We can only imagine the hell they have been through over the last 12 months, but how fitting that they have been rewarded for that hard work by being able to confirm mortgage free ownership of Spotland, safeguarding it as a community asset for future generations.
Thanks to those chaps for everything they have done so far... we will continue to fight for them against the unprecedented action from Morton House.
With the recent article in the Athletic, where Matt Southall divulged lots of new information (including the fact that Morton House 'will take control [of RAFC]' we know they will welcome plenty of public scrutiny and interest from fans of the club they are aiming to purchase.
One of the most important decisions in ANY business is who you work with, who are your directors, and who acts as your advisors.
With that in mind, we've started a bit of a 'who's who' thread on social media of the main characters and some of their history. It can be found here:
Following the recent revelations about Village Energy Solutions Ltd, and coupled with the EFL responding to Dale fans' queries by saying how complex their investigation is due to the number of individuals / companies / new information involved, we thought we would compile a list of information (all freely available online) about the business history of Morton House director Denise Valarie Courtnell.
Business Name : Village Energy Solutions Ltd Company Number : 11215024 Other Names : Concerto Payroll Services Ltd 8/18 – 11/18, Caffe Concerto Payroll Services Ltd LTD 8/18 – 8/18 & Rasdale Solutions Ltd 2/18 – 8/18 Position : Morton House took full control from Donna Nada Apr ’19, gave full control back to Donna Nada July ‘19 Business Status : Liquidator Appointed Nov ‘21 Co. House Link : https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/11215024
Business Name : See Rail HR Solutions Ltd Company Number : 10986377 Other Names : Graphite Civil Engineering & Groundworks Ltd 9/17 – 1/19 Position : 80% Owned by Morton House in Apr ’19. At this time, Denise was the exclusive owner of Morton House Business Status : Extraordinary resolution to wind up Jun ‘21 Co. House Link : https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/10986377
The Charlton Supporters Trust have shared the following article this evening:
For those who haven't seen this awful story, Rochdale's volunteer directors and supporters' trust are having to crowdfund for legal fees. All the details are in this piece, but the short version is that Matthew Southall is involved: https://t.co/4NTaFK6Byg
More than most other people in the world, they know what our volunteer directors and Supporters Trust are going through at the minute - they appear to have been a huge help over the last few months, and articles like this one can only help even further.
The spotlight is on what is happening to our club and our fans, and the footballing world is watching.
In the second video of our series, we look at what Rochdale has done for football.
We know the wider football family have supported, and continue to support, the volunteer directors and supporters trust of #RAFC via the crowd funding campaign - as a thank you, we have looked at the footballers (& managers) who have come through Spotland's gates on their way to greatness with teams around the world.
As the football family rallies around to support the supporters trust & volunteer directors of #RAFC in their legal defence against Morton House, we thought we'd have a look at what #RAFC has done for football in our #115years of #fanowned history.https://t.co/jJYJ6s8SIh
How can you help? Tag in the people / teams / supporters trusts / fan groups of the featured players on twitter and other social media. Let's make the world aware of the success we have had in nurturing talent across 115 years of history as a fan owned club.
Kieran Maguire & the POF pod have been brilliant covering the situation at Rochdale over the last 12 months, and today have just announced that all proceeds from their first ever live recording will go to the crowdfunding campaign.
The first PoF ‘Live’ is taking place at Plough Lane Wimbledon on 24 March. Bar will be open, tickets only £10 each. Any profits will go to the Rochdale AFC defence to keep Dale a fan owned club. https://t.co/ZCDiYIRBUd
We know not everybody who goes to the game today will be on social media (they might not even be online!). The crowdfunding campaign looks to have raised over an incredible £20K in one week between offline and online donations... that number could increase massively if we can make everybody inside Spotland today aware of the threat facing our Trust, our volunteer board, and #RAFC. Its our first home game since the legal action was launched... what an opportunity.
Sharing this in case anybody hasn't seen it yet - the club got some really good coverage on BBC NWT following the Bradford game.
The theme was clear - fans of Dale are proud to be fan owned, and excited for the future of the club within that fan owned model. There was a brilliant quote near the end of the second clip from an elderly lady, where she said,
"You wouldn't think you'd go home from a nil - nil feeling pleased, but after everything we've been through we are."
We shouldn't underestimate the impact the events of the last 12 months have had on individuals as well as the club, and that's why we think its more important than ever to shout about how we are #FanOwnedAndProud and #FansTogether.
Following on from the confirmation on Friday that faceless payroll company Morton House are looking to take legal action against the club board of directors and trust (& so by proxy our fans and community), we want to remind the public of some of the key questions related to the failed hostile takeover of RAFC by Morton House Management & First Form Construction Limited.
We started last night by asking:
- Why did Andy Curran / Darrell Rose (Morton House) PRIVATELY pay 3x market value for shares in #RAFC?
- Why was Matt Southall seen with Morton House at the Crown Oil arena in APRIL?
The purpose of this thread is to find out what outstanding questions you have. There have been loads asked on various threads (that can be found on the Hostile Takeover thread) and we know there are lots that haven't been mentioned yet. Post your questions below and we will collate them from here / FB / Insta / Twitter, and ask them publicly across all of our platforms - tagging in the EFL, HMRC, SRA and any other relevant people / bodies to questions that are related to them.
We want to keep our club fan owned, at the heart of the community, so any questions we have that can be kept in the public conscience (and potentially be asked by the multiple press agencies that are again taking an interest) can only be a good thing.
Following on from Robbie Stockdale's interview after the Exeter City match (where he references the fact we have defeated multiple takeover attempts, and next weekend's FA Cup tie is an opportunity to reflect & celebrate where we are as a club), it feels like the right time to draw a line under the ongoing saga, thank a few people and reset ahead of 2022 and beyond.
