This supporters’ initiative now being operating by the Dons Trust offers the very best possible vehicle for funding the development of Plough Lane and retaining control of the club we have ploughed so much time, money and effort into, since reforming Wimbledon in 2002.
Tangible progress is being made on the fantastic main stand. Wimbledon supporters can see how close we are to achieving the goal of returning to Plough Lane as a trust-owned football club. The whys and wherefores of accepting outside investment have been debated at length elsewhere. But the incredible efforts of Wimbledon supporters from Finance and Investment backgrounds has offered a concrete alternative to selling the football club. The Bond gives supporters and the wider community a chance to lend funds and continue progress on the stadium. It also opens up other credible avenues of financing the build which don’t involve selling control at a knockdown price.
So why is the Plough Lane Bond different to Seedrs?
To raise £2.4 Million via crowdfunding platform was a good effort for a single venture. However when compared to some other examples of crowdfunding by comparable clubs (FC United of the Northern Premier League raised over £2 Million from Community Shares) it could be argued that things were left a little late and the message a little confused for Seedrs to be the only investment ask of a constituency of football fans in one of the wealthiest quarters of one of the wealthiest cities on the planet.
Surveys prior to launch of the Plough Lane Bond indicated strong support and pledges of over £3.5 million, which would make a major contribution to continuing the build whilst requiring absolutely no further dilution of the Trust’s ownership of the club.
Seedrs involved the club selling equity i.e. shares in the ownership of the organization. With shares come rights and individuals or groups with the most shares have the greatest say over how the organization is run. A Bond is in effect a loan. An organization selling or ‘issuing’ bonds is borrowing money for a fixed period of time, usually with an agreement to repay a fixed amount of interest either over that period of time, or at the end when the Bond matures. Crucially, as well as the interest payment the borrower repays the loaned amount at maturity too. Because they have agreed to do this, the borrower offers no voting rights to the holder of any bonds.
For most Small/Medium Enterprises Debt (Bond) Financing is seen as a much cheaper and more attractive avenue for growing their business. Selling Equity is expensive and involves bringing in new partners who may not share their vision and ultimately intend to acquire the business outright. There are valid questions to be asked as to why the Dons Trust and club waited so long after planning approval to launch any crowdfunding and focused initially only the the Seedrs offering, but they can wait for another day. It should also be noted that all the investments in Seedrs remain vital to the stadium construction and that all the Seedrs investors continue to have an equity stake in the club’s future and can benefit from its future growth and success.
Right now issuing Bonds to raise further stadium finance should be an attractive proposition to both Wimbledon supporters and the wider community. Savings interest rates on the high-street are close to an all time low. Most regular savings accounts and Cash ISAs are offering below 1% interest, which the Plough Lane Bond offers to beat. So anyone who wasn’t keen on supporting the club by handing over their money for a minority share via Seedrs may well feel more open to the bond route, which means after a fixed period, they should get their money back plus reasonable interest. From talking to fellow fans at games, it also seems quite likely that some people who took out smaller Seedrs investments are keen to invest larger sums in the Bond as well.
As with any decision to spend or save money, a degree of risk is involved and diligence is required by anyone looking to take advantage of the Plough Lane Bond. The Bond is unsecured but any potential investor should of course read all the conditions in full before making a purchase.
The simple beauty of the Plough Lane Bond though is that whether you have a small amount of savings to spare or a large lump sum, whatever you contribute no-one gets more rights to own the club and it will be a massive step towards Wimbledon walking out at Plough Lane once more. It’s Time We Had a Home Game.
We Are Wimbledon
Bring The Dons Home
Back To Plough Lane