Company secretary Ashley Carson provides his latest update on matters affecting the club...
All staff including the players, with a couple of exceptions, still remain furloughed. I have been talking to the manager regarding him returning to work, but until I have a clearer picture from the National League, the entire football side remains furloughed.
Money is still extremely tight. We have received our second furlough payment which is approximately £110,000 each submission. We currently have 183 on furlough, which includes stewards and all staff. All wages have been paid on time this month.
Dave Allen injected £25,000 into the bank this month, which was all that was required to meet immediate invoices. Since January, the 'top-ups' from DA have exceeded £770,000.
I have still not received any communication from the National League, so it remains a crazy situation.
The board has not yet proceeded with any decision and are awaiting further guidance from the FA and the EFL. I'm sorry, but you are all still in the dark with me.
Pitch and Training Ground
The stadium pitch is 28 days from seeding and has now had several cuts. There are a few areas that are a few days behind but nothing to cause any concern. One main area being in front of the south stand, but this is normal due to the shade. There is also one small patch to the side of the North Stand goal due to an irrigation fault, but this issue has now been resolved without the need to bring in an irrigation contractor.
The two goalmouths and The Van Yard (West Stand) linesman’s run are sewn with thread. All will last this season, but will need to be re-sewn for the 2021/22 season.
We are currently receiving quotes to address the training pitches at Hasland, which start at £3,800 and range up to £49.000. There is work that needs addressing as training during the winter was extremely poor, due to extremely muddy areas. John Pemberton would regularly spot hippos basking in the centre!!
Has it got so bad that I am writing about grass? Even worse, you are all reading about grass growing!! But at least the new gin with have some grass in it.
Still no movement at this time on season tickets going on sale for next season. August is clearly ruled out for the season commencing but, as stated previously, I have still received absolutely no communication from the National League. We need to have an update to our ticketing system software from Seatgeek as this is now so out of date an option was to go back to paper. We need to have this done next month, otherwise no one would be able to get into the stadium, at a cost of £3,500.
Having now sat down and investigated the numbers within the database, I was astounded to see that there are 2,996 members paying by cash each week, currently 632 paying by standing order and one by credit card, so 78.8% pay by cash. This clearly needs to be reviewed and discussions taken internally as to how we can continue with door-to-door collecting.
The collectors do an amazing job and must cover miles every week and massive praise must go to all of them. Social distancing/protective gloves etc may be the way forward. It would be good to hear from the collectors on their views, so I will try to set something up via Angie Barker to hear their thoughts before making any decisions.
Lisa and Angie returned to work last week, blew the cobwebs off their coffee mugs and have now processed over 100 online purchases that have been despatched. For those who opted for 'Click and Collect', we are going to take advantage of the relaxed lock down rules and are planning to open an area outside to collect orders. There are currently approximately 70 on the rack.
I want to clear as many of these as possible and by the end of next week and start to bring the new kit into the Club Superstore. This will go online for purchases, but with June 15 as a target date to re-open the Club Superstore for sales once again.
We are currently working on a plan to ensure social distancing and staff and customer safety before we announce a definite date to open and it will be card payments ONLY. A returns policy will also have to be adopted so that any returns are quarantined before being placed back on the shelves.
I have not received any updates on when the away kit will be delivered.
Stadium Naming Launch
The new stadium name was recently announced, the Technique Stadium. The new signage should be going up soon. I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Mark at Technique Learning Solutions for his continued support, which is very much appreciated.
This project is moving forward and I think with the exception of programmes being sold on matchdays, everything else will be cashless.
The loan players will all have left the club and be off the payroll by the end of May. We will then only have ten players registered with us.
Just to underline, we will not be offering any more than one-year contracts this year. By the end of this next season, every player will be out of contract. I cannot remember ever being in this position before, but it is a great opportunity to re-build if the manager feels it necessary.
We have officially offered one-year contracts to several players, who have all agreed in principle but still not signed-off yet for obvious reasons. We will announce through our media when they have signed, but to kill the speculation, they are Luke Rawson, Regan Hutchinson, Jamie Sharman, Haydn Hollis and Tom Denton.
The manager is still in discussion with other players but furlough has delayed further developments until we have some further guidance from the National League.
We are sadly unable to commit to any new signings yet, as much as we would like to.
The appointment of an assistant manager, fitness coach and goalkeeping coach remain in the pending file.
I have talked to John Pemberton about when we will be able to bring the remaining players back off furlough and conduct some training with them, to get them back into a working environment and also for their mental health and wellbeing. But we would then also need to bring other staff back in, including the physio and all of this would cost the club over £10,000 a week and so for now we simply cannot afford to do it.
Conference and Banqueting
The leisure industry is still not even being discussed and even with new batteries in it, the crystal ball is still extremely cloudy. Cancellations and postponements are still sadly the only thing that we are doing, together with Maddie tasting the CFC Gin samples!
We are still looking to be creative and take advantage of when pubs can be opened again and working on several plans to open the stadium. We have extremely large function rooms where social distancing will work, so we will keep you posted.
Dave Allen and I would still prefer the Community Trust to purchase the club. I am happy to confirm that I am back on Mike Goodwin’s speed dial and I have been receiving some positive updates from him. I am still receiving interest from other parties, but overall no progress or timeframes for change.
Dave Allen and I continue to plan for next season and we must look to sitting down with the manager to discuss both his future contract and also his shopping list for players.
Finally, Dave and I continue to send out our very best wishes to you all.
Please keep healthy and follow the NHS and government advice, Stay Safe, Stay Alert and we hope to see everyone return to the football club as soon as possible.