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AGM: Chairman’s Statement

18 January 2013

Edward Chorlton’s AGM statement to the shareholders

The Company results for the year ended 31th May 2012 are a mixed bag.  On the playing side, we suffered relegation, just after our best ever League 1 season.  The team continued to play attractive football but injuries depleted the squad throughout the season and although as a result of the generosity of some supporters we were able to gain some additional loan signings, it wasn’t enough to avoid dropping into League 2 after three seasons in League 1.  The Club maintains its ambition to become an established Championship Club and despite this set-back, the Board will continue to work towards that goal.

On the financial side we made a small trading profit of £132,734 for the year (2010: loss -£37,794).  As these are formal, statutory accounts and not just trading accounts, a number of adjustments have to be made.

The largest adjustment is the depreciation of the Flybe & Bastin stands in the accounts in accordance with accounting standards together with the linked liability to repay grant money against these stands.  Once these items are added back, the statutory loss comes to -£94,488 (2010: loss £265,065).  Both of these items are statutory accounting treatments and do not affect the continued viability and sustainability of the Football Club.

Financial results
Last year I reported that the Board believes it is important to invest in the playing strength of the team and also to strive to achieve a small profit.  Our future is the team but we also need to improve working capital and build up our reserves to meet the peaks and troughs of the football season.  This is still the aim and objective of the board.

As I also reported last year, it is important to recognise that the results for the year are also dependent on the monies earned from transfer fees.  It must always be borne in mind that transfer income is ‘windfall’ and as such is never budgeted for in advance of any sale.  In 2011/12 the club gained a significant amount of transfer income, some of which was not to be received until the current financial year.  Knowing that the club would receive this further income, the club was able to increase the expenditure on players for the 2012/13 season.

The Contributions from the Football League in 2011/12 increased slightly and our commercial team also increased the income from sponsorship and advertising.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors and advertisers and in particular our main sponsor, Flybe.  I should like to record my thanks to the Commercial team for their sterling efforts to achieve this result.  However relegation to League 2 will reduce these contributions by a significant amount and the budget for 2012/13 has reflected this.

We have continued to explore the options and opportunities for the redevelopment of the stadium.  It is not easy in the current economic climate to devise a scheme which would deliver what is needed at no risk or not cost to the Club.  We have acquired a lease on the Fountain Centre from the County Council and are currently in negotiation about its permanent transfer.  We also continue to put in place the necessary structure to manage a League 1 club with aspirations to progress further.  However it is the Board’s determination to ensure that these costs are kept under tight control and continually monitored so that fans know that their money is being spent wisely.

It is well understood that without the hard work and dedication of all our staff and volunteers we would not have the football club we have and I pay tribute to them all.

Our status as being a Trust majority owned Club is something I am very proud of and I pay tribute to the very hard-working and dedicated members of the Board if Society and the various Trust committees that have done so much to support the football team, the manager, and the ‘back office’ and continue to do so with total commitment.

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