Happy to service your needs Mark!
There was a decent turn out, the top table staffed by Martin McDonough, Alan Marshall and Steve Wild with assistance from a lady from the Supporters Direct organisation. No club officials were present.
Martin opened the meeting with a description of the existing situation with the club, to the best of the Trust's knowledge. A HMRC Winding Up Order is still extant and the court case is scheduled for mid January, the outstanding amount to HMRC being circa £17k. Overall debt including that to other creditors was said to be in the region of £100k. One of the other creditors is the LSV, in respect of rent for last season. John Kidd has effectively left dissolution of the club in the hands of Paul Kidd.
The RFL has assisted the club by forwarding 3 months of central payments in advance.
The interested party in taking over the club is Dr Marwan Koukash. Trust officials have met with one of Dr Koukash's representatives. It appears that Dr Koukash's interest is dependent on a number of things, most important of which is getting support from Salford City Council to take forwards a development of the former St Ambrose Barlow High School site and the footprint of Swinton Post Office. The proposed development was said to include restaurant units, other revenue raisers and a ground for the Lions. The expectation is that should Dr Koukash go ahead with the takeover, the Trust would not be directly involved in the running of the club.
It appears that all talk of developing a new ground at Agecroft has come to an end, the amount of available land at that site being insufficient.
Steve Wild had drafted out a template letter which attendees were encouraged to crib and send to their councillors. The main theme of the letter being that the Council should support Dr Koukash's proposed development.
In parallel the Trust is preparing a contingency plan should it need to take over the club. Various meetings with the Mayor, other Council officials and RFL officials have been requested, but thus far the success rate has been patchy. It is likely a CVA would have to be entered into, short of administration. There were various ideas mooted for fundraisers, voluntary efforts on matchdays to keep costs to a minimum, etc.
The Trust is trying to reach an agreement for a ground to use in 2014. Enquiries about the possibilitiy of using Moor Lane have resulted in a firm "no" from Salford City FC. LSV is likely to be too expensive. Negotiations are ongoing regarding a realistic rent to play at Barton, whose useage is restricted by a clause in the contract Sale Sharks signed when they became tenants that restricts the total number of games that can be played on the pitch - there is some uncertainty whether the Sharks would be likely to invoke the clause or not. Similar negotiations are also ongoing with Sedgeley Park RUFC about a possible return to Park Lane, a meeting of the Sedgely Park committee is going to consider the proposal in the next week or so.
Agreements with a skeleton squad of players have been put in place, to start in January. Ian Watson is clearly intended to become the coach. There has been some speculation in the trade press that Warrington are seeking an alternative partner club for 2014 due to the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the Lions, but Paul Kidd has alledgedly received assurances from Warrington that they still wish to continue with the Lions.
Rugby League - great game, shame about the administration.