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Thursday, January 12, 2017

QPR CEO Lee Hoos on The Club and a Stan Bowles Benefit Match

Courtesy of Queens Park Rangers

CEO Lee Hoos

‘First things first, to set the record straight - QPR, as a club, welcome the proposal of a Stan Bowles Benefit Match. We are determined to help put on an event for Stan that supports his care and raises money. Part of that is having the right committee in place, which needs to be made up by fans with support from the club.

As someone who has sadly had a family member suffer with Alzheimer’s, I am fully understanding of the complexities of the illness and aware of the daily work that goes into looking after someone who is suffering from this sad illness.

We, as a club, believe this match is a fantastic idea and one that would help build on the excellent work that was done by the club regarding the highly successful Stan Bowles Day, hosted at Loftus Road on August 22nd 2015. That designated matchday, which saw proceeds split between the Stan Bowles Go Fund Me fund and the Alzheimer’s Society, raised in excess of £23,000, with funds from both the matchday programme and bucket collections really uniting the club and its supporters in honour of our legendary former player.

The matchday itself was a huge success from a fundraising point of view, as well as an organisational point of view, thanks in part to the QPR staff, as well as our friends at the Alzheimer’s Society.

The setting up of the Go Fund Me account in itself was a very time-consuming task for members of staff, but thanks to some hard work internally and excellent fundraising, a substantial amount now sits in the account for the Bowles family.

Regarding the Bowles family, there is healthy dialogue between myself, various members of staff, as well as The Forever R’s Club (our popular ex-players’ association which launched earlier this season) committee with Stan’s daughters. Stan and his family have been guests of the club at home and away fixtures this season. We have extended invitations to Stan to be a guest of the club at fixtures nearby to where he lives.

Since the Stan Bowles Day, I have had a number of meetings and email correspondences with QPR supporters regarding next steps for Stan.

There have been various ideas which we have not been able to get off the ground, but we will continue to be fully supportive as and where we can.

I had a meeting with the Stan Bowles Benefit Match committee – a group of QPR supporters - earlier in the season, where I once again reiterated our support of assisting in the set-up of a benefit match for Stan.

Initial discussions were encouraging, with the committee expressing a desire to really make this work in cooperation with the club.

The idea was basing it around the usual procedure for a testimonial, whereby the club grants the game; works with the testimonial committee to drive the plan forward; but all costs are recovered from the revenue and the rest is distributed by the committee to the recipient. This is how any testimonial works.

The additional costs I mention relate to third party costs, namely police, stewarding and traffic management order. What’s more, I believe the committee stand a far better chance of cutting a deal with third party contractors by pulling on their heart strings than we have as a club. The contractors will simply view a deal with the club as another commercial transaction, a point I made to Mr Steve Flannery at our meeting yesterday.

The key discussion was formed around raising enough money to make a meaningful difference to Stan’s care, which naturally means the event itself running at a profit.

The committee said they would go away and do their due-diligence, whilst also seeking potential sponsorship opportunities to the forecast sum of approximately £50,000.

There are tax implications for the recipient which were also discussed at length. The committee included Paul Finney, from IndyR’s, who has taken an active lead on this and been very helpful. I have had regular dialogue with Paul and my understanding is that he has met with a legal advisor, who we introduced and is a QPR fan, to ensure the tax element of the plan is handled in the right way.

Working on current forecasts for the match, the club would actually be subsidising about a third of the total costs, which is a significant amount, especially at a time when managing decreasing revenue streams across the entire football club is one of my main concerns as CEO here.

The difficulty the club has is that while I’m dealing with Paul, the committee has fallen out and various people are going off at different angles and doing their own things. This obviously makes it very difficult for the club and as I requested to Steve, everything needs to be coordinated. Anyone who has ever worked on a testimonial match will understand this has to happen for the event to take place.

The idea is for everybody to make a contribution to this, to not just rely on the owners to pay for everything. This is a real opportunity to promote unity in the club and for everybody to play the part.

This should be about everybody pitching in - and not creating an ‘us and them’ mentality which I’m led to believe is how it’s being portrayed at the moment. My goal is for EVERYONE to be able to participate and make a contribution for the greater good of this benefit match. This is supposed to be about the club putting on an event – that means supporters, club employees, and the hierarchy of the club - yet the current feeling from the committee and others is that we should fit the bill anyway, under the theory that ‘the owners are rich – so let them pay for it!’ That’s not my interpretation of everyone pitching in. Based on the expenses that would be paid out of the revenue, the absolute maximum cost per supporter to contribute to putting on this match, based on Steve’s projections of an 18,000 sell out crowd, would be a maximum of £2.20 per supporter. I’m sure you’d agree, that’s a reasonable amount and one that ensures EVERYONE comes together and plays their part.

Taking this forward – which we are determined to – we want to help reshape the organisational structure of committee so that there is the right balance of skills in order to achieve the result we want: for this game to go ahead and raise money for Stan. If anyone has professional skills that they believe can help, or has testimonial experience, please contact Andy Rees at the club via andyr@qpr.co.uk, who will then make the necessary introductions.

Nothing would give me greater satisfaction than to help assist in hosting this event, and I truly hope we can get this proposal over the line, working together for the greater good of the legendary Stan, who I have to say - having only met him for the first time in the last 18 months or so - is an incredible character, befitting of such a day.

The committee needs to present a concrete plan, which we can assist with. Any project that would have a turnover of £50k plus requires proper planning and due diligence, but taking to social media to vent frustrations when only one side of the story is being told with an extreme amount of bias, is certainly not the way to move this forward.

Here’s hoping this update will provide some perspective and help us move forward - collectively.

Thanks for listening.


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