The Government has this week commenced lifting the lockdown restrictions which have afflicted the whole country and caused chaos to family life and businesses. We have had to do the best that we can and despite the fear of the dreaded second spike we can hopefully start to look positively towards some semblance of normality. I have no information from the League as to when the players will be allowed to commence training or a firm date for the start to the 2020-21 playing season. The Premier League announcement yesterday is very positive news.
We have been continuing to run the business effectively despite the dreadful economic situation. Sadly, clubs or indeed companies that were not being run correctly or were close to the margin suffer more in recessionary times. The substantial changes that we made a year ago had started to cut in and I am pleased to say that we are up to date and in good shape. All bills and expenses have been settled save for two further payments to finalise our HMRC Time To Pay arrangement. We do have a VAT liability, but this is covered and like all UK businesses has been deferred until March 2021. As a Board we are considering whether to pay some in advance as are we in a position to do so.
You will have seen the management team have been going about their business. Scott Bakkor, Josh Gregory and Isaac Baldwin have already agreed to join the existing playing squad. Other discussions are ongoing. At our level it is generally the team with the highest budget that achieves the greater results, although this is not always the case. Carl and Gary’s success over the last 12 months has not been a miracle. That is too strong a word. However, it is an outstanding achievement from two very hardworking individuals, especially with the playing budget they were given. Excellent team spirit, tactical nous, outstanding coaching and high standards of fitness and behaviour have all played their part. They recruit fine young men as well as being good players and we should be very grateful.
The way the club has been run financially over the last 12 months and the incredible generosity of the supporters and sponsors has combined to enable us to increase the playing budget. This is still some way short of many of our peers. The Board of Directors, Management and the playing staff are extremely ambitious, and we must not be frightened of seeking promotion even if this brings greater salary cost and more by way of travelling expenses. There is a saying. Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Terry Murphy is one of a growing number of good Wittoners who have sadly departed within the last year. He gave me sound advice. He was a true friend and I am proud to have known him. He was everything that a Northwich person is all about. Hard working and humble. Honest and direct. He once told me not to be disappointed if Witton Albion’s football ambitions did not match my own. I am pleased to say that as your Chairman I have never been disappointed. I now ask all supporters and volunteers of our great club to get behind the players and the management in order that we can achieve the highest level possible as a club. Ambition will be the glue that keeps us all together.
I have been delighted to welcome back Neil Wilson. We now have around us some excellent accountants. Neil returns to a team made up of Director Paul Worthington, Graham Wood and his colleague Angela Chennell. Neil has already made an instant impact obtaining a grant from Sport England for £7,000 to help us get through the summer months. It is vital that we have this kind of quality advising and assisting us in matters of finance.
Neil, at the Boards request is also considering the possibility of a 3G pitch which would fundamentally change our business model and make us financially secure for many years. Any such project will be funded by grants, donations, fundraising and a possible share issue. We will keep you updated. The stadium will not be used as security. We will not sell the family silver!