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20 NEW SHAREHOLDERS (10/17)

Last Saturday we were delighted to receive another tremendous donation to Club 135 from Zoe. In order to show our gratitude to Zoe, it was arranged for Club President Alex Anderson and director Jimmy Calderwood to hand over a gift of 20 shares in Cowdenbeath FC.

It was also a delight to have 20 new shareholders created in the club following their support via donations to Club 135. Certificates have now been awarded and the following letter was sent welcoming each new shareholder: ‘I am delighted to be able to write to you and to now welcome you in your capacity as one of the owners of the Cowdenbeath Football Club Ltd. Your generous donation (or your friend/family’s) donation to Club 135 is greatly appreciated by the Directors of Cowdenbeath FC. As you are likely aware, Cowdenbeath FC Chairman Donald Findlay kindly agreed to gift a share from his own personal shareholding to each contributor subscribing 250 or more to Club 135. Such contributions are absolutely vital as we seek to build a viable future for our club. The Club has had its ups and downs recently and still faces a range of real challenges but we continue to strive to find the best way to take the club forward. As one of the Club’s owners, you too have a role to play in this process.

You may be interested in some of the back story as regards the structure of Cowdenbeath FC. The Club played its first match in October 1880 under the title of Cowdenbeath Rangers. Another club was formed in Cowdenbeath in 1881 and it took the name Raith Rovers. Cowdenbeath Rangers and Raith Rovers then merged in 1882 to become Cowdenbeath Football Club. The Club was incorporated on 1 March 1905 as the Cowdenbeath Football Club Ltd and 1200 5 shilling (25p) shares were then issued just before the Club became members of the Scottish Football League. Further share capital was raised after the Great War with the issue of most of the authorised 1 shares as Cowdenbeath FC moved from North End Park to Central Park, erected the Grandstand at Central Park and then gained promotion to the top flight in 1924.

As a Shareholder, you will be invited to the Club’s AGM each year and will be provided with a copy of the Club’s annual accounts. We would of course be keen to see you at the AGM but please feel free to contact the Club/Board at any time – thoughts, ideas, suggestions and even investment are always welcome. Thank you again for your support of Cowdenbeath FC via Club 135 and by cheering the team on at Central Park or from afar’.

Just a reminder that everyone who contributes to Club 135 will ultimately have their names recorded on a Roll of Honour Board which will be located on the wall of the players’ tunnel at Central Park. In addition, anyone donating 250 or more to Club 135 will be gifted one share in Cowdenbeath FC and thus have an opportunity which has rarely ever been publicly available to become one of the club’s owners! The next lot of shares will be issued pre-Christmas – so if you wish to make such a donation you could secure an ideal Christmas gift for a Cowden fan or enjoy the satisfaction of being one of the Club’s owners.

ZOE KNOCKS IT OUT OF THE PARK (10/17)

The remarkable Zoe Smith is to present another cheque as a donation to Club 135. Not content with season after season sourcing some extraordinary signed memorabilia for the Club’s Sportsman’s Dinner – this year there are items from luminaries in the football, darts, boxing worlds as well as a Cowden top (Number 1) signed by Andy Murray – she has undertaken various sponsored activities to raise even more funds for our club.

In the last 14 months she has swum Loch Lomond twice, been the only woman to play in and complete a 24-hour football match and swum in the English Channel. Not long ago she made a donation to Club 135 of some 5,000. Today she will hand over another cheque for the fund for some 6000 – truly incredible stuff. So please today give a big hand to someone who has gone much further than the proverbial extra-mile with some unparalleled fundraising efforts. It just shows what drive and determination can do and is an example to all. The Board of Directors of Cowdenbeath FC would also like to give their own personal thanks to Zoe – we are greatly indebted to her for all that she has done for Cowdenbeath FC.

OLD CROCKS MATCH – PROGRESS TO DATE (08/17)

A reminder that everyone who contributes to Club 135 will ultimately have their names recorded on a Roll of Honour Board which will be located on the wall of the players’ tunnel at Central Park. In addition, anyone donating 250 or more to Club 135 will be gifted one share in Cowdenbeath FC and thus have an opportunity which has rarely ever been publicly available to become one of the club’s owners!

