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Update from company secretary

1 May 2020

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Company secretary Ashley Carson provides an update on various matters affecting the club...

In an attempt to try and keep you all fully informed on current activity within the club, here is my latest report.

The advancement from the Premier League, cascading down through the leagues as a loan in effect of £58,333, has not hit our bank account yet.

All players and staff - with the exception of two or three - still remain furloughed. In all honesty, it is looking as if this situation will certainly remain in place throughout May and probably June.

Following the furlough of staff, we made an application under the claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and have already received, within five days, our full claim of £120,000, which has seriously eased cashflow.

In addition, we have applied for the suspension of our Non-Domestic Rates and have just received notification of a full 100% discount for the period 01/04/2020 to 01/04/2021, totalling £78,848.

Money is obviously extremely tight and unfortunately we paid the staff and players one day late this month, but apologies were made and accepted. For the first month in a long time, Dave Allen did not have to make any 'top-up' payment into the bank during April.

As reported, the season 2019/20 has now been cancelled but what happens with the promotions/relegations and play-offs is anyone’s guess. One thing for certain is that we will be remaining in the same league next season.

The longer the Club Superstore is closed the less time I have to sell all remaining 2019/20 PUMA stock. Please don’t order anything else online as staff are furloughed and to be honest there will be a massive end of season sale once we can trade again. Lisa is raring to go and open the doors once we are permitted to do so.

I hope everyone is looking forward to the launch of the new kits this evening. I dropped off the kits to my supermodels, Scott Boden and Gina Camfield, giving them strict instructions to keep them under wraps, to take the creative photos themselves and send to Nick Johnson and not share with anyone.

Gina was as good as gold and supplied the photos, but within about an hour, Will Evans sent me a message saying, 'Love the new kits, Ash'! How did that happen? Surely not Scott!! It is a miracle that they have not leaked out further - luckily, he has no followers on his social media!

There is movement at this time on season tickets for next season. We are just sitting tight, although we can now clear down the system and get reading for loading everything in preparation for when we are informed of next season commencing. I am certainly not expecting it to be in August.

We are currently working with the new stadium sponsor and they are going to take some of their own photos outside the stadium to supply, so that we can announce this. I hope this will be within the next couple of weeks, if I can get Nick to remove his quiz hat for a few minutes.

The weely Spireites Quiz, by the way, is attracting a great audience. Sadly, the instability of the internet upset the results this week. Nick assures me all his bills are paid up to date!

The players that have a further year on their contracts are: Joe Rowley, Scott Boden, Laurence Maguire, Will Evans, Curtis Weston, Jsef Yarney, Liam Mandeville, Jack McKay, David Buchanan and Luke Coddington.

All remaining players have been released and notified. However, among those released, there are six players that we are currently talking to regarding offering them a new one-year contract. No new contracts longer than one year will be currently offered to anyone.

Many players attended the stadium yesterday to sign their shirts in order to meet the obligations to the shirt sponsors, all at scheduled times, observing the social distancing guidelines. Long-term injured players Laurence Maguire and Luke Coddington were among them and both are making excellent progress in their rehabilitation.

Now that the players are in effect on their summer break (some break!), I will be furloughing Claire, our head physio. She has not been furloughed until now as she has been working with players and particularly the injured ones. I would like to thank her for all her hard work and dedication to the job. She has certainly had challenges since she joined. I am talking about the managers she has worked with, not players!!

In the 2017/18 season, we spent £140,000 on medical bills for the treatment of ten players. In 2018/19, a figure of £69,000 was spent on 15 players, including a significant cost to put Sam Muggleton back together after his horrific collision whilst on-loan at Darlington.

This season the costs to date have been £23,000, spent across ten players. Claire has seriously controlled the spending on medical bills and as she pointed out to me yesterday, all injuries involving medical costs were 'contact injuries'. There has been nothing from the training ground, which to me is very reassuring.

We will still have to cover the cost to remove the wires from Luke Coddington’s injury as this will involve surgery - currently delayed due to the surgeon being drafted in on Covid-19-related duties - but no more costs are anticipated for Laurence.

The manager, as I predicted, does have a target list of players. For now, however, with all the uncertainty surrounding football, it is madness to be looking to sign players this next month. I believe that there will be some clubs that will not survive these current challenges and it is also speculated that well over 1,000 players will be out of contract across the leagues this summer.

Having spoken to John Pemberton, I have postponed our coffee morning and will be furloughing him for a further period, therefore unleashing him back into his walks across the golf course for a little longer, with a bottle of factor 5 tucked into his pocket.

No decision will be taken on the appointment of an assistant manager, fitness coach or goal keeping coach until at least the end of May.

With regards to Conference and Banqueting, I think it is sensible now to postpone every event or customer booking until the end of June. It would be amazing to think that the Pink tribute act, Vicky Jackson, could perform on June 11 and Gazza a week later, but we have to be realistic.

With regard to cancellations or refunds, I am sorry but we will not be in a position to action any of these until we are back working. Every credit note requires signing off and actioning, which is not possible while the staff concerned are furloughed.

Lastly, regarding the sale of the club, I speak to Mike Goodwin that often that I virtually know what his wife is cooking him for his tea every night! I continue to remain optimistic that the Community Trust will purchase the club. However, it is well publicised that they are receiving funding from other organisations and the final ratification to release the funds has understandably been pushed down the list of priorities.

It would be silly of me to stop talking to other interested parties and in fairness Mike has encouraged this as a fall back position. At the time of writing I have to accept everything that Mike updates me on and keep talking to other interested parties, but as we currently stand, there is absolutely no progress since my last update. Therefore Dave Allen and I continue to plan for next season, whenever that will be.

Finally and most importantly, Dave Allen and I continue to send our very best wishes to you all.

Please keep healthy and follow the NHS and Government advice. We hope to see everyone return to the football club as soon as possible.

Ashley Carson
Company Secretary

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