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Cherries: Mitchell defends dedication scheme
Published : 09 Mar 2010 07:00:00
CHAIRMAN Eddie Mitchell last night defended the controversial new idea aimed at wiping out Cherries' debt mountain. Mitchell backed the AFC Bournemouth Dedication Scheme which officially launches today after its weekend unveiling prompted a mixed response from supporters. The initiative is one of a series of upcoming projects aimed at putting the Dean Court outfit on a firmer footing as they bid to eat into a crippling debt of more than £800,000. Having already generated a number of pledges totalling around £1,000, the scheme asks for fans to donate money towards clearing the club's outstanding liabilities of £846,924 and, should those debts be cleared, donors could be in line for a possible cash return if and when Cherries sell assets. On hearing about the proposal, some fans responded by calling for further investment from the board. But Mitchell reiterated his firm stance that Cherries cannot rely on individual funding. When informed about the criticism from some quarters, he told the Echo: I put in what needed to be put in to keep the club afloat now we're trying to get on our feet. I work at the club half of the working week that's (worth) a lot of money. I'm working half the night thinking about things. I'm not charging the club for my time and other people are there at my expense. I think people realise the club has got a much better feel about it now than this time last season and people can see inroads are being made. We just want everybody to join in. This scheme was suggested by the supporters, I've carried it through and let's hope we can all join in. We're hoping to come up with another scheme by the end of the week, which should be quite interesting. But this is the most straightforward one and one which could help give us the funds to get rid of the debt. Mitchell added: If we get these debts wiped out, I won't let the club go back into debt. We'll pay with what we've got and that's it. The need to raise funds became even more critical after the club was issued with another winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs last month. Cherries are set for a court hearing on March 31 over a £314,000 debt to the tax man. Cherries' advance season ticket offer expires today and the club revealed that a further 50 people had purchased in the past 24 hours. Prior to February 25, the scheme had raised around £300,000. Further information on the dedication scheme can be obtained from the Dean Court club shop.