Sorry for the lack of updates recently guys – nothing sinister behind it, other than a hectic workload in my ‘real’ job!
Before talking about the future, we just wanted to use this as a platform again to say a massive thank you for everything that has happened since the last message. The auction was incredible – indeed, I suspect an auction with that many quality items (captains armband aside!) would have been fitting to grace any football based auction event. Thank you to everyone who donated items, and equally to those who dug deep to buy them. Following on from that was the race night, which I hope those who were there enjoyed as much as we all did. The atmosphere was great, and we raised somewhere in the region of £900 from that evening which went into the players and staff fund. Thanks to the really generous people out there who made that night a success – the businesses and people who sponsored races, those who sponsored horses (and even chose to put their winnings back into the collective pot), everyone who had a bet and the awesome volunteers who helped staff the bar.
In terms of fundraising, we don’t think anything more can be asked of you as a group of supporters. You have all dug so deep, and on so many occasions, that we simply can’t arrange anything else. It is not fair on you guys – supporting the club as a fan shouldn’t be a perpetual financial burden for anyone. Nevertheless, those fundraising efforts meant all the players and staff received about 10% of the total outstanding – and that makes a massive difference. To all those who made that possible, we are all forever indebted.
It wouldn’t be right not to give a nod to the fantastic people at Chelmsford FC. I understood from the fans there was already a good relationship with them, but last Saturday can only have affirmed a connection that I am certain you guys would love to have the chance to reciprocate. Result aside – and we were brilliant again and deserved of a point in my opinion – the day was quite inspiring. The Chelmsford fans, from the moment we arrived till when we left the bar were quite simply brilliant. Even during the game – and a game for which in most part they were chasing – the Chelmsford supporters comments were so stark to those you normally get in your ear on an away day! I only hope they achieve promotion because as a club from the chairman, to the manager, the players and supporters, they have consistently proved they are first class.
We have of course offered to hold on until October 11th whereby we understand some form of deal must be in place to satisfy the Conference. We all feel the details of what it might cost someone is worth knowing – it is far less severe than we have all heard. It would appear that the outstanding creditors bill is around the £190,000 mark. Much of this is VERY reducible – even to the degree of potential for it to be wiped out wholly. We have been told by the Administrator that they have spoken to the owners of the land (JoJo), and they are happy to provide a 10 year lease for the club to remain playing at Treyew. Thus, if someone was to come in and take the club over they would merely need to make the club sustainable – and that IS possible. They wouldn’t have a piece of land as an asset of course, but I think everyone would hope that whoever did come in, didn’t have this as their intention anyhow.
As players and staff we are obviously viewed as a creditor. Needless to say, should the right bidder be in place, we would be more than happy to negotiate a deferral or payment plan to suit a purchaser. We, after all, want the club to be saved. There has been much conjecture regards the expenditure on wages and ‘Conference’ salaries. I can assure all the fans, the money we are paid is MILES away from Conference wages and that our wage bill at the moment would have us very comfortably in the bottom 6 of this league. The wage bill now, is less than it was 5 years ago and that is in lieu of us travelling much further and playing in a far higher standard! Anyone that is aware of the feeling amongst the community and how to market a product, would only ever conclude that this wage bill alone could easily be covered by a proper commercial arm to the club – that forgetting other revenue streams – crowds, cup runs, bonds etc.
We are all confident that there is a sustainable club to be run here. But obviously that is dependent on someone giving their time and, perhaps at least in the short term, some of their money. We really hope that in being open with this information, people will begin to believe that no-one need fork out £m’s to rescue it and that the land is available to play football on, albeit as a tenant. Beyond all the politics of everything that has come before, as players, staff and supporters, all we want is for the football club to exist in the guise it is and in around the level it is now. As a group we have given it every chance, and all we hope is that there is someone, or several someone’s, who are brave enough to carry on the flame and make sure there is more history to be added to the 123 years that so many people have been proudly part of.
I know it has been said a lot, but – thank you to everyone for all you have done thus far. Whatever happens, I know we will all never forget the past month or so and the goodwill that has been so forthcoming from so many quarters.
All the Players & Staff.