To Andrew Kelly - thank you for making the right (but difficult) decision not to sell out to Morton House. We know that decision has come at great expense (financial, health and physical) but without your decision on that fateful Sunday, who knows where we would be now? Thank you.
To Col - we know you won't enjoy being singled out for a name check, but without your 'Open letter to AK' thread and the countless hours you have spent spearheading the campaign to save Dale (including having to have actual conversations with the likes of Andy Curran and Matt Southall), as well as your fantastic leadership of the Trust, we firmly believe we may still not have the club in safe hands today. Thank you.
To Cloughie (& the executors of the will), your legacy will live long in the folklore of the football club. The estate you left enabled the Trust to become the single biggest shareholder in the club, and on behalf of the fan base they will continue to work in the best interests of Dale. Thank you.
To Simon Gauge, and the new Board of Directors, thank you for stepping up to take over the reigns of a sinking ship, steadying it and setting it back on the right course. We wouldn't want to have to deal with the stuff you have (including threats and intimidation from certain parties, the rotting remains of a previous dictatorship, and a club that was being run into the ground) since taking over - rest assured you have the backing of the fanbase and we look forward to seeing the club flourish under your leadership. Special mention too to Graham Morris, Trevor Butterworth & John Smallwood who set the wheels in motion for you to take over the club. It would be amiss at this point to not mention the late, great David Kilpatrick. Alongside Mr Morris, one of the original ‘Overcoat Men’ – a role model of what custodianship of Dale looks like, and a true example for Simon Gauge et al to follow. Thank you.
To RochdaleAFC.com thank you for providing a platform for the brilliant work referenced elsewhere in this post. Despite repeated legal threats from various parties, you moderated the discussion diligently to ensure that all relevant information was, and still is, able to be viewed by any member of the public who is interested to know what has gone on, and just how close we came. Thank you.
To our shareholders – thank you to our original shareholders for fighting the proposals of the previous board to allow them carte blanche to sell the club to the highest bidder without (by their own admission) due diligence, and for supporting our new board in their determination to hold a new share issue, safeguarding the future of the club. & to our new shareholders – welcome to the club… your support (both financial and moral) means that our club is now owned by more than 500 individual fans, and means it will be substantially more difficult for any future people to try and gain a majority shareholding in Dale. Thank you.
To RAFCBLUE (plus Judd and all the others on here and across the internet) who spent hours and hours digging up information on anybody who was showing an interest in getting their hands on Dale - the information you provided has helped prevent a disaster - just as importantly, you've demonstrated to any future wannabes just what lengths Dale fans will go to in order to protect this club. Thank you.
To Fitzochris, a real fan of the club and fantastic journalist – thank you for continuing to report on matters of importance to Dale fans, for holding individuals within the club to account, and for your honesty and integrity with matters related to the previous board. Thank you.
To The Trust (board, members and supporters), under Col's leadership you have role modelled what a supporters' trust can do... we bought our 'This Is My Club' scarves today and wore them with pride. Thank you.
To Alexander Jarvis - thank you for essentially not being a great broker of football club sales. Without your intervention, it would've been a lot easier for Morton House / Matt Southall to take over this club. For the absolute comedy of errors - thank you.
To Tony Lloyd MP, Nancy Frostick and Matt Slater of the Athletic, Ian King of Football 365, the Price of Football podcast, and various other publications thank you for continuing to spread the word of our plight over the Summer. Thank you for giving a balanced view to the wider football family, and for helping to keep the spotlight on the aggressors of the hostile takeover who, before this Summer, were suspiciously absent from any online footprint. Thank you.
It would be wrong at this point to not highlight the challenges we faced from biased and inaccurate reporting, disappointingly in the main from the BBC, which could’ve done real damage to our attempts to protect the club, as well as reputational and financial damage to the club on a longer term basis. As much as we will forever remember the amazing work done by countless people, we will also not forget the lack of support from publications and politicians who sadly did not match their public values and commitments with actions and support. We won’t call them out here, but they know who they are and they can expect to be challenged in future when they claim to care about sports, and the lower leagues, in the North West.
To supporters up and down the land, but particularly Southend United, Charlton Athletic, Oldham Athletic and Swindon Town trusts who gave immeasurable amounts of support to our campaign, alongside information and contacts, without which we would’ve struggled to gain the traction that we did on social media and in the press. We are aware of the ongoing situation at Oldham, too, and will continue to support them however we can. If this Summer taught us one thing, it would be that when the chips are down the wider football family will come together to support one of our own.
& to the countless fans who supported in whatever way they could - be it expertise to the new board, expertise to the Up The Dale Not For Sale campaign, sharing social media content, contributing to share issues, driving around the NW finding existing shareholders, spreading the word at Dale games, chanting 'Up The Dale Not For Sale' at matches - anything at all over the past 7 or 8 months... Thank You
The problem with a post like this is that we always run the risk of missing key people out... obviously that is not our intention and we'll say again, to anybody who helped keep the wolves from the door - thank you.
Clearly Morton House are not going away forever - with a rumoured £1.2 million investment they will want to get that back. A c.23% share in Rochdale AFC is never going to be worth that, so there could always be an undercurrent of wondering what they will do to get that money back. The positive is that, following the brilliant recent share issue, their influence in Dale is severely diluted, and any attempt to get to 50+1% would be nigh on impossible. As a fanbase, we will continue to remain vigilant to safeguard our football club as a fan owned, sustainable community asset both now and in the future.
Now we have an opportunity to move forward with OUR club - a new, professional and committed board, young exciting manager, youthful and talented squad, and a fan base more united than at any other time in recent memory. Stockdale said next Sunday should be a celebration, and we agree.