Pars United Q&A – East End Park
What was the background to the purchase of East End Park?
When initially formed in April 2013, the stated aim and strategy of Pars United was to try and ensure that DAFC could continue to play matches at our spiritual home, East End Park.
At that time, we knew that East End Park was owned by East End Park Ltd (EEPL), a subsidiary of Charlestown Holdings Limited, and after some investigation identified that the lease in place between DAFC and EEPL was subject to a rental of £300,000 per annum. This was contrary to the perception that a rent free option was available on the ground, in actual fact the rent had never been collected. So at this stage, we had to consider the option of negotiating with EEPL but we understood that East End Park was being used as security for a £12m loan from Lloyds Banking Group (LBG).
However, East End Park Ltd went into administration on 28 May 2013, with KPMG appointed as administrators. We then had to consider how best to approach KPMG who were acting on behalf of LBG, to avoid East End Park falling into the wrong hands. Our initial hope was that LBG might provide a funding mechanism such as a long term mortgage to allow Pars United to acquire the ground.
The wind was taken from our sails, only a few days later, when BDO (who were the administrators for DAFC) and KPMG jointly announced that they were looking for offers for both DAFC and East End Park. Not only that, but all interested parties had only 10 days’ notice to submit their offers together with proof of funding, to become “preferred bidder”.
Pars United requested an early meeting with both BDO and KPMG to discuss the matter, and it was made clear that LBG would not be in a position to assist the purchase of East End Park which was a view shared by other lenders we approached, as there is no longer an appetite to lend to Football Clubs.
Therefore, it left us with no other option but to seek funders who had to “step up to the plate” on behalf of the Pars Family. A number of Pars Patrons underwrote this, and generously funded the purchase of the Stadium.