CLUB UPDATE including Season Tickets 2021/22
It is well documented how difficult the last 15 months have been, for virtually all walks of life. It is now very important for us all to be able to look forward and embrace whatever becomes the ‘new normal’. Apologies if these notes induce a severe dose of sleepiness but hopefully it provides a dose of realism and hopefully some optimism.
Many of you will be aware that we have posted the Annual Accounts for year ending 30 June 2020, with a loss of £59,000. We cannot hide the fact that the situation for year ending June 2021 will when published before end of March 2022; represent a significant loss simply due to the full force of the pandemic, no crowds and no grant monies from January 2021. This has resulted in an application for a loan from Sport England. The details of which will be confirmed once the contract is signed and as strictly required by Sport England as part of the conditions for the loan. Many Clubs in the National League have had to take this route so we are not alone, simply to negate the impact of the current situation, some Clubs taking loans ranging from £100,000 to upward of a million pounds.
We are striving to do everything in our power to provide our Manager Pete Wild with the same budget in 2021-22 as in the most recent seasons. This is against the backdrop of increasing costs and no commensurate increase in income. As the National League gets stronger, we see Wrexham, Chesterfield and Stockport joining the Clubs who already have significant playing budgets Notts County, Solihull, Bromley, Dagenham & Redbridge to name just a few and of course we have the parachute payment clubs Southend Utd and Grimsby Town. Thankfully, football is littered with success stories of ‘smaller’ clubs or the ‘minnows’ having great success. Morecambe getting promoted to League One, Wycombe Wanderers spending a season in the Championship or Lincoln City with their incredible FA Cup run, ultimately supporting further promotion and a new training ground.
This update is trying to provide a little insight in to what we face, whilst fully accepting as we have always done that we have to manage what we have, provide a squad and infrastructure that allows us to have a degree of competitiveness in this very challenging league. Ask Wrexham, they are the longest serving former league club in the National League having failed to get promoted in 13 seasons, with gates of 3,500 to 5,000. It may be different this season! Some people suggest we lack ambition but that could not be further from the truth, but ambition to a large degree does come with a pound sign, which has become more acute in recent years, probably since Forest Green got promoted after spending millions to get to the EFL.
For those of you who are frustrated with a lack of publicised figures, here are a couple of snippets. In the recent accounts for 2019-2020, income through the turnstiles and season tickets cover only 51% of the playing budget or 47% of the players and management staff costs combined. This is all before you have all the remaining running costs of a football club, medical, match day costs, stadium rent, training ground costs etc. Consider last season’s fixture when we entertained Chesterfield in the last game of the season in front of returning fans . . . A great day to be able to see supporters in the Shay Stadium. We had 842 fans attending the game and yet our bill for stewards, SIAs (registered stewards) and medical staff for the crowd was over £4,000, a significant increase on the previous season. This was answered by the providers that staff had to undergo additional Covid training, wage increases and under Covid regulation we had to have higher numbers of stewards. We cannot ignore any longer these and other increasing costs.
So we move on to how can we protect our current cash flow position and how we are going to balance the books in the 2021-2022 season, whilst as we have said protecting the current level of investment in the playing staff.
Are you still awake? As we need to move on to finances and ticket prices for the forthcoming season.
How do we keep everyone happy who has invested in FCHT be it through the previous Project Play-Offs at the end of the 19-20 season, buying a season ticket for the 20-21 season or offering donations to simply help us … Very difficult as the pressure of retaining cash and generating income has never been greater in order to negotiate the financial requirements for the forthcoming season.
For the supporters who bought a season ticket and asked to defer their use of the ticket in to the 2021-22 season, these tickets are not affected by any of the following considerations. For those who ‘utilised’ the season ticket last season via streaming, by access to the Chesterfield game, we also committed to holding the senior season ticket price for the 2021-22 season at the same price of £299. Another commitment was that if we were not able to have fans in the Stadium before the end of the 2020-21 season, we would return £100 if required. With the Chesterfield game we have had fans in before the end of the season. However, we appreciate that one game whilst technically bringing fans in to the Stadium is not fair recompense.
Due to our need to retain cash within the Club if at all possible, we want to try and provide an alternative route for you to help support the forthcoming season. As you can see in the table of prices for next season, the 2021-22 Adult season ticket is going to be £349, which equates to just over six free games.
We want to make the following offer to last season’s season ticket holders. If you are renewing your season ticket(s) for 21/22 campaign you can do so for £279 which also includes one free U12 ticket per paying Adult. If we can achieve this with your support, we can maintain much needed cash in the business.
You will appreciate we are doing everything we can to navigate our way through the forthcoming 2021-2022 season, whilst acknowledging our commitment to our season ticket holders. The Clubs in the National League were mis-informed, resulting in an unacceptable financial situation, not least the debacle between grants and what are now loans. As we have stated before we cannot comment on the loan until all the details are fully signed off but we are eligible for about half the figure we suggested a couple of months ago. Season tickets will be placed on sale from Wednesday 7 July. We have striven to leave all the other prices for the U18s and Under 12s the same.
As we are talking about the finances of the Club, it is very important to officially say ‘good bye’ and also ‘welcome’ to two personnel in the sales arena of FC Halifax Town. Firstly a big ‘thank you’ to Ben Bottomley for his contribution to the Club over the last five or six years, we wish him every success in his new position. Also, we are delighted to welcome the already announced John Williams as Commercial Director, following his work at Huddersfield Town in a similar role. John is really keen to get involved and develop relationships new and old and we look forward to everyone giving him as much support as possible. It is no easy time to be starting a new job and joining the Football Club, but he is ready to give his all to help the Shaymen. His contact details are mobile 07887 833334 and email firstname.lastname@example.org please don’t hesitate to contact him.
As you can see, we are announcing player signings as soon as we are able to do so, some take longer than others and we all have to be patient. With everyone’s support and commitment, we will hopefully be able to present a side capable of being ‘up there’ at the business end of the season. We can assure you that we ‘don’t sit on signings’ but you simply can’t announce a player when you don’t have a signed contract!
Season Ticket Prices 21/22
- Adults (21/22 Renewal) – £279 – £12.13 per game – so nearly 10 games better off vs going through the turnstile
- Adults (New Ticket) – £349 – £15.17 per game – so 6 games better off vs going through the turnstile
- 12-17 – £75 – £3.26 per game
- Under 12s one Free with a full paying Adult or £46 per extra Child
On the day prices 21/22
- Adult £21
- Concession £18
- 12-17s £9
- U12s £4