There have been a few queries as to when shares will be issued. The arrangement will be that shares will be issued to donors (if they wish to take up the gift option) on a quarterly basis (it is unwieldy and administratively difficult to do this more frequently). Thus all those who contribute 250 or more before 1 September 2017 will be allotted their share in September 2017. The club will contact all those eligible in advance to make final arrangements. The cut off date for the next quarter will then be 1 December and anyone who wanted to gift a share at Christmas could then be accommodated.

In our last issue we highlighted the sterling fund-raising efforts spearheaded by Colin Nelson who arranged an ‘Old Crocks’ match at Central Park which raised over 1000 as Cowdenbeath Blue Brazil took on Cowdenbeath Miners. Other donors recently have included Archie Gilchrist, the Campbell Family, Norman Murray, Bruce Allan, Ian Stewart, Gordon McKinlay, William Whyte, Ian McKinlay, the Lonies, D Briggs, Bob Burt and John Jones – to name just a few.

Then there has been a truly remarkable donation from fundraiser extraordinaire Zoe Smith. There can be few people which such a knack for raising cash for worthy causes than Zoe – events such as her Loch Lomond swim and her English Channel swim have been backed by sponsorships from a gallery of sporting superstars and her many friends and contacts including many Cowden fans. Zoe in the last week or so has made a remarkable, brand new donation to the Cowdenbeath FC’s Club 135 of 5,000!!!! What a wonderful effort and it shows just what can be achieved. Zoe is maybe rather unique but we can all play a part in getting things to snowball as regards Club 135. Yes, make a donation but the absolutely vital role we ask you to play for our club is to be ambassadors for it by promoting Club 135 to your friends and contacts on social media, e-mail, etc. – just as if you had a sponsor sheet! And enlist those friends to enlist their friends and so on. You can also make a contribution in memory of a loved one – maybe someone who was a Cowdenbeath fan or who came from Cowdenbeath. There have already been a number of such donations – the most recent being ‘In memory of Jimmy McGuire and Wullie Muir’.

The overall target as many will know is for the club to raise a total of 135,000. The overall target as many will know is for the club to raise a total of 135,000. Yes, it is an ambitious target but with your commitment to bring the needed momentum to bear we can get there. We are pleased to confirm that Club 135 thus far has generated a total of some 14,500 – a great initial step towards meeting our goal.

Now lots of people have already stepped up to contribute.

BECOME A SHAREHOLDER (06/17)

Get Your Name or that of a loved one inscribed onto the Roll of Honour Board at Central Park or even Own a Share in Cowdenbeath Football Club!

As fans and members of the local community know we have really been in a ‘Save Cowdenbeath FC mode’ since 2010. For just over 135 years, this small Fife town has had a senior football team. Indeed around the world, many people only know of the existence of Cowdenbeath itself because of its Football Club. Founded by miners, the Club has been based at its current ground Central Park for exactly 100 years and has been a member of the Scottish League for some 112 years. On 20th May, the club faced one of its greatest challenges as it sought to preserve its proud Scottish League status. It did so but only just! Fans gathered from far and wide to see Cowdenbeath defeat East Kilbride in a dramatic penalty shootout on a tension packed day. Defeat would have consigned the Club to the Lowland League and an uncertain future.

The club has actually been run by its fans for the past seven years. The current Directors of the Club are lifelong fans who continue to put considerable time and money into the Club to preserve this great community asset. The club though faces a host of challenges and in these days, it is extremely difficult to continually raise the funds required to keep Cowdenbeath FC on the world football map.

For that reason, the Club has launched Club 135 to firstly celebrate 135 years of senior football in the town. Secondly though, the aim is to raise funds to provide a more solid and sustainable financial platform to help the Club in the coming years. Our plea is that every fan, or anyone at all who has a link to this old mining town or is a well-wisher or maybe just would like to aid a small town football club, donate a minimum of 10 to the Club so that the future can be a bit more certain.

Many fans have already rallied to the cause but over and above making a donation the vital role we ask you to play for our club is to be ambassadors for it by promoting Club 135 to your friends and contacts on social media, e-mail, etc. – just as if you had a sponsor sheet! And enlist those friends to enlist their friends and so on. You can also make a contribution in memory of a loved one – maybe someone who was a Cowdenbeath fan or who came from Cowdenbeath. Just this last week or so we received donations ‘In Memory of David Skelding’, ‘In Memory of Willie Nellies’ and ‘In Memory of George Cowan’. A couple of well-wishers who made a donation this week were based in Nottingham – Simon and Steven Clough – the son and grandson respectively of football legend Brian Clough! (Nigel Clough too later made his own donation).

