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Club News

A note from the Chairman

17 April 2019

Throughout my three years at the club, l have always tried to communicate with the supporters where possible, as l was very conscious that this was a criticism levied at my predecessors.

Despite this, there have been times when the local media have criticised me for excessive communications, but more recently for not communicating.

Unfortunately, my hands have been tied recently with confidentiality agreements etc which has obviously created problems with communicating.

Sadly, l continue to be shown reports in the media or posted on social media platforms that do not reflect the true facts.

This is because generally speaking, it’s pure speculation, as the authors have no access to what is actually happening.

Most recently there has been a great deal written and said about the club borrowing monies from the PFA to pay the players' salaries.

So to put the record straight once and for all, in my three years at the club the PFA have only once assisted in paying the players' salaries which was on Christmas Eve in 2018 and the monies were repaid on January 16, 2019.

I accept that l have made mistakes along the way and l have to admit that the player recruitment over the last two seasons has not been good enough, in so far, as many of the players recruited have not started, or even been included in the matchday squads this season. 

With hindsight, this should have been addressed earlier, but as they say hindsight is a wonderful thing.

That said, it should also be remembered that ours is not the smallest player budget in the league, as is often incorrectly stated and substantial salaries in excess of £500,000 are being paid to a number of players who have not been involved for most of the season.

I still believe that the players' decision to go on a 48 hour strike on April 1 when their March salaries were not paid was premature and inappropriate and l question their explanation of why they did it.

If they wanted to show their support for the non-playing staff then there were far better ways in which they could have shown their support.

Interestingly, the staff continued to work which clearly shows their commitment and loyalty to the business and this is why they were paid as soon as we were legally in a position to be able to do so. 

Whilst we have substantially reduced costs and brought in new revenue sources, unfortunately some of the debts and agreements that l inherited have continued to hinder the club and hotel financial progress.

Fortunately, a number of these are shortly coming to an end, in particular the SCC catering agreement whereby they effectively retain nearly 80% of the turnover and we have to pay all the utilities and some of the staff costs from the remaining 20%.

How this was ever agreed, l will never know. Similar comments apply to several player agency consultancies and cleaning contracts, not to forget the absolutely crazy ongoing agreement with Macron and the ridiculous rates that both the club and hotel have been assessed, dating back to when the club was in the Premiership which in all have and continue to cost the businesses several millions of pounds.

I would also question the earlier decisions to sell off of a number of the club's assets including the car parks, offices and training ground as well as taking a substantial loan secured on the hotel just before l became involved and how these funds were utilised. 

As l have recently stated, following the protests and vile abuse posted on social media towards me and my family and subsequently in December the police advising me it was not safe to attend matches, like my predecessor the late Eddie Davies, l reluctantly decided enough was enough and stopped funding the businesses apart from the February salaries.

Prior to Christmas however, I attended the majority of the club's home and away matches over the last three seasons.

Accordingly, all payments due now have to be met through the club's own limited cash flow, which is now becoming even more difficult because of the bank accounts being effectively frozen and validation orders having to be obtained.

I do wonder how many of my critics would continue to fund the businesses, if they were advised not to attend the matches or the stadium, hotel and training ground, for fear of their safety, as well as the constant abuse encountered?

In any event, it has been made very clear that l was not wanted at the club, so why would l continue to fund it? No doubt, something similar prompted the decision that the late Eddie Davies also came to in 2015. 

As usual, the Supporters Trust and in particular Mr Rigby have recently come out of the woodwork and continue to once again talk up their own importance, but the facts are they have never delivered on any of the things they continue to try to take credit for such as so-called new investors in the waiting, helping to pay salaries etc.

As they say, talk is cheap, put your money where your mouth is and maybe, you would have been given a seat at the table. From what l hear, their own corporate governance begs a lot of questions and leaves a lot to be desired.

There has been a great deal of comment about the failures of the recent takeovers and the reasons for this.

For the record, when push came to shove the buyers simply did not have the cash , despite numerous assurances. As far as l am concerned, it had nothing to do with the creditors being higher than they were toId, or what l was demanding personally, as this is simply not the case.

As l have previously stated, l had agreed to accept a lower amount than l actually paid for my shares from several of the potential buyers and even then they wanted and l agreed to defer some of the payment due to me as did the other secured creditors.

The reality is they were probably hoping it would go into administration and they would then acquire it for substantially less, albeit with a points deduction, but a significant saving on creditors. 

I hope the above has given everyone a better understanding of the reality of the club's financial position today, but the most important thing to appreciate is that this club cannot survive, let alone prosper on its current revenue streams in any division outside the Premiership without the benefit of substantial and continued financial support from a wealthy benefactor.

This is clearly the case with virtually every other club in the Championship and maybe that’s why both the late Eddie Davies and l have struggled to find a buyer to take the club forward, as in reality there are not that many wealthy benefactors out there who are prepared to bank roll clubs as has been clearly seen with a number of owners making their clubs available for sale in recent years. 

For my part, l have always done the best l am able to do, but obviously that is not good enough or sufficient to please a number of our supporters .

Regards,

Ken


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