THACKLEY AFC have confirmed that they have formally transferred the assets, management and operations of the club into a new company limited by guarantee.

Delighted chairman Ben Oliver tweeted: "Not the glamour announcement that gets supporters excited, but this is the culmination of three years’ work which safeguards the club for the next 90 years and beyond.

"Very happy to have this done and over the line! Big thanks to @BevanBrittanLLP for their assistance."

A club statement reads: "The Club would like to place on record its thanks to law firm Bevan Brittan, who have assisted the Club with the required legal advice on a ‘pro bono’ basis.

"We would particularly like to thank Corporate Partners Marti Burgess and Christian Hunt, Property solicitor Nick Thackray and Property Disputes solicitor Alex Dunne for all their efforts in helping the Club achieve this significant milestone.

"The advice and assistance provided by Bevan Brittan has been invaluable, and the Club hopes to welcome the Bevan Brittan team as honorary guests to Dennyfield in the upcoming 2021/2022 season."

It added: "Thackley AFC has, since its formation over 90 years ago, operated as an unincorporated association of members, a commonly used structure for sports and community clubs.

"The Club’s assets have historically been held on behalf of our members by a succession of trustees over the years, with the day-to-day operations overseen by the elected committee.

"The incorporation of Thackley AFC sees a ‘changing of the guard’, with the formal handover from the Club’s final trustees Steve Paley, Andrew Smithurst, Geoff Scott and Stewart Willingham to the new company, with Ben Oliver, Mark Appleby and Andy Patterson taking on new responsibilities as appointed directors of the Club.

"The Club would like to thank the trustees and all of our volunteers over the years as it is their help and dedication to the Club that has ensured the Club still operates today.

"The Club’s constitution in essence will remain unchanged, as the day-to-day operations will continue to be overseen by the existing elected committee, on behalf of our members:

• Ben Oliver (Chairman & Director);

• Stewart Willingham (President);

• Steve Paley (Treasurer);

• Richard Holmes (Secretary);

• Richard Paley (Membership Secretary);

• Mark Appleby (Director & Committee Member);

• Andy Patterson (Director & Committee Member);

• Matt Humm (Commercial Manager & Committee Member);

• Geoff Scott (Committee Member);

• Eddie Williams (Committee Member);

• Mary Williams (Committee Member); and

• Kate Bainbridge (Committee Member).

"As well as protecting the Club for the future and creating roles for our newer volunteers, this transfer will also help the Club continue with the positive, progressive work done by the committee over the last four years to raise the Club’s profile and create closer ties with our local community.

"The committee are dedicated to keep up the momentum we are building at Thackley AFC, with plans in place to further enhance the Club’s ground and infrastructure, while also providing as much support as possible to our Mens’ and Ladies’ teams."

One of the newly appointed directors, Mark Appleby, praised Bevan Brittan for their help over the last 12 months, saying: "The legal support from Bevan Brittan has been invaluable, and it’s important that we show our appreciation, especially as their assistance was provided on a ‘pro bono’ basis.

"On behalf of the Club, its volunteers and fans, we thank Bevan Brittan for their assistance.

"During these very uncertain times, it’s all the more important that collectively, as a community, we do what we can to ‘give something back’; and we certainly see the benefits here at Thackley AFC of how rewarding it can be to volunteer your time to a worthwhile cause.

"As a community not-for-profit football club run entirely by volunteers, we are pleased that Bevan Brittan saw the value in assisting our Club, to secure our future and give us a solid foundation for future growth."

He added: "This is a significant day in the history of Thackley AFC, as it steps away from the structure originally put in place by its founders in 1930.

"Now, more than ever, it is important for everyone involved in football at all levels to recognise that clubs are the beating heart of their communities and must listen to, and operate to benefit, the fans and communities they serve.

"Our new structure, a company limited by guarantee, ensures that the focus of all we do at the Club remains unchanged, that we have no owner – all our members own the Club together; and it’s with this spirit of togetherness that we now press ahead with plans for the next 90 years of Thackley AFC."