Life seems to be returning to normal. I hope all our staff and supporters are well after a quite dreadful period in our lives. Whilst the Government has made mistakes in the early stages of dealing with COVID 19, a combination of the imposition of lockdowns and a world class vaccination roll out has proved to be a monumental success. Huge gratitude to all involved. We all, no doubt hope that this is not a false dawn.
There has been very little to report over the last several months as we would normally end our playing season this weekend. Although Government financial assistance was often sporadic and led to a few sleepless nights, it did ultimately come through.
Grants and furlough have enabled us to ride out the storm and survive. The lack of gate receipts and income from the Social Club were in the end compensated for, and we must be extremely grateful for that. The Company Accounts up to June 2021 look much improved on previous years. They show a small profit which can be set against previous losses.
All Crown obligations have been met. We have managed to clear almost all historic debt and we are up to date with our dues and demands. The Board has set a date for the AGM which is Thursday 22nd July subject of course to all restrictions having been lifted. A detailed update will be provided to the shareholders and Notices will be coming out in due course. There have been a number of changes to the Board composition which will be reported in due course.
Many of you will be aware of the great generosity shown by Vice Chairman Reg Hardingham and Judith Kelly in writing off loans made to the club over a number of years. This has further strengthened our balance sheet. The whole football club owes them huge gratitude.
We will be now be pressing on with fund raising initiatives, sponsorship and commercial sales in anticipation of the season start date of the 14th August.
On the football side there have been discussions between myself and the management team over players. The squad performed well last year and had they won their games in hand would have gone to the top of the league. Carl and Gary are keen to keep a similar competitive squad together in order to challenge. This is no easy task. South Shields are reverting to full time and seem to have almost limitless resources.
The management are in talks on a daily basis with players over next season and Football Secretary Mike Harper has been extremely busy over the last few days. A number of high profile pre-season friendlies have already been agreed. Details will follow shortly on our Social Media outlets and website.
Whilst our gates increased we are going to need greater income from other sources to play at this level. We continue to work on other initiatives to achieve this. Neil Wilson has been instrumental in obtaining grant monies. Paul Worthington and Graham Wood make up a triumvirate of Accountants assisting with the financial stability of the football club. Tight financial control is key. Many thanks to them for their ongoing assistance.
The stadium is undergoing urgent drainage work to negate possible flooding later in the season. Our floodlights have also undergone an upgrading. My sincere thanks to Peter Robinson, Alan Spruce and Colin Jump and all volunteers in these matters.
On behalf of the Board, management, players and volunteers we look forward to welcoming all the supporters back soon.