For the attention of all supporters.
Valiants. Events at our Club again require me to make an unscheduled statement regarding the following points.
Player Registration Embargo
Our Club was effectively player embargoed when we met the ceiling of the players’ wages budget, based on the SCMP submission made by my previous finance team. This embargo was effectively in place until the 16th January this year when a combination of a player leaving ourselves, the fortunes of our FA Cup revenue from both TV monies, gate receipts, competition awards and finally conversion of some of my personal loans to the company into equity, which allowed us to sign a player who, regretfully, was injured on his first appearance and has since been unable to appear, but is still a cost to ourselves until the end of this season. Thanks to Micky and his teams’ network of contacts, he was able to negotiate two loan players, the basic salaries being met by the parent club, so not impinging on the SCMP regulations. Regretfully our main keeper is injured and out for the rest of the season. At the time we had the contingencies of the two remaining keepers providing cover to the end of the season but unfortunately on Thursday it was diagnosed that our now reserve keeper may well also be out until the end of the season, due to a medical condition. Due to a combination of timing, the circumstances referred to above, and myself being out of the country, provisions were unable to be put in place before the Thursday deadline for signing a reserve keeper until the end of the season. This leaves our Club in the position that in the event of our main keeper becoming injured Rule 54 will be engaged resulting in us being able to apply for a seven day cover for a replacement keeper, after the game in which our professional keeper would be unable to play. Clearly this is far from an acceptable position we find ourselves in but regretfully there is no resolution to this scenario other than an outfielder covering the position during a game and this position remains until the end of the season. I apologise to you all for the incorrect information that the Club announced last week in this regard and having had consultations with the Football League they have confirmed that the statement above is correct.
2013-14 Income, Attendances, etc.
I am aware of various discussions and conjecture in relation to information I provided in the past with regard to the above and the impact that it has on the Club financially and, although I do not wish to enter into a long statement pointing out all the financial information, I would like to highlight two pieces of information that have a major bearing on the Club’s trading position. I have tried to explain on several occasions the impact that my previous finance teams submissions of overestimating revenue from various sources but mainly season and match day ticket numbers. In understanding our attendances, one thing that I feel needs to be highlighted is that on a match day between 600 and 1000 tickets could actually be reflected in our attendances where there is no revenue attributed to them i.e. under 13’s, complimentary tickets, free school incentive tickets and, on night games, between 200 and 300 would be a fair estimate. This in itself gives a very distorted picture of our actual gate receipts and I think the most compelling fact that I can share with you is that our received income for this season will be circa £4 million net of VAT but the Club’s total salary bill for the season will be circa £3.7 million and there lies the major problem.
Sondico Shirt Manufacturer
I can confirm that the contract between the Club and Sondico has been recently terminated, all outstanding monies have been settled and we are awaiting delivery of the few Third Edition shirts whose names were originally omitted from that promotion. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Sondico and its legal representatives in bringing the matter to a swift conclusion for both parties. Details of the new shirt manufacturer will be announced on Friday.
As quoted in my previous statement, I set a target date of all creditors being settled by the 31st March and I can confirm that all outstanding monies, after receiving the appropriate credit notes, have been settled.
Appointment of CEO
I have noted and also been contacted by several parties in relation to appointing a CEO to effectively run our Club. Although I fully support the sentiment people have expressed with this regard and, I think it is fair to say that the handling of our embargo in my absence might have had a different result, I spend long hours at no fee or cost to the Club in dealing with the numerous challenges it presents to me daily. If the general consensus is that I should appoint a CEO it needs to be understood that the cost of that individual, as with all other expenditure going forward, will be met purely from the revenue the Club produces. I personally do not sign up to the theory that such a person would cover his costs but on this point, amongst many others, will consult with the supporters club to ascertain how best the fans views can be considered and, if necessary, what course of action should be taken by myself.
9 – 11 year old Season Tickets
When originally looking to introduce a charge for season tickets for next season, investigations identified that it would affect less than 50 families. On further investigation it would appear the number is considerably greater than that. To assist families affected by these changes, who are existing season ticket holders, the charge will be reduced to £80 for the season in Lorne Street and £70 for the season for the remainder of the stadium. For those that have already paid the higher rate, please contact the ticket office for a refund of the overpayment.
Season Ticket renewal sales
For the first two weeks we have sold 138 season tickets, which is way below what I was originally advised would be the take up within the management of the ticket office and commercial department. Clearly some of the above issues have not helped. I would like to re-affirm that next year’s budget will be based on this years season ticket revenue sales, the actual paying ticket attendance for the season which is shortly coming to an end, and realistic commercial projections of our retail and commercial departments for next season. I asked in my last statement “that you now give me the same level of support to help me to deliver the same”; my position and commitment remains the same and I am now seeking the same from yourselves.
Unfortunately I was out of the country when Jack was recalled to Fulham and I would like to put on record my gratitude to Fulham in allowing him to come to our Club, his commitment and enthusiasm in representing our Club and his courteous and professional conduct whilst with us. We wish him much success with his career and hope that there is a place for him to come back to us in the future.
Thank you for your patience in reading this statement.