FC Halifax Town: “We are going to need the support of the fans,” says chairman Bosomworth
FC Halifax Town chairman David Bosomworth has called on fans to dig deep and help support the club’s finances.
Bosomworth says any money the club receives from the Government’s £10m grant to the National League will not plug the gap in Town’s finances left by the absence of fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier today, the club outlined what options there are for season ticket holders, who look unlikely to see any action at The Shay in person for most of the campaign.
Fans can retain their season ticket in the hope of being allowed in at some point, defer their season ticket to next season without a refund, retain their season tickets until January and then request a 50 per cent refund if fans cannot return, or request a full refund now.
Bosomworth said the Government grant ws “vital” to ensure the season went ahead, but admits these are very challenging times.
“It is very difficult at the moment because we’ve used all our reserves,” he said.
“Any income from the Government isn’t going to cover the losses of income streams, so we are going to need the support of the fans.
“Obviously streaming games is one thing we’re doing to help bring a bit of revenue in.
“If you’ve got a club with 25 travelling fans, if you can get 50-100 of their fans buying the live stream, that’s a positive.
“But it’s not ideal for anybody. The players have nothing to feed off in terms of the fans, although maybe it helps going to away grounds.
“But streaming won’t plug the gap entirely and we don’t know what the uptake will be.
“We had a few teething problems but we overcame them really well.
“It’s just frustrating we have to do that rather than having supporters at the ground.”
On the club’s financial situation, Bosomworth said: “We try and run it as pridently as we can. One thing for sure is we can’t run it any trimmer than we do now.
“If we did, you’d be affecting your playing budget, and we’ve got a modest playing budget as it is.
“A big thank you must go to Louisa Green, who has done a tremendous job, especially while people have been on furlough.
“I’m indebted to volunteers, like our accountant, who doesn’t ask for anything for doing it.
“You can’t get by without people helping you like that.
“The problem is that you feel out of control of things, because of external factors that we have no handling over.”
When asked what his message to the Town fans was, Bosomworth said: “Thank you for what they did in supporting us for Project Play-offs and then obviously buying season tickets.
“It must be so frustrating for them supporting us from afar.
“We need them to stick with us, it’s a really tricky period, and support us financially, although obviously we appreciate it’s a difficult time for a lot of people financially at the moment.
“But the bills don’t go away. The grant will help to some degree but we also need to generate other revenue streams.
“We’ll do everything we can on the pitch, even though we can’t do that with their support in the stands.”
Bosomworth said the club’s future was secure - “unless there was something disastrous” - despite the financial uncertainty.
“I know sometimes people get frustrated, or think it’s boring, but we try to be as prudent as we can with what we do,” he said.
“We want success, and we try to ensure every single penny gets put towards the playing side as much as possible.
“But we are dependent on off-the-field activities. Somebody very kindly rang us and offered a £1,000 donation on Saturday, which is tremendous
“They’re the kind of gestures we need.”
Speaking about the past few weeks, prior to the start of the season, Bosomworth said: “It’s been really challenging. Sometimes you feel you’re out of control with what’s happening because you don’t know the financial situation and you’re wondering where your income is going to come from.
“We’d set our stall out on the basis that crowds, we understood from October 1, would be coming in, we’d gone through all the protocols.
“The stadium capacity was set at 1,367, which wasn’t ideal, but would have brought some revenue in.
“Then the announcement that so many areas were going to be restricted, the stadium being one of them, and the fact that the pandemic could last for a further six months.
“It’s been worrying because you commit to contracts and then you have to think ‘well, how are we going to pay them?’
“Hopefully there’s this investment from the Government coming in but we’re still going to need the supporters’ help.”
Bosomworth admits keeping the playing budget at a similar level to last season was a challenge in itself.
But the chairman admitted last week was “like the week from hell” and that injuries meant bringing in new signings Gold Omotayo and Gevaro Nepomuceno last week was a necessity.
“You can’t have no strikers in your team can you,” he said. “All three were injured, although Jamie Allen came on against Dagenham, but we were without Jake Hyde and Matt Stenson.
“Quite a few teams have got 24, 25 players in their squad. We’re at 21 I believe so it does make a difference when you get injuries in certain areas.
“The manager has brought players in who are specialists in their position but can also play one or two other roles as well.
“But strikers are strikers and you need people who can put the ball in the net.
“Well done to Pete for bringing them in.
“It’s not what we want to be doing but we’re not frivolous.
“It’s a modest outlay.”
On Town’s chances of another play-off finish this season, Bosomworth said: “I always say that if you try and stand still, you go backwards.
“We got into the play-offs last season, which I thought was an outstanding achievement, and we’d love to be able to achieve that again.
“But you’ve also got to turn it round the other way - Notts County will be strong again, Stockport we believe will be strong again, Yeovil, Wrexham and so on.
“We’re as keen as ever to get into the Football League.
“It’s 12 years we’ve been running the club now, and the competitiveness of the National League has never been as high.
“Better players have come down to this level, and there’s quite a large gap between the top budgets and the lower budgets.
“Those are challenges. Money doesn’t guarantee success, but if we were able to spend perhaps a little bit more during the season, that might give us two or three more players, that helps to give you a more competitive squad.
“And it’s all about squads these days, what you’ve got on the bench, and if you get injuries.”
Despite the stresses and strains, Bosomworth says he still has the passion to be chairman.
“Of course, otherwise you wouldn’t do it,” he said.
“It’s a lot of hours a week to run the club, and you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t have that passion.
“We’re enjoying it until the point where you feel you’re not enjoying it or the time is right to let somebody else have a go.”
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