It is with considerable pride – and immense pleasure – that I can today confirm we have secured a loan facility to complete the financing of our new home in Plough Lane.
I cannot thank the stadium committee members enough for reaching this historic milestone. In particular, Edward Leek, Dons Trust board member, and Tom Rawcliffe, the club’s Financial Controller, have worked incredibly hard over a number of months in order to secure this facility in such a difficult economic climate.
The deal we have agreed with MSP Capital, a property finance firm based in Dorset, is a short-term, 18-month bridging loan of £4 million (plus a further allowance for fees and rolled-up interest). This will be secured against our new stadium and guaranteed by AFCW PLC. We don’t have to borrow all of it – it’s a facility that we can draw down in stages. In fact, it’s very much in our interests to carry on raising funds via our Plough Lane Bond, or via equity, and reduce the need to draw down on the loan.
I must stress the loan is solely for stadium work. Money will only be released against invoices clearly relevant to the construction project. Under no circumstances can any funds be transferred to other areas – like, for example, the playing budget.
There’s no doubt this has removed a major headache for the club. We can now divert our attentions back to the forthcoming season and preparing for the intensely uncertain, post-Covid world we are all facing. This unquestionably presents a whole new series of challenges but we can take comfort from knowing the stadium project has the funding it needs to reach completion.
To say I am proud of what we have achieved is almost an understatement. This is a triumph for absolutely everybody at our club, and – of course - for the thousands of our fans who raised over £7.5million via the Plough Lane Bond and crowdfunding campaign. I’m also immensely grateful to MSP Capital, who listened to our story – stayed at the table in an uncertain economic climate - and were then prepared to help turn our dream into a reality. They have experience of supporting football clubs, and I am certain they were impressed by the sheer professionalism of our team. Equally, I would also like to place on record my appreciation of our loan broker, CreditSquare, and our lawyers, Browne Jacobson LLP, for their continued assistance throughout this process.
The words ‘thank you’ barely seem adequate. Once again, I am reminded just how special our club is – from the backroom team which has secured this loan, to all the extraordinary supporters who invest not just their money, but their hearts and souls, into everything we do and believe in.
Further, I am able to confirm that, following the General Meeting held on Monday 29th June, all resolutions were passed to approve Nick Robertson’s £2.5million investment in AFCW PLC.
You all richly deserve this special moment and I cannot wait for the day when we are back together – side by side - at our spiritual home.
Mark Davis, Chair of the Dons Trust and of the Stadium Committee, added: “This is an important milestone for us in bringing the stadium project to a conclusion, and one that we’ve all been waiting for, for quite a while. My thanks go to Tom, Edward and Stadium Committee colleagues for bringing this across the line. I look forward to Wimbledon fans being able to go and watch football in our new stadium very soon.”