Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Year, new era...

Oliver Ash
In the absence of any football to bring excitement or despair we are all focussing on the next few months, which are likely to be amongst the most important in the club’s history.

In the first part of January we intend to announce the details of the fund-raising scheme to raise some £1.6 million. As some have pointed out quite correctly this is a daunting amount but on the other hand we have to be positive and see the glass half full and not empty: if we can raise this money and build the ground, then the club should be able to run profitably in the long run.

It will also have a fantastic asset, a well-located income producing football ground with a cafĂ©/bar/clubhouse. We will go flat out to attract a few investors who share our thinking and philosophy, who believe in the new business plan and who want to contribute to a worthy cause – the county town football club, which means a great deal to at least a thousand people and probably more, and which contributes a lot to the lives of men, women, boys and girls, with varying abilities and disabilities and whose lives would be significantly poorer if due to shortage of funds it were no longer to exist....

As others have pointed out the cost of building even the basic ground (I find it hard to call it a stadium...) is much higher than we had hoped. We have had good advice but the numbers always come back to this sort of figure. We have excluded the option of trying to get the ground built by supporters because it just isn’t manageable. There is also a lot of site preparation due in part to the water table and other costs linked to league requirements as well as the extra cost of the 3G pitch. 

There are lots of arguments in favour of this pitch but I like the one about the fact that the community teams and supporters will become much more a part of the club, sharing the facilities. This in itself could well attract investors who want to feel they are contributing to a good cause and not just a first team.

There is only one (very) good argument against: the problem of promotion being blocked. My reply to that argument is that we will lobby like crazy to change the rules over the next few years. Moreover right now we are struggling to stay in the Ryman Premier after a few seasons of playing above our level due to more money being spent on the team than the club could afford.

So to even imagine promotion yet is being wildly optimistic. And assuming that we do go from strength to strength in the next few years I would hope that in the first instance the challenge, say, of winning three league titles in a row and having some good cup runs (even if we have to play at other grounds) would appeal enough to supporters than the grim alternative...which may be to go shopping on a Saturday afternoon.

Terry, Bill and I wish you all a Happy New Year.