“We’ve been left to fend for ourselves” says Bosomworth as Shaymen prepare to apply for loan of around £400,000
Town chairman David Bosomworth says the club will be applying for a low cost loan of around £400,000 from Sport England to cover the overall running costs and see them through to the end of the financial year on June 30.
The decision comes after it was made clear to National League clubs in January that only loans and not grants would be made available, despite clubs appearing to be under the impression grant funding would continue after the first three months of the season.
“We’re currently engaged in the process of applying for it,” said the Town chairman.
“We, along with all the other clubs, have had no grant funding since December. We have done well to get through both January and February utilising a mixture of cash reserves and financial input from others, along with other small incomes, such as streaming, TV monies etc.
“We do need money now by the end of March, as our reserves are empty, so between now and the end of June, we’re going to require upward of £400,000.
“We are hopeful it might be a little less than that when we have worked through the final figures, because the least we have to borrow the better.
“The loan funding scheme via Sport England has been available since December 14 for certain key sports not just football and now offered to the National League.
“Everyone in the National League was under the impression that if the effects of Covid–19 were being experienced and no fans were entering stadia, then the grant scheme would extend beyond December 31.
“This was our understanding before we’d signed the new players’ contracts and staff, aside from the ones who were already under contract, or staff or other new commitments. That appears not now to be the case.
“As I say we have done very well to manage our way through January and February, but you can only continue for so long with no income.
“Accepting these are unprecedented times, we’ve been put in a very unsatisfactory position, without any shadow of a doubt and left to fend for ourselves.
“From the comments we read in the press, we understand the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) is saying that the continuation of grant funding beyond December was not made at the outset, so I suspect someone has to answer the question why we were induced into going the route we have prior to the start of the season.
“I don’t know what the alternative would have been but the outcome now is we’ve been left to fend for ourselves and sort out a loan.”
Bosomworth says the loan is based on a two per cent interest rate and repayable over the next ten years with an initial holiday period.
“We’ve never borrowed any money and it does not sit comfortably at all. I’m certainly not happy, it is certainly not a situation of our making and we are certainly not alone, I suspect some clubs have taken loans to cover from January onwards.”
Town fans have already responded to the club’s decision by coming up with fundraising ideas and donating nearly £2,500 so far.
“We’ve deliberately come out to say we’re looking to take out a loan rather than going out with, for want of a better phrase a ‘begging bowl’. The fans had previously rallied round the campaign for ‘Project Play-offs’, which was vital income at the time, managing some of the same issues, keeping the season going for the extra period plus we didn’t know when the next season was going to start,” Bosomworth said.
“We’ve had people wanting to make us an offer to help, which we are incredibly grateful for.
“At the end of the day, it’s for the board to sort out how we’re going to deal with this situation. The fans have been incredibly good because I think there is a genuine understanding that this is way beyond our circumstances, our control.
“It isn’t under our control at all and I hate it. I don’t mind trying to manage everything that you face in the normal life and times of a business or in this case a football club, we manage to find a way, but this is different.”
On the potential longer-term ramifications of the loan, Bosomworth said: “We have to make whatever decisions have to be made at the end of the season.
We will have to understand what the landscape is, will fans be back in the ground, will we get the full support of sponsors who we are very dependent on, but who may also have had their businesses affected by the pandemic, what other influences may affect us?”
Bosomworth said discussions are taking place over manager Pete Wild and assistant boss Chris Millington’s future, with their contracts set to expire at the end of the season.
“Discussions are underway and of course we want to keep Pete and Chris as long as we can agree terms,” he said.
The Town chairman is pleased with what he’s seen on the pitch this season, but admits injuries have proved very disruptive.
“Overall on and off the pitch I think there’s been an improvement,” he said.
“We had a patchy start, but I do feel there’s times where we’ve looked a good side just needing more consistency.
“That comes with a settled team but for long periods we’ve lost the spine of the team, losing Clarke, Summerfield, Woods at times, then our two main strikers.
“Hyde’s been out twice, got back after the first spell of injury, started to score a goal or two and then got struck down at Solihull, with no-one near him.
“Challenging, particularly when you’ve got a small squad so we’ve had to use the loan market, some of those you win, some you lose.
“Billy Chadwick was really good, hopefully Tahvon Campbell will continue to flourish playing more games.
“It won’t be easy to get into the play-offs because there’s some strong sides. We have a chance!
“The games are beginning to level up, but if we can play like we did at Torquay or Weymouth, where we’ve put in some very good performances, with consistency for the run-in and we get momentum with it, we can be there.”
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