• The Trust

Members' Communication | Investment Proposal for the Cliff Hill Training Ground

To all members of the Exeter City Supporters' Trust


In accordance with rule 46 of our constitution this letter provides 14 days’ notice to you of a member’s postal ballot. A copy of the constitution can be found here.


The ballot will be conducted by electronic voting where possible. If no email address is held for a qualifying member a postal ballot will be provided, along with this documentation.


We will be asking you to vote on two issues pertaining to a proposed redevelopment of the accommodation at the Clifford Hill Training Ground.


Under the terms of the Club/Trust Agreement (the CTA), a copy of which can be found here, the club are required to obtain Trust consent prior to entering contracts above the value of £50k. The value of this particular contract is £2.2m and therefore falls within this requirement. Given the exceptional amount the Trust Board, whilst supporting this proposal, feel it appropriate to seek member approval.


In addition to this, the club have also requested that we, the Trust, make available to the club a loan of up to £600k and so again, we seek our members approval to do so.

Four suppliers were invited to tender for the works and three responded. The preferred supplier is Enviro Building Solutions Limited (Modular Building Manufacturer | Enviro Building Solutions Ltd).


The full proposals plus supporting information, plus construction plans, are included in this document. Further, we would invite you to a Trust forum, to be held at the Phoenix Centre, commencing 11am on 23rd October, to make any comments or ask questions.


If you are unable to attend or would prefer earlier contact, please e-mail: chtg@ecfcst.org.uk (We’ll get back to you as quickly as we are able)


The two proposals will be as follows:

1. 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.


2. 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 outcome of this ballot will be determined by a simple majority of 50% +1 of the votes cast and the result announced at 4pm on 28th October 2021 at St James Park.


Kindest regards,


Nick Hawker, Trust Board Chair


Investment Proposal for the Cliff Hill Training Ground

Summary

After many years of planning the Club now finds itself in a positive financial situation which allows it to propose a significant £2.2m investment in the training facilities at Cliff Hill. Considering a sensible view of the Club’s cash position, the Club board forecasts sufficient cash to undertake the investment except for a short period in the summer of 2022 when development cash is at its highest and ahead of a £1m+ tranche of fees from recent player transfers due in September. This paper outlines the case for the investment, the approach taken to forecasting and sensitising this forecast, and requests Trust members approval to proceed with the project (subject to subsequent external financial due diligence), along with approval for a potential loan from the Trust to the Club of up to £600k for a period and under terms to be determined.


Background

For many years, the ability of the Club to develop, recruit and retain talent, in particular the development of young players through the Academy to the first team, has been key to the success of the Club both on the pitch and as a source of significant value creation through transfer fees. These fees have been vital to off-setting operational losses.


The Club and Trust boards have long held the ambition to improve the buildings and facilities at Cliff Hill, comprising an old sports pavilion building and extensive use of portacabins, recognising that these are significantly below what would be expected of a club of Exeter’s stature and that present severe compromises to those players and staff that use them.


Recent improvements in the Club’s finances, most significantly as a result of the sale (and his subsequent onward sale) of Ollie Watkins, present an opportunity to review these long-standing plans and to bring this proposal to Trust members for approval.


Rationale

The Club board considers that investment in Cliff Hill is required to protect the Club’s most valuable asset, the Academy pathway, to enhance the Club’s attractiveness to prospective players, and to assist in supporting and retaining all players through the provision of facilities befitting a club with League One ambitions.


Notwithstanding the agreed strategy to develop new sources of commercial income and to grow attendances, failing to invest in the training facilities will, in the board’s opinion, threaten our development pipeline, our footballing position, and ultimately threaten our transfer fee income with