Partnership Agreement?
A The agreement commits FSS to proactively drive fan-funding, providing the club with all net receipts after expenses and loan repayments, to provide two Board Directors who will participate in shaping and executing club strategy, and to facilitate good communication between the club and fans.
Supporters can read the full Partnership Agreement here:
Any outstanding questions fans may have can be directed as follows:
Falkirk FC email@example.com
Falkirk Supporters Society firstname.lastname@example.org