TROUBLE AT THE ROCK?

Date: 22nd January 2022

TROUBLE AT THE ROCK?

 

After years of labouring under owners who hid their wealth (often debt and sometimes bankruptcy) behind a shell company and offshore holdings, Dumbarton came into new ownership in May last year. Cognitive Capital and a host of interlinked companies are the vehicle for Norwegian investors (mainly borrowers, it seems) in close association with a ‘consultant’ who has been disqualified from being a company director for 12 years as a result of misdemeanours set out in a rather discouraging Insolvency Service report.

 

Thanks to the hard work of the (now resigned) company secretary, local members of the board and a £25k fans’ fundraiser, the Sons, who are presently languishing second from bottom of League One, have managed to keep their heads above the water financially. But on the threshold of their 150th anniversary, the club who were Scotland’s first outright champions – they shared the honours with Rangers in 1890/91 – are concerned to secure a sustainable future.

 

The new owners have talked about importing, developing and selling on players from Nordic countries. But without substantial investment and a place near the top of the Scottish professional game, that looks fanciful. So attention has now be turned back to moving Dumbarton away from its iconic location in the shadow of the Rock and Castle, towards a newbuild sports complex at a site out of town, on a partial flood plain.

 

That equally questionable idea, ten years in gestation, was torpedoed by West Dunbartonshire Council a few years ago and is nowhere near the current regional development plan. But there is much talk of it being a goer again… and concern by many close to the club that if it doesn’t work, another asset strip could be on the horizon. Memories of what happened to Clydebank are raw locally.

 

SFSA’s cofounder and vice chair, Simon Barrow, was Sonstrust representative and negotiator with the previous owners for many years. More recently he was an associate director of the club and its media officer – pulling back from those roles a little over a year ago. However, he has been paying close attention to what has been going on and working with a group of concerned parties who are monitoring the situation and looking to help secure Dumbarton’s future.

 

Recently concerns and questions raised by the Sonstrust broke the local (https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/dumbarton-football-clubs-supporters-trust-25970582) and national (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-10404855/Dumbarton-asked-assurances-clubs-future-amid-concerns-1-3m-takeover.html) media. Simon commented: “It’s not unusual for supporters to feel that they have experienced big promises and scant delivery from some club owners, plus a certain resistance towards reasonable scrutiny. At Dumbarton, those who love the club want it to be different. There is real sympathy for the situation the three local Club directors are in – but also a real desire for them to act.

 

“The questions facing the future of the Sons need to be addressed squarely. SFSA and many others across the Scottish game share the concern. Small, community clubs really matter. We will do all we can to help those who have the Sons’ interests, survival and flourishing at heart. We will know who they are by how they act. We at SFSA also have resources and contacts who can be brought to bear as necessary.”


Posted in: Latest News