“As we start a New Year, I have more optimism for the future of our Football Club, than I have had since we took ownership in 2012. Not only do we have, in my opinion, the strongest squad we’ve had for many years, playing good football and scoring lots of goals, but off the field we have made real progress both financially and with our systems and processes.
When we took ownership of WWFC we had no overdraft facility and increasing total debts that had peaked at £2.92m (June 2015) which by the end of June 2016 had been reduced to £2.4m, with a further significant reduction last November following the well-publicised receipt of the Jordon Ibe monies. We have formalised and extended all outstanding external debt arrangements, and have agreed repayment plans (albeit small payments!) with all parties as we meet our financial promises.
We have an effective Trust Board, who put in many hours every month on a voluntary basis, to ensure that we continue the progress we have made, working to build a sustainable football club for future generations. (I even allowed them new name badges, so you know who they are!)
We have a Club Chairman who has transformed the business aspect of the Football Club, again on a totally voluntary basis (and has had a pretty good influence on on-field activities as well).
We have one of the brightest Managers in the EFL, who represents our Club so professionally at every opportunity. Have you ever seen him refuse a picture or an autograph?
We have one of the best pitches in the EFL, courtesy of a hard working groundstaff, ably managed by Ivor Beeks.
Oh, and we have the Beast as well!
However, the New Year is about looking forward not back.
Footballing wise, we have a great 3rd round F.A. Cup tie against Stourbridge on Saturday. This will be a difficult match, as it may well be the biggest game they have ever played and they will be very keen to do to us, what we’ve done to higher placed teams so many times before. In the league, we are two thirds of the way to safety, and in a good place to push for a play-off place.
Off the pitch, we will need to continue the debate regarding the best model for the ownership and funding of our Football Club, going forward. We’ve relied, as do many of our competitors, on “football fortune” to survive, be it via cup runs (including the much maligned Checkatrade trophy), player sales or sell on fees. We can of course hope, and do our best, to ensure this continues, but there are absolutely no guarantees that it will.
We can “cut our cloth” to what we can afford, which would mean a further reduced player budget and an inevitable tumble down the leagues. The other route would be to look for inward investment, which would mean selling part or a controlling interest in the Football Club. As I said at the Trust AGM, your Trust board are currently investigating routes open to us, and at an appropriate time I will call a special meeting to update members and have a debate about our findings. In the meantime, you have the reassurance that the Club cannot be sold without the approval of 75% of Legacy Members (members who have held a season ticket for more than three seasons).
I am really excited about what we might achieve in the coming year, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and successful 2017.”