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Allen Outlines Need to Reduce Debt

Posted: Tue 29 Jan 2013
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Chairman Dave Allen outlined the need to reduce the club's debt during Monday night's AGM at the Proact.

Allen told shareholders: "The club carries far too much debt, with loans of £7million, which needs to be reduced. Ideally, we'd like to get the debt to around half that figure. I think this business could sustain a debt of £3million.

"There's a council loan of £960,000 with four per cent interest charged and they should give serious consideration to writing it off over a three to five year period, when you consider how much publicity this club generates for the town."

Allen admitted that the IT system at the club - revealed by director Ashley Carson to cost around £100,000-a-year - is a major financial burden. He said: "We went way over the top with the IT system and that's something we're trying to address."

Raising cash in the transfer market is one of the options open to the club, Allen pointed out, as well as staging concerts similar to last year's successful event featuring Elton John.

"We've been able to reduce operating costs," said Allen. "Chris Turner has succeeded in making some dramatic reductions but we have to be a selling club. Seventy per cent of money raised will go to reducing the debt and thirty per cent will go to the playing budget.

"We will put on more concerts and hopefully make £300,000-400,000. Tom Jones had been lined-up but he's decided not to tour this year. We should be able to announce shortly who will be performing."

Chief executive Chris Turner echoed Allen's message, stating: "We've got to find other savings in the next 12 months to keep things on an even keel. 

"The Johnstone's Paint Trophy win saw £350,000 coming into the club but there were 1,000 people not renewing season tickets for obvious reasons. It's a winning team that brings crowds back.

"We can't spend above our means so we do have to be a selling club. We have to produce our own players."

The accounts for the year ending June 30, 2012 were adopted and Shorts Chartered Accountants were re-appointed as auditors on a show of hands.