I write by way of update amidst the background of the National crisis which grips the country and has changed our way of life. When Bill Shankly said tongue in cheek “football is not just a matter of life and death - it is more important than that!” this was only humour. The reality is anything but. The decisions to end Leagues are undoubtedly the correct ones when one considers the tragic loss of life at an incredible rate that we read or hear about daily.
As a Football Club the best we can do is to honour our contractual obligations and as far as possible prepare ourselves for the day that we are able to return to the terraces in safety. I am delighted to report that we have been able to pay our “dos and demands”, our contracted players and general running costs throughout this difficult period. I reported in my March statement that the June 2019 accounts made much better reading. The date for the AGM has come and gone and as soon as it is safe to do so we will set a new date. With careful financial planning, better rental income , a thriving Social club combined with a restrictive playing budget our situation has improved. Additionally, due to the incredible generosity of supporters and shareholders we have been able to steady the ship and had already put ourselves in an excellent position before COVID-19. We must thank our tenants Northwich Victoria FC who also honoured their rental agreement with us in what for them must be similarly difficult times.
I have been in discussions with the Management Team and have been extremely impressed with the way Carl and Gary have coped with the poor hand they were dealt with at the beginning of the season. I am delighted to inform you that they have agreed to extend their contracts for a period of 2 years taking us to May 2022. In addition, I am delighted to confirm that Accountant Neil Wilson has agreed to return to the club on a Consultancy basis carrying out several smaller projects from a finance perspective.
Turning now to Northwich Victoria, you will have read in my recent press releases that we are enjoying a healthy relationship of mutual co-operation and support. Ground shares make commercial sense. It is a two-way street. In this case we receive much needed income and assistance with maintenance on the ground whilst they have a stable home. Our fierce football rivalry will always remain. There is no question of a merger. This is the decision not only of the Board of Directors but also of Brian Turner and the Committee of Northwich Victoria FC. However, we have agreed to extend the ground share from an initial 2 years to 5 years taking us to the end of the 2025/2026 season, subject to league approval.
In addition, the annual pre - season friendly for the Vijay Anthwal Trophy which was treated as a Witton Albion home game will henceforth be carried out on a split gate basis. This we feel is only fair as Vijay was a well-known GP in Northwich and liked and respected by both clubs. The Clubs have further decided that when the game is played this season, gate receipts will be donated to the NHS.
We have been revamping the volunteers list and their contact numbers. I was astonished to find that whilst our average attendance is 370 our total number of volunteers who worked on match days or throughout the week on a voluntary basis numbered approximately 80! When juniors are factored in to our matchday attendance I would wager there won’t be a club at our level who has such a high percentage of its supporters actively involved in carrying out its operations. Our weakness is that there are so few of us. Our strength is that there are so few of us! There is a real family feeling at the club.
All this makes me extremely confident in saying that our future is positive. We can look forward to improving our football club for the benefit of all. On the issue of donations, I have to say that last summer these proved to be a game changer and continue to make a huge difference. Many thanks for your continued support in this respect.
I would also wish to thank the Wincham Park Development Fund who work tirelessly behind the scenes in fundraising in addition to our very own Tracey Collins who sells the lottery. The sums raised have been of great assistance over the last several months and I notice from their Just Giving initiative that over £2,000.00 has been raised in only 4 days. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Management and Players you have our sincere gratitude.
It's great hear and now to look forward to the future with optimism and really pleased to see Neil back in the club. I just hope on the football front we revert to Carl's previous more attacking style which was both entertaining and succesful. UTA