Everyone who contributes will ultimately have their names recorded on a Roll of Honour Board which will be located on the wall of the players’ tunnel at Central Park. In addition, anyone donating 250 or more to Club 135 will be gifted one share in Cowdenbeath FC and thus have an opportunity which has rarely ever been publicly available to become one of the club’s owners!

COMMEMORATIONS & CELEBRATIONS (05/17)

As the dust settles on season 2016/17 Club 135 assumes even more significance. It is a vital lifeline for our club and at this early stage two key funding objectives have been identified. More detail will follow in the next few days but the 2 strands are essentially 1) a boost to next season's budget in order to ensure Cowden's competitive position is improved - the play off last week being a salutary lesson for everyone; and 2) to begin to build a real and sustainable economic base to underpin the club's activities at the heart of the community in future years.

There have been several further significant donations made in the last few days - For example the winners of the Cowdenbeath 100 Club prize draw in both March (Keith Lawrence) and April (Ian Adam) each picked up,145.50. Both of them though pledged all their winnings to Club 135. What a great gesture!

Another very popular motivation behind making a donation to Club 135 is to commemorate friends and relatives no longer with us. They along with all contributors will have their names formally recorded - including we anticipate by having their names interwoven into a special edition Cowdenbeath FC jersey. Donations on such a basis this last week or so totalling 420 have been made including - 'In Memory of David Skelding', 'In Memory of William Graham', and 'From Roberta, Christine, Gordon and Ritchie Miller in Memory of Alex Miller'. What a wonderful way of honouring the memory of loyal fans of yesteryear!

Another donor Malcolm Slora celebrated a milestone birthday by donating a commensurate amount to Club 135. Maybe a loved one would appreciate a birthday donation to Club 135?

As you can see matters are gathering pace so have a think about it - how can you help? Making a donation or even better perhaps persuading friends and family to do the same or even via a fundraiser!?

BUCKET COLLECTION (05/17)

On Saturday (20/05/17) at the match v East Kilbride Alex Haddow organised a collection to help raise funds for Cowdenbeath FC's new initiative Club 135. Among those helping with the bucket collection was long-time Cowden fan Matty Aitken who had travelled all the way up from Liverpool to support his home town club. Thanks to Alex and Matty and the other volunteers involved a sum of 515.65 was raised from fans attending the game - what a great effort!

The 50/50 draw on Saturday was won by another Cowdenbeath exile Jim Blair who had come up to the game from Nottingham. Jim scooped a win of 250 and had no hesitation in pledging the full amount straight away to Club 135 - a great gesture by Jim.

Among others making their own personal contributions to Club 135 on Saturday were Dave Room and Alison Allan as another 199 was handed over.

IN MEMORIAM TRIBUTES & BUS DONATION (05/17)

We had a great 300 collective donation from those who travelled on the free bus to Elgin last Saturday. Then we can add to the Roll of Honour as contributors - Dr Bob Brownlie, Noreen Brownlie, Andrew Philp all the way from Canada, Andrine George, David George, 'In Memory of James and Fraser Bruce', Daisy Anderson, 'In Memory of Andrew Allan 1926-95', 'In Memory of Davie Allan 1897-1976', 'In Memory of Willie Bell 1902-88' and Drew Higgins who together donated a further 360.

INNES LEADS THE WAY (04/17)

On Saturday (29/4/17) we had a real show of guts and determination from our team and great backing from the Cowden faithful. Over and above the match itself, we had a number of fans keen to ensure they were among the very first to demonstrate their support for the Club by making their own donations to Club 135. Leading the way, just as he always did on the park was ex-Cowden skipper and 2006 Championship hero Innes Ritchie back at Central Park after his Australian sojourn and still showing the same great commitment to our club Innes.

We also had Gary Timney and friends Karen Harrison, Kevin Harrison and Maria Harrison travelling all the way up from Basingstoke to get behind the Blue Brazil and they also wanted to make their contribution to Club 135 handing over their tenners to Manager Gary Locke at Central Park. Cowden’s fighting display against the League leaders was enjoyed by Gary and his party as was Gary’s winning of the 50/50 draw. A delighted Gary there and then donated a further 100 to Club 135 – what a great gesture!

