Your opportunity to play an important role in our return to Plough Lane
As many of you already know, we’ve launched a unique crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs aimed at getting us back to our spiritual home in Plough Lane. Below is a QandA which explains everything you need to know - and, hopefully, inspires you to play your part for the club we all love...
Q: What is crowdfunding?
A: Quite simply, a way of raising money that doesn’t come from banks.
Q: Why are we doing it?
A: To help pay for our new stadium so we can kick off season 2020/21 back where we belong - in Plough Lane.
Q: What will the new stadium cost?
A: We expect the construction of the stadium to cost approximately £30 million. A portion of this cost will come from this crowdfunding round, alongside other sources of funding.
Q: How does crowdfunding work?
A: You simply open an account with our partners - Seedrs - which is free and easy to do. After setting up your basic account and becoming authorised to invest, you can invest as much or as little as you like in exchange for shares in the club. Your investment may be rounded up or down slightly, depending on the designated share price.
Q: How many shares are for sale?
A: We’re making available a 25 per cent stake in our club.
Q: What’s the minimum and the maximum I can invest?
A: The minimum investment is £10. There is no maximum!
Q: How much do we need to raise?
A: In total, we need £13million. However, the maximum we’re legally allowed to raise via crowdfunding is £7m - or, almost £300 for every one of the 23,000 fans who attended the Wembley play-off final!
Q: What if we don’t raise enough?
A: Then we will potentially have to borrow more money from the bank, which isn’t ideal. Ultimately that means less money for Wally to bring in new players and bolster the team.
Q: Who are Seedrs?
A: One of the UK’s most renowned and respected crowdfunding platforms, Seedrs allows people to invest any amount in businesses they believe in. With more than £618 million invested into pitches, and over 820 deals funded to date, Seedrs has an exceptional track record in helping businesses of all shapes and sizes source funding and grow their brands. It was also the very first company of its kind to be fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Q: Why would I want to invest in AFC Wimbledon?
A: Because you’re like us: you want to see our club back where it belongs, in a stadium that’s equipped for the future with facilities that generate income and become a symbol of pride for the entire Wimbledon community.
Q: Are there any rewards for buying shares?
A: Absolutely yes - and they’re unlike any others offered by a football club.
Q: So what would I get if I simply buy one £10 share?
A: The chance to win the naming rights for our new stadium! We are setting aside 20 per cent of all our home matches for a Premium Bond-style draw. If you own a share, and your name comes out of the hat, then your name will be emblazoned across the front of our stadium for the next match.
Q: What if I don’t win the draw?
A: Your name is still guaranteed to be on our new stadium. We will be building a commemorative wall bearing the names of every single fan who buys a share in our club. Something that will stand for ever, passing through football seasons and family generations. That’s what your investment means to us.
Q: Are there any more rewards if I buy more than one share?
A: Yes, there are - depending, of course, on how much you invest. You could have your name on one of the new seats, receive free hospitality tickets or become the proud owner of a signed team shirt, for example. Stay tuned - further details will be released once the campaign is live!
Q: Are there any other incentives?
A: You could have your name on the stadium kiosks and turnstiles. For something completely different, why not put your name on the urinals or beer taps? That’d impress your mates, for sure!
Q: What if I want to invest a serious sum of money - say £50,000 or even more?
A: Then you can become an official club patron with access to the president’s lounge and guaranteed priority tickets. Ultimately, you could become a club patron with access to the boardroom for 10 years - plus hospitality and priority tickets. We recognise each one of our big ticket investors as club patrons, giving them access to the boardroom, including hospitality and premium tickets for up to ten years.
Q: I know people under 18 can’t buy shares, but can someone buy shares on behalf of someone under 18?
A: The thing to do is to buy shares for themselves, and then we can create a share transfer once the investment has been closed manually. So in theory, they can't buy shares on someone else's behalf outright, however they can transfer to that individual at a later date
Q: Is there a danger that one individual could end up owning our club?
A: No. Never! 75% of the club will remain held by our current shareholders and the Dons Trust.
Q: What happens if Seedrs gets taken over, or struggles to survive themselves?
A: Regardless of Seedrs’ financial success, your stake in AFC Wimbledon is safe. It doesn’t matter if you have one share, or hundreds of shares, your ownership in the club will be upheld. As an FCA-regulated company, Seedrs has comprehensive legal frameworks in place designed to protect your shareholding, under all circumstances.
Q: I thought we had enough money for the stadium already?
A: Back in 2015, we thought we’d only need to raise between £3 to £7million to fund the stadium. However, a lot has changed since then. We’ve faced a number of unexpected delays and have had to make several necessary design changes to improve the West Stand’s foundation and surrounding land. As such, our costs have gone up and we’re looking to raise more to ensure the finished product is just what we always hoped for.
Q: Why was the pre-registration phase so important?
A: Pre-registration allows us to share the news with our fans and supporters, and gauge their level of investment interest. It also grants those most excited to have priority access to the campaign, so they can be among the first to get involved before it opens to the public.
Q: What if we can’t raise enough?
A: We’ll have to cut back on what we build. If we manage to hit £10m - instead of £13m - that will just about buy us the bare minimum.
Q: So why not settle for £10m then?
A: Because it wouldn’t be the best we can be. A cheaper stadium would mean fewer facilities, which means we wouldn’t generate as much commercial revenue as we’d like. That, in turn, would mean less funds for the team. It would also lessen the experience for our fans and the wider community.
Q: Will I get any dividends if I invest?
A: Should we climb into the Championship - and ultimately reach the Premier League - then it will absolutely be the club’s intention to reward all its shareholders. However, we have to be realistic at this stage, and therefore can’t make any guarantees. Our current priority is to continue to grow the club, by managing our finances responsibly. What we can say with certainty, is that when good times come, we won’t forget the people who got us there.
Q: Can’t we just borrow more money from the banks and not worry about crowdfunding?
A: In theory, yes - but in practice, no. The more money we borrow, the higher our repayments become - and the less money Wally has to strengthen the team. None of us wants that.
Q: How do I pay?
A: You can pay for your investment using a debit card or a bank transfer. All funds are held in escrow by Seedrs until the final investment is made in to the company at the end of the campaign.
Q: So what do I do now?
A: The crowdfunding campaign will launch publicly on Seedrs in early July. The week prior, the campaign will be open exclusively to fans and Dons Trust members. To ensure you’re included in this priority investment phase, pre- register your interest now at dons.seedrs.com and we’ll be in touch with the details.
Investing in private businesses involves risks, including loss of capital, illiquidity, lack of dividends and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. Seedrs is targeted solely at investors who are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these risks and make their own investment decisions. This message has been approved as a financial promotion by Seedrs Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.