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Club News

Closing the funding gap

25 January 2013

Chief Executive on the launch of new ideas

We today publish Chief Executive Erik Samuelson’s programme notes from last night’s Port Vale match.

 

Erik (pictured right in the above photograph alongside our current first-team management) highlighted several important issues, including new ideas to boost the funds available to spend on players, and he also paid tribute to volunteers who helped get the Port Vale match on.

 

This match going ahead is a tribute, yet again, to the efforts of volunteers and the club staff who have worked to clear the snow from the pitch and other areas of the ground. Much has changed since we started out, but we still rely on a large number of fans to run our club. Every season we organise a volunteers’ awayday, sponsored by Iain McNay of Cherry Red Records. We offer free coach travