By Bill Heaney

Updated on July 16, 2021, at 12.15

Updated on July 19, 2021, at 13.00

The writing is on the wall at Dumbarton Football Club’s stadium at the foot of the ancient Castle Rock – although the directors of the Community Stadium Company who own a tranche of  “golden shares” in the struggling business are still hopeful of saving it.

Talk of imminent closure of the dearly loved but sadly neglected institution has spread through the town like wildfire.

Any future which senior football may have, including the club’s present home at Dumbarton Rock and a proposed alternative site at Young’s Farm on Renton Road, looks now to be no more than a distant possibility, but dyed in the wool Sons fans, who are part of the local community, are determined not to let the club die.

This situation, The Dumbarton Democrat can reveal, comes in the wake of three PDFs  contained in an e-mail sourced in Spain and far away Belize claiming to detail the actuality of the situation at the football club, which is in dire straits.

The Norwegian-based group who trumpeted the fact that they recently bought the club are said to be not within their legal rights to have done so, although further legal challenges would appear to be inevitable.

A flurry of documents from an English financial adviser called Andrew Sweeney, claims that he has first call on £2 million of any money raised through the sale of the club.

Mr Sweeney maintains that one Andrew Hosie, son of the late Calum Hosie, who owned Sons through a company called Brabco, misappropriated £2 million of his money without his permission. Disqualified director, Andrew Hosie, denies that he misappropriated any money.

The club owns a substantial piece of land at the foot of Dumbarton Castle, which is eagerly sought after by building companies who wish to carry out further development at the river end of Castle Street.

The Dumbarton Community Stadium Ltd was founded in 2001 to protect the heritable assets of the club by way of the company holding 100 special category C shares in the club.

These are widely known as “the golden shares”.

Robert Ryan, a life-long Sons fan is a director of the Community Stadium Company, whose board met a few weeks ago.

He said: “A considerable sum of public money was raised to complete the building of the club’s stadium, through the good offices of then Dumbarton MP John McFall.

“The C shares, preventing the sale of the club assets to a third party, were a way of ensuring that this investment was protected. We have been concerned at recent events surrounding the club and its new owners.

“Recently I contacted John Steele, pictured left, the DFC chairman, to seek clarity on several transactions which had taken place in Dumbarton FC and Associated Companies.

“I understand that Mr Steele has thus far been unable to secure an answer from the club owners, Cognitive Capital. I have now contacted Henning Kristofferson for clarification on the various issues.

“The contents of the email circulated by Andrew Sweeney is of very grave concern to us and we shall immediately be seeking explanations from the club owners on the apparently very serious matters of fiduciary duty and governance raised.”

When the club moved away from its former stadium at Boghead Park, major companies, including what is now the Chivas whisky giant, contributed large sums to the development of the Rock Stadium.

Scottish Enterprise, which is currently involved with the controversial Flamingo Land development at Balloch, was also involved in the football stadium debacle.

This story was amended on July 19, 2021, to take into account comments from Andrew Hosie.

The Dumbarton FC stadium at the foot of the Rock. Wanted for housing.


  1. Shady dealings at Dumbarton FC with eyes on the prize of more land for highly priced private homes.

  2. Hi Bill. Your reporting of my email and it’s contents are not correct in parts. I think you have misinterpreted some things. However the sale of Dumbarton FC to the Norwegians was illegal and brokered through a banned director and fraudster , Andy Hosie. Please can you re read my email and attachments in full and make the necessary corrections. Happy to do an interview. Regards and nice to speak to you this evening. Andrew.

  3. Hi Bill, you have misled many people with this article, not least Dumbarton fans who were sent into a panic yesterday with you stating that the club is about to die. Nothing you have said here leads to the death of Dumbarton Football Club. Please explain what info you have that means the end for DFC, or change your article to be less sensationalist.

    1. I understand you are concerned about this, but would you rather know nothing about it? Some people would. News is something someone somewhere would rather see not printed. If you believe this is not happening at Dumbarton FC; that the club is not in danger,then that is a matter for you. My position is that all this is happening behind the backs of the faithful supporters who should know about it. If all the cards fall the wrong way for the club – and I sincerely hope they don’t – then don’t say to me that The Democrat failed to expose as much as it could of what is going on there. Looked at positively, however, it could be that letting the cat out of the bag will act as a catalyst for the club to properly organise its affairs and give manager Stevie Farrell an opportunity to field a team which would do Dumbarton proud.

      1. Yes we need to know about things but you’re talking about our club having no future when you’re claims don’t back that up. Some of your language here is intentionally trying to stir things up, if your aim is to inform the fans then leave out the inflammatory comments.

      2. There is a very real possibility that Dumbarton FC could die if things go on the way they have been.
        But what you are asking me to do is the equivalent of asking me not to shout a warning when I see you are about to be knocked down by a bus.
        I am here to stir things up. What do you think journalists are for? By stirring things up, we attract attention to matters that people need to know about.
        So that they can use what power they have to stop bad things happening. It would be a shame if Dumbarton FC died because of what’s happening now. We need people with power and influence to sort out the club’s affairs and to demonstrate publicly that they are doing that.

