Keep Rochdale AFC a fan-owned football club

by Dale Trust

Keep Rochdale AFC a fan-owned football club

by Dale Trust
Dale Trust
Case Owner
The Dale Trust is the body set up to look after the interests of the Dale Supporters, the Football Club and the wider Community with close to 1,300 members from around the globe.
3
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£28,572
pledged of £130,000 stretch target from 764 pledges
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Dale Trust
Case Owner
The Dale Trust is the body set up to look after the interests of the Dale Supporters, the Football Club and the wider Community with close to 1,300 members from around the globe.
Pledge now

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Who are we?

The Dale Supporters Trust works closely with the board of RAFC to help provide our members and the total fanbase with the opportunity to have a better say in the running of the club and to help spread ownership amongst its members. Much of our work benefits facilities within the club stadium which of course extends into the wider community as well as RAFC. As one of RAFC’s largest shareholders we are pleased to have an excellent working relationship with the current board and make every effort to bring supporters and the club closer together.

Why do we need help?

The Dale Supporters Trust and 8 members of the board of RAFC are facing a High Court legal action brought by a company named Morton House MGT and First Form Construction Ltd (‘Morton House’). It is alleged by Morton House that the Dale Trust and the board have unlawfully caused prejudice to Morton House as a shareholder in RAFC; something which the Dale Trust and the board strenuously deny.

Owing to this being a dispute between shareholders, the litigation cannot be funded by RAFC itself which means that the Dale Trust (a not-for-profit organisation) and the RAFC board (all of whom are unpaid for their work at RAFC) must bear the cost of defending what is often a notoriously expensive legal claim.

A Call to Football Fans

Rochdale AFC was founded in 1907 and since that time it has never had a majority owner. Presently the club has over 300 shareholders the majority of which are fans. To that end, it has always been a fan-owned club.

Back in June 2021 the board of directors of RAFC was overhauled and a new Chairman was appointed in Simon Gauge. The new board members are all fans of RAFC and all volunteer their time without taking any money out of the club. At the same time the Dale Trust obtained representation on the board for the first time in its history.

During this period, and without sanction of the board, Morton House was in the process of acquiring shares in RAFC direct from shareholders with the aim of attaining a majority shareholding in the club. Such a takeover was unwelcomed by the Dale Trust and the board but, most importantly, by the fans. On that basis it could only be described as hostile. Furthermore, the acquisition of shares by Morton House was contrary to English Football League regulations, which had been strengthened following the sad events at Bolton Wanderers and Bury FC only one year prior.

We believe that this is the first time that any supporters body has ever faced such a legal action and we are calling on the help of football supporters within the UK and from around the world to support us in resisting the claim that has been brought by Morton House which, if successful, could result in it being in a strong position to gain control of RAFC. Governance in football is a huge issue right now with the Tracey Crouch Fan Led Review, and we are of the opinion that the safest future for our beloved club is that it continues to be owned and ran by supporters for the benefit of supporters and the community at large.

Who is our legal team?

The Dale Trust and the board have instructed HY Solicitors to act on our behalf. They have agreed to represent us in this matter below market rates. Queen’s Counsel has also been instructed.

How much we are raising and why

Unfair prejudice claims can be very costly. We are seeking to raise £130,000 to go towards the costs of defending these proceedings. Should there be any surplus, this would be donated to Rochdale AFC Football in the Community Trust, a registered charity, which carries out community work and charitable projects.

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