Date: 6th March 2009 at 3:52pm
Written by:

After last nights well attended meeting I thought about getting a bit emotional and writing how I felt from the heart but then realised I would just end up confusing myself even more.

Some issues are now clearer but by no means all. What I have tried to do in this article is write down the facts as I now understand them. Please, if you think you have a clearer position then email me at stockport @ vitalfootball.co.uk and I will publish anything that does not get me into trouble!

Here we go then. Our total debts appear to be;

HMRC £400k of which £250K is needed to be paid by May 18th. This is the most pressing debt.

A Venture Capitalist loan of £300k (I thought this was in an account as security against any other loans we need but it would seem this is now gone.)

The rainy day fund RDF £69k (this was the pot of money County needed in case of emergency. I think we owe that to ourselves?)

Directors loans of £200k. Not sure who these are to. I thought after the repayment of loans to other directors which I think drove the Anthony Elding sale (?) we were clear. In fact I think the Trust communicated this.

I bloody hope this IS the sum of our liabilities now. Heaven knows this is bad enough.

The club has reached this position because it lost on average £300,000 a year and the debt to HMRC debt was allowed to build up. There was some suggestion that some of the HMRC owed money was from ‘previous ownership’ and County the Trust should not have taken this debt on at the onset. Shocking!

The Trust acknowledged there was not enough financial control. No **** Sherlock.

It was revealed that the income of club is such that it will only support £500,000 playing budget and that was suggested to me by someone that this is a Blue Square budget. This is because we do not have any other revenue streams. The deal the Trust negotiated with Mr Kennedy of Cheshire Sports did not include the lucrative conference and banqueting incomes. Well done Mr Kennedy, he did as any good business would do. Hard cheese County – you walked into that.

Since we do not own our ground we have no assets to raise an overdraft or borrowing to alleviate our current position.

If we did have this facility I think we would just be storing up trouble down the line anyway.

So, shocking as it may be to many of us, that is the situation. What do we need to do to get out of this mess?

We are now beginning a regular repayment to HMRC to not accrue greater debts but we do still have a £250k lump sum on May 18th. This £250,000 needs to be raised through fund raising.

To cover the other other debts the club to raise £400k. What was talked about was the possibility of selling 4 year season tickets for £1000. This I think was to a maximum of 400 people. If that can be achieved (and remember this leaves is short if 400 season ticket sales each year for the next four years) then we may be able to get buy in from Stockport Council (SMBC).

This (it is hoped) would open up the possibility of a ‘Community Stadium’. Stockport Council would provide / encourage land to be available within the borough. The stadium development would need a partner (Aldi or a hotel chain?).

So, to summarise my understanding:

Phase 1 is immediate survival. We need to get through to May 18th so WE need to raise £250,000

Phase 2 is to sustain Club through new revenue streams (the 4 year season ticket plan and other unannounced schemes?)

Phase 3 is to work in concert with Stockport MBC and a supermarket/hotel/whatever development to build a Community stadium where Stockport County would receive a share of the other revenue streams.

I will try to put some more meat on the bones of the article in the next day or so and to try to convey some of the ‘spirit’ of the meeting.

I may also try to write about our next game of football, away at Scunny tomorrow!