As you are all aware there have been a lot of emails, letters, social media posts and much more flying around in the last few days about loans and grants, and cessation or not of the League. The Board has met a couple of times in the last few days, and have read, digested and discussed the various views.
Being a community-owned club we would like to have run a full survey to get feedback but have had to move quickly to ensure we are ready and clear on our stance and able to vote when needed, as there is a move to get all votes cast across the Leagues by the weekend.
There has now also been a combined North and South “meeting” (Zoom of course) which two of our Directors attended. Whilst the arguments were robust from either side – to play or not to play – it isn’t clear what the split will be for carrying on or stopping.
As a Board and the Society Committee we are unanimous in agreeing to stop playing as we are not in a financially strong enough position to do so without further funding and we do not want to take on any new loans. This would simply increase our debt, something we have been determined to reduce and ultimately remove as soon as we can, and grants no longer appear to be an option.
We are monitoring the situation on timing of casting our vote very closely, but expect to be able to take feedback from supporters on Wednesday evening’s pre-arranged “Meet the Manager” session with Jerry, which was also designed to cover the accounts for the last few years.
It won’t be the scientific survey we would like to have run, but I think it will give us a good steer if there is a strong feeling or majority against the stance we propose to take.
We budgeted sensibly for the season as guided by the League and using the many years of cumulative experience at the Club and we accepted the grants with the expectation they would be extended after three months, rather than changing to loans.
The loans would be a great deal in any other situation, but it is the principal sum repayments coming out of our income from the first few hundred fans at every game for years to come which is the issue, effectively deflating our revenue for the long-term.
We should not expect full crowds for the end of this season, were we to carry on, and maybe not even for the start of next season, that’s a long time to commit to a loan model, especially when the Sport England loans currently only last to the end of March.
There are many factors to consider, and we will try and answer questions on Wednesday, but we also wanted to make you aware of the Board and Society Committee’s position ahead of the meeting.
Chairman, Bath City Football Club