Trust calls for clear direction from Plymouth Argyle chairman Brent
ONE PROMINENT supporters' group have called on Argyle owner and chairman James Brent to issue a 'clear statement of direction' for the club.
A combination of the Pilgrims' poor form, their precarious league position, falling attendances and the transfer-listing of captain Darren Purse for financial, not football reasons, has led to the Argyle Fans' Trust taking this step.
Below-budget gates at Home Park this season have resulted in Brent having to fund the income shortfall out of his own pocket.
The Trust have asked for confirmation the money put into the club by Argyle's owner has been 'by way of gift and has not added to the club's debt'.
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The Pilgrims are 20th in League Two, ahead of the Devon derby against Exeter City at St James' Park on Saturday.
The Trust admitted in a statement they were 'concerned' at reports in the media last week that Purse had been placed on the transfer list for financial reasons.
They said: "Given the club's recent history and current league position, we understand the anxiety felt by many of our members, and other supporters, on hearing this news."
Purse has been put on the transfer list in an attempt to free up some money for new recruits in the January transfer window.
The Trust statement continued: "The AFT has written to the club to share its members' concerns and to put certain questions to the board.
"We would like to emphasise that we want to help James Brent build a new era of transparency at Home Park and reach his stated goal of a top five per cent governance model at the club.
"In the past James Brent has been very open with supporters and, in light of recent events, we hope that he will continue to be so by addressing their concerns and issuing a clear statement of direction."
The Trust have welcomed the recent addition of Colin Sexstone, the former Bristol City chief executive and chairman, to Argyle's board.
"With recent announcements about a director of football being appointed it appears that the club is seeking to bring in further football experience, but there have also been some mixed messages about what the role specifically involves," added the Trust statement.
"It is natural that supporters want to know in clear and simple terms what plans are in place to address the current league position, so the Trust has asked the club to inform supporters of those plans.
"We are obviously very appreciative that James Brent has stated that he is funding the shortfall in the club's finances this season.
"But, at the same time, at our recent AGM our members commented that there is no public information on the current status of the club's finances.
"It is thus hard for supporters to understand where the club stands on debt repayment beyond the current season, and to fully appreciate the resulting restrictions on the club's operations, in particular on player budget."