Also determined to be among the very first to demonstrate their allegiance to their club and make Club 135 a roaring success were loyal fans Amelia Howie, Ali Howie, Robert McKinlay and Captain Jimmy Robertson who between them pledged another 140 to the Club 135 cause. So the Club 135 train has now left the station and is gathering momentum. Hop on soon and help us on the journey. Only together can we meet the challenge.

LAUNCH ANNOUNCEMENT (04/17)

On April 22nd 2017 Club 135 was launched. First subscribers were Directors Tom Ewing, Margaret Steven and Alex Anderson who between them contributed a total of 420 to kick things off.

Many fans have seen this trailed and have been awaiting further details. Well in the next few weeks and months more and more information and Club 135 initiatives will be launched on a progressive basis. There will also be meetings and it is crucial for the club’s wellbeing and future that fans play a full part in these. The idea is to get the ball rolling now and gather increasing momentum. Have no doubt though - Club 135 is absolutely vital to Cowdenbeath FC’s future. It is sometimes said that the Board are the custodians or guardians who have responsibility for safeguarding Cowdenbeath FC. That is not true – they have an important role but the true custodians and guardians of Cowdenbeath FC are the fans and the wider local community. They are the folks who are the key to preserving and keeping Cowdenbeath FC alive and to building the club’s future.

Club 135 will have a number of facets. One absolutely simple aim is to build a financial base for the club that underpins its sustainability and its financial position. Without stock car income, major transfer fee income, large gates, windfalls from televised Cup games, bank overdraft facilities and reliance on increased Directors’ contributions – we need a new financial model on which we can build a solid base and future. Bear in mind we won’t have 80,000 or so cash reserves to bring forward for next season as we did this year. Nor are there any big League gates on the horizon for next season.

As previously mentioned we have been in a ‘Save Cowdenbeath FC mode’ for a number of seasons now. Various options have been explored in that time but at the end of the day the future simply lies in all our hands – there is no sugar-daddy or white knight likely to come to the party to help. So at the heart of Club 135 is a desire to build these stronger financial foundations to take our club forward in a stable manner. Club 135 gets its name from the 135 plus years Cowdenbeath FC have been in existence – the club was founded by the people of Cowdenbeath and district and has been supported by that same constituency throughout its long life.

Yes once again it means raising funds – that is football nowadays. The simple ambition, and it will be a challenge, is to raise say 135,000 over a period to bolster Cowdenbeath FC for the years ahead as it adapts to its current circumstances. A ‘Blue Peter Appeal’ if you want to think of it that way!

135,000 is a lot of money – no doubt about it. But in another way it is just 10 a head from 13,500 people. That though means enlisting to the cause every Cowdenbeath fan, every Cowdenbeath well-wisher, anyone with family or footballing links to Cowdenbeath world-wide – maybe from a family which had its roots in the mining community of Cowdenbeath, or any other generous spirited individuals. All helping to try to preserve what is not just a much loved football club but is a prized community asset. For example, as well as on behalf of yourself, why not make a donation in memory of your father, grandfather or other relative who although no longer with us were dedicated and loyal fans of the club in times past?

Through your efforts via the likes of social media we could look to bring in friends and family on a global basis and thus hopefully get the support of enough people willing to donate just a tenner at least each (larger amounts of course would be welcomed) to try and secure the future of the club. We will set up a mechanism to facilitate donations electronically but Club 135 needs your support and impetus behind it. It needs your promotion and who knows maybe we can ‘go viral’ as they say nowadays. Let’s all please have a real go.

Taking Cowdenbeath FC forward also means we will need more supporters/volunteers to share the demanding workload next season and onwards and that too will come under Club 135. We will also look at the future ownership model for the Club. If you have bright ideas to add to the pot then let’s hear them. We have various ideas how contributors can be acknowledged and commemorated but again let us have your ideas re this. Today we take the first steps on a journey – let’s go forward together and see what we can achieve. This isn’t about traditional football club models so maybe we can break the mould. Gusto, drive, personal commitment and teamwork will be required but cynicism and sitting on the sidelines leaving others to carry the load isn’t a recipe for a successful future. Your personal commitment and ideas are part of the solution.