Author Topic: Food for Thought  (Read 449 times)

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Captain Sensible

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Food for Thought
« on: March 25, 2020, 11:41:58 AM »
I suppose on paper, Busters business model was the same as Cleeves.
I well remember Buster saying when he decided to leave, he would sell the Club to the Trust. Now Iím sure that Trust would not have paid anywhere near what Cleeve did as the Club appeared worthless at the time, on paper at least. In Cleeve, Buster found the ideal purchaser. Buster must thought all his Christmasís had come at same time when Cleeve walked through his door.
So probably feeling misled by one Club Chairman, you canít blame the Trust for being wary about another especially when he was involved in the transaction.
The first thing that suffered when Cleeve came on board was the disappearance of the Stand sponsors. A prominent local Company with the potential of doing lots for the Club.
After that was a shirt sponsor resulting in the Chairman having to put his own website on the shirts.
Say what you want about Buster, but getting money from sponsors was never something he struggled with.
Even finding match day sponsors has been a struggle. Of course the debacle about the food hygiene certificate and the saga over that sorry episode probably caused a lot of damage in this area. How was this even allowed to happen when you consider what the Owner of the Club did for a living at that moment in time.
A local business that has supported the club and in particular the Reserves for years and given them a substantial amount of money over the years has been lost. You would have to work very hard and be a bit Special to do something that would result in losing this particular Company when it comes to supporting the Club.
Since Cleeve has been here numerous  people have been appointed to obtain sponsors and increase the revenue from sponsorship but it looks as that has been to no avail. Even now when the Club has the highest profile Manager in 50 years and is riding as high in the leagues as it ever has done, it still fails to attract the amount of sponsors that it deserves. There has to be a reason for that, and probably there is only one!
So where does the money to survive and move forward comes from? We are informed gate receipts alone are insufficient to fund the Club. Commercial activity had been neglected (is that being kind and should it be failed?) and does not appeared to have increased to any great degree since we have had a person dedicated  to this area. If it has improved we have not been informed and the Club has certainly not been banging the drum.
We have a dedicated Media team but news of whatís happening at Club is pitiful. Why? They are there to communicate with supporters and if active enough would increase the profile of the Club. A higher profile Club is easier to sell to sponsors than a low profile club.
A few months ago some news did come out. That was the formation of a steering committee (Cleeve, Hearle, Back). The initial announcement was the last we heard of it. Is it still going and if so what has it achieved?
Positions at the Club appear to always come from a small group of a preferred few. If youíre not a member of the little group of friends but wish to volunteer, the best job you are likely to be offered is one clearing the bins out at the end of a game.
Not opening up the positions at the Club to all severely restricts the clubs development. Itís obvious that selecting from a large gene pool rather than a small one would will result in better results as you gain access to better quality and more skills just by the increase in numbers.
When Cleeve arrived on the scene one of his first comments in his program notes was insulting a part of the Clubs fan base. At the time he didnít know these supporters and had never met them.
So where are we now? On the pitch even taking into account below standard performances since January, we are having a fantastic season. Off field it would be very generous to say things are improving. The Clubs accounts up until April 2019 show figures that many would call very worrying. Obviously we are not party to what the situation is at the moment but with the investment in both playing and non playing staff many would think itís going to be worse.
Then a cash flow crisis develops. Some will say itís as a result of the Corona Virus but others will believe this was coming anyway and the Club has lived beyond its means.
The Club then appeals for help, very much to the amusement of other Clubs. It does seem that the Clubs only real method of raising additional cash is by continually going to the supporters who already pay the highest entrance fees in the league and the highest cost match day food and drink. Clearly this shows a lack of Commercial thinking from the Club although in fairness it does appear to have tried to rectify this. Too little too late?
Then thereís the Supporters Trust who have shown that they can be successful when it comes to Commercial activity. Itís worth remembering that the Trust is not some Alien entity or a bunch of young yobs intent on causing trouble, but a group of supporters of all ages with the well being and long term survival of the Club at heart. Their aims and ambitions have always remained the same. Yes they sit on a reasonable amount of money but being registered with the FCA they have rules to follow and laws to obey when it comes to what can be done with it. The Directors have a legal obligation to Trust members first and foremost. In no way can they even be seen to throw good money after bad. Apparently the Chairman is well aware of this and understands the situation. Although he has previously stated that he will never ask the Trust for money, apparently he knows the Trusts door is always open for him.
Basically we need a different approach to the running of the Club. Maybe sitting somewhere between Busters business model and Cleeves. New blood, new ideas, access to more people with more ability which hopefully will result in increased revenue for the Club.
Thereís only one person that can start this particular ball rolling in the right direction. Improve to survive and together we can achieve more.

Stan

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Re: Food for Thought
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2020, 12:45:04 PM »
Thank you for taking the trouble to give this thorough overview of the situation. I hope the powers that be read it carefully.