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.