Asset of Community Value is a label awarded by local authorities to buildings or land that is believed to be of importance to their community’s social wellbeing, with the aim that if the asset comes up for sale, they will be given a fair chance to bit on it at open market.

Senior Lecturer in Business at Bishop Grosseteste University, James Silverwood, played an important role in securing this status for the home of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club (SWFC).

James Silverwood, said: “I am absolutely delighted to find out today that Hillsborough football stadium has been designated an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by Sheffield City Council.

“Until fairly recently, I was Chair of the Sheffield Wednesday Supporters Trust and (in conjunction with its incredible officials and members) responsible for writing and submitting this bid and the political leg-work to ensure the application was ultimately successful.”

When asked what had motivated the Sheffield Wednesday Supporters Trust to make the application to have Hillsborough football stadium designated an ACV, James replied that:

“You may not know that Hillsborough football stadium is no longer owned by SWFC, but a separate legal entity albeit sharing a joint Chairman.

“This separate company has taken out a significant loan against the stadium. The Chairman, Dejphon Chansiri, has repeatedly claimed this loan is nothing to worry about, but SWFC's problems paying wages to its players in the 20/21 season, that the club seems to be operating (unconfirmed) within transfer limitations placed upon it by the English Football League, and a new approach to the sale of season tickets for the following season, all evidence appears indicative of ongoing financial problems at the football club. This puts the stadium at risk of potential loss to the community.”

James continued, explaining that “ACV status provides some legal protections against the loss of assets to the community.

“Ultimately, Hillsborough football stadium is important not just to people of Sheffield, but as a place of memorium for an entire community in Liverpool. It deserves some protection and I’m delighted that it now has some”.

James teaches on the BA Business degree, as well as the Senior Leader and Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship schemes, and told us that his experience in academia, especially leading teams and writing research papers helped him and the Sheffield Wednesday Supporters Trust to submit the ACV application.

Photo credit: Graham Hogg / Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield / CC BY-SA 2.0

26th January 2022

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