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Huddersfield chairman on share issue

Football News 24/7
Huddersfield Town Chairman Dean Hoyle has today issued the following statement regarding the KSDL share deal which we share in full:

''It has been uncomfortable not responding to the supporters to date but the time is right for me to break my own personal silence on the share issue

A deal for the transfer of the shares was announced in December 2009 and terms agreed in February 2010 - it was great news.
 
Since then, the deal moved slowly towards being completed. After February 2010 when the terms had already been agreed and the deal announced Ken Davy then proposed a further change. He wished that the formula for calculating the rent payable by Huddersfield Town and Giants be changed from what he had put in place, and had been the accepted practice by all parties for the previous seven years.
 
The proposal in itself was not an unreasonable request and in financial terms immaterial. Rent is one of the many Stadium arrangements which could be considered in need of revision. Critically to single out just that one issue and then seek to change it after a deal had been agreed was unacceptable to me. It was something extra on top of all the other terms and conditions I had already agreed to.
 
By December 2011 this rent change was still unresolved. In the interests of trying to complete the deal, I then backed the "final attempt" by KSDL, using arbitration, to break the deadlock over the rent formula. Sir John Harman imposed a deadline of close of business 16 December 2011 to agree.
 
As Sir John Harman said in the KSDL statement:
 
"Last month a final attempt to have the rental formula determined by a process of arbitration was unsuccessful."
 
This arbitration process was agreed to by Huddersfield Town and supported by Kirklees Council, but was rejected by Ken Davy. Then inevitably with the passing of the KSDL deadline, after the "final attempt" had failed, the agreement of February 2010 immediately fell away. All the parties knew the consequences and implications of a failure to reach agreement at the "final attempt".
 
It would now be easy for me and Huddersfield Town to be drawn into a war of words; seeking to challenge every fact and statement that has recently been issued. At this time, that would not be right for Huddersfield Town or anyone else. Every person involved, including me, will be judged on what they have done and said, and the truth will come out.
 
We now have to focus on what is the right thing to do for the long term.
 
I acknowledge this may leave many unanswered questions for the moment but whilst things may appear confusing and complex, when you cut through everything it is just about doing the right thing.
 
Over the last four years Huddersfield Town has been referred to as a "Partner" in the stadium and there has been endless talk of everyone working together in "Partnership". I have been told it doesn't matter if we are a shareholder or not in KSDL - we are still a "Partner" - and that's all we should be bothered about.
 
Huddersfield Town is a different kind of "Partner" to the Council and Giants - we don't have any shares or ownership in the Stadium. Major decisions which affect Huddersfield Town in the Stadium can be made by the other two shareholders. We used to have shares but they were transferred away for £2.
 
All this matters to Huddersfield Town and its supporters greatly - the supporters tell me all the time! It will matter more in the future because the return of the shares was so close. Given the circumstances in which the agreement for their return has not been completed, this will now only worsen the feeling of injustice.
 
Think of it this way: it is the simple difference between being a tenant paying rent on a property or paying a mortgage and ultimately owning it.
 
Also crucially, it matters even more so to KSDL, because KSDL is so heavily reliant on the income from Huddersfield Town and its supporters to be successful, paying 75% of the rent and earning corresponding amounts from catering, beverage and events income - that shows how vital Huddersfield Town is.
 
With no ownership interest but having such a heavy commercial impact this weakens KSDL. In a tough economic climate with big challenges ahead, Huddersfield Town and its supporters need to be on board for KSDL to prosper. The Council acknowledged this is a major problem.
 
The ownership issue was addressed by the founders of the Stadium when they set it up. As Paul Fletcher said in May 2009.

 
"That (the current shares arrangement) was not how it was envisaged when it was set up. It was always intended to belong to the two clubs and the council, in those joint proportions. We believed it was a groundbreaking partnership, which would serve both clubs and the community."
 
The vision of the Stadium was a joint sport, community facility with shared ownership between the Council, Huddersfield Town and the Huddersfield Giants. KSDL gained huge strength from this joint ownership structure, with all parties having a real ownership in the Stadium and all supporters feeling they, and their Club, could play a part in its success.
 
In recent years, the clubs have funded major investments to the Stadium - such as the North Stand and the extension to the Direct Golf Stand offices, Stadium Superstore and Ticket Office - out of their own money. These are still being paid for today on top of the clubs' rents. A successful KSDL could instead pay for investments in the Stadium, relieving the clubs of this burden.
 
The Stadium can function in the current arrangement, but will struggle to prosper and that is not in the interests of anyone. We want to help KSDL prosper and drive forward.
 
As we now stand, Huddersfield Town is currently paying 75% of the total Stadium rent (this will only rise if Huddersfield Town progresses up the League ladder) plus extra contributions to fund past investments and improvements to the Stadium, whilst the Stadium continues to be just owned by the two other parties.
 
For the good of the community and prosperity of KSDL, the shareholding needs to be restored as soon as possible to the position that was originally in place when the vision for the Stadium was created. Only this will give Huddersfield Town and its supporters an incentive to fully get behind and embrace the Stadium.
 
Despite everything, we will still continue to work for a return of the shares in KSDL to Huddersfield Town. I hope the fans will understand and fully support me.
 
As events develop I will continue to update the fans.
 
Dean''

 

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