  4. A most interesting article Editor.

    And the exposure of the goings on in our wee toon will come as a revelation to many. I’ll bet you there will not be many that know that the ownership of Dumbarton Football Club resides with a company in Belize.

    Nor will many be aware that in the background of company ownership there are allegations of threats of mafia violence about asset disputes.

    And all in oor wee toon and oor wee team. Certainly looks like the football has got nothing to do with anything but rather it’s all about off shore companies and potential property development.

    Jim Bolan’s earlier comment hits the nail on the head – but Belize?

  5. Bill, I’ll ask you once more to outline exactly what could happen that puts us out of business? “There is a very real possibility that Dumbarton could die if things continue the way they have been”. I want you to be very specific about these “things” and I want you to explain how it means we’ll go out of business.

    Journalists are there to inform, not sensationalise. Leave out the death of the club stuff and report on the ownership matters if you must. Your faux-empathy for my club (note that, MY club, not yours) isn’t washing. You’re not a Dumbarton fan.

    1. The answer to your first question is simple: If the club is starved of money, it will die. Dumbarton has no money to speak of and their cash is fast running out. I have supported Dumbarton since I was a wee boy, travelling all over Scotland to watch them even when they were in C Division. I stopped turning up at the ground when I found the people running the club were not in tune with my thinking which is that any board should be but custodians of something that should really belong to the community, not people who are there only to make money for themselves. We need philanthropists such as the late Sir Hugh Fraser, for example, not speculators who want to pull our ground from under our feet. We don’t need people who want to build houses on our penalty spot. The fact that West Dunbartonshire Council seems anxious to accommodate the builders says much about them. As for owners in Belize and Spain, I would feel happier if the owners were from Bellsmyre and Silverton. I remember the halcyon days at Fatal Boghead when the forward line was Brown, Whalen, Gallacher, Gibson and Heaney and the fans wore black and gold scarves with pride. Concerned? Your accusation of sensationalism on my part is nonsense.

      1. Have you seen our latest accounts, Bill? Our financial position is described as healthy. Unless you’re telling me lifelong Sons fan Stephen Lynch who is the board member who looks after our finances is cooking the books? I find it a bit strange an apparent Dumbarton fan wouldn’t be aware of the clubs latest set of accounts. You’re absolutely at it.

        We’d all rather local people owned the club but the club has been available for purchase numerous times in the last 20 years and nobody has taken an interest. The lies, half truths and conjecture you are offering up here does nothing more than create hits on your blog, in no way has this article reliably informed the Dumbarton fans, nor will it do anything to fix the situation.

  6. Oh well Editor there you have it from CF

    Nothing to look at, nothing to see, Dumbarton Football Club is a picture of health

    Illegal owners in Norway, ultimate owners in Belize, threats of mafia violence, a banned director, allegations of stolen millions – certainly all sounds a bit dodgy too me.

    There used to a football club in Clydebank that is now a shopping centre development. Where is that club now?

    And is there any parallels CF. Of course not CF. Nothing to see. All in order. And bad editor for even raising the matter.

    1. Who’s said there’s nothing to see? The owner situation is not good, and obviously there are things being alleged here that are concerning, but nothing being said means that Dumbarton Football Club has no future, which Bill has been peddling right from the off of this article. If Andy Hosie has carried out illegal actions then I’m sure the authorities will deal with it, but again, what Hosie has done does not lead to the death of DFC. Financially, the club has lodged accounts and states we’re in a healthy position – are you disputing this?

      The current board have done an excellent job of steering the club through the pandemic and have given Stevie Farrell good backing. The current board have worked without Brabco’s assistance for more than 10 years and the club achieved a lot in that period. I am a lifelong Dumbarton fan, I take a very keen interest in everything that goes on. Brabco were registered in Belize, I was part of the fans group who lobbied them to change this but ultimately they never listened. I’ve been to meetings concerning Brabco’s old plans for the club and I have vehemently defended the assets and future of Dumbarton football club at every turn. I will continue to do so when the Norwegians eventually present their future for the club. It is clear from this article and the conversation with yourself and Bill that neither of you have more than a passing interest in my club, so spare me the faux concern and if you want to seriously help the club, join the Supporters Trust and help us keep DFC safe as one – leave the clickbait articles to the side.

      1. I said nothing about Stephen Lynch. You are wide of the mark in many of your comments. I have contributed from time to time to the Supporters’ Trust and shopped in the Sons Shop. As far as doing “an excellent job of steering the club through the pandemic” does that include not having enough players in place to meet their fixture commitments during the pandemic? The concern about Sons future is valid. The prospect of a ground sale is truly frightening. If they end up being evicted to Young’s Farm on Renton Road then that could be the final whistle for them.

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