1884 Interview

In our next in the series of who’s who at Leicester City, Matt Davis interviews Steve Mason, manager of the 1884 bar. 

Before you read the question and answers we posed to Steve, I wanted to thank Steve formally via the Trust website on behalf of all Foxes Trust Members for his support in allowing us to hand out leaflets informing fans what we are about and how to join the trust, it is very much appreciated.  

How long have you been a Leicester City Supporter for? – Over 10 years now.  

And how long have you been in the Pub Trade for? – 25 Years!! 

What is the history behind the formation and subsequent opening of the 1884 bar by you?

I was approached by the Chief Executive Tim Davies, to design and build the 1884 Sports Bar for season ticket holders, on a first come first served basis to enjoy a pre/post match drink at no extra cost. It opened at the beginning of the 2004/05 season after taking seven months to set up. My role here is to run the Sports Bar which includes all the hire for the evening functions. (See below for more details regarding functions available).    

Until I actually started going into the 1884 bar on a match day, I knew very little about it, can you give fans some details about the 1884 bar on match days?

Firstly let me say it is located between the mega store and the ticket office at the Walkers Stadium.  

On a Saturday match day we are open between 12:00 and kick off for season ticket holder only and then again after the game until 19:00 for all home fans.  Children are allowed between 12.00 and 13.00 and also after the game. Children are not allowed in at the peak times of 13.00 and 15.00 for safety reasons as it is usually busy…..

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Continuing Our Look at FITC

This is the third article of the series where Trust Board Member Matt Davis looks at the work of the Football In The Community (FITC) via a question and answer session with Craig White who manages the scheme, today we concentrate on a more in depth details of services provided. 

How (typically) do you link up with educational establishments? There are many and varied ways we interact with educational establishments, examples include: 

Curriculum Time Coaching:

All throughout the school year we offer football coaching courses for ages 5 plus during school time, often during PE lessons.  These sessions provide excellent fun learning opportunities for the children and also provide teachers with plenty of ideas for the future.  We visit schools across all of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and in one year try to see 25 schools per week, which is around 25,000 children per year. 

Lunchtime Coaching:

Also available to schools is the lunchtime session option.  We can come along during lunchtimes throughout the week as we realise how hectic after school clubs are and often schools would prefer this choice.  Although are sessions are shorter there’s still plenty of time for our experienced coaches to provide fun skills and games for the children. 

After Schools Coaching:

A favourite among schools is the after schools coaching sessions.  We offer up to an hour and a quarter worth of coaching straight after the school day has finished.  We can come to the school for a six week block during which time the children will learn lots of skills, techniques and take part in mini tournaments.  At the end of the block we also have competition sessions with the chance of winning prizes in our penalty competition or the king of the ring or even in a skill competition!!….

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Mandaric Bid “Green Light”

The Foxes Trust can confirm that along with other LCFC shareholders at the EGM on the 18th November 2006, it backed the LCFC boards request to proceed to the next stage of the process for Milan Mandaric's takeover of the club.

As the next stage of the process will focus on legal and financial processes, all parties will be able to make little comment in the weeks ahead, as stated by the takeover code, therefore the Foxes Trust will only be able to make very limited information available to its members and the wider fan base.

For details on the likely timescales, we would recommend listening to the Radio Leicester interview of Andrew Taylor which followed the EGM, a link is provided here (requires realtime software to listen)




Looking at the Alternatives

Having looked at issues surrounding the Mandaric bid in this article the Trust looks at various alternative funding options the City Board might put to shareholders at the EGM this weekend. 

Back in June then newly appointed City Chairman Andrew Taylor answered questions from Trust members re the clubs finances & what he & his colleagues on the Board were doing to bring additional finance to the club. 

Below we repeat some of Andrew’s answers & ask if they are still  & how they compare, favourably or otherwise to takeover bid… 

In answer to a question about the level of the clubs’ debt & owning the Walker Stadium Andrew replied… 

First, let's be clear about the level of debt. The only (significant) debt the club has is in the stadium. It's not a case of clearing debts and then working on buying the stadium. It's simply a case of working out what we do to fund the acquisition of the stadium. One of the ways to do it was to joint venture our interest in the stadium. There was some opposition to the Tigers ground share. Much of the criticism was well intentioned but emotive and ill informed when the underlying objective was to find a way of protecting the long term future of the club at the Walkers. The ground share remains one of the ways that we could raise the capital to do it……” 

Trust comment: Clearly then the issue of ground share is something Andrew Taylor was not (at that time) ruling out. With that in mind & knowing when members were canvassed two years ago only just over half were in favour we decided to canvass opinion again in light of the bid by Mandaric….

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Trust Examine Main Issues of a Bid

In this article we look at some important issues raised by Trust members in respect of the bid by Milan Mandaric for the takeover of Leicester City FC. 

Ownership of the Walkers Stadium – For the club to move forwards re-structuring the debt on the Walkers Stadium is paramount. While the club continues to be in the Championship repayments to Teachers simply serve to pay interest on what is in effect a mortgage. Only a sustained period of Premiership income would reduce the debt & eventually bring ownership of the stadium back to the club. 

Initial media reports on Mandaric’s bid indicated the bid included the purchase of the Walkers Stadium as part of the purchase price for the club. This led some supporters to believe ownership of the stadium would come back to the club & the debt on it would be cleared. 

However it now appears the value of the bid does not include for the purchase of the stadium. That does not mean necessarily Mandaric would not provide finances buy the stadium – but this will have to be repaid in the form of loan or other such agreement. The debt will still exist & until such time as it is repaid ownership of the stadium will not belong to LCFC.

In that respect nothing changes, however if the terms of any loan to purchase the stadium are more favourable than the current deal with Teachers, then clearly this beneficial to the club & would presumably be welcomed by shareholders & fans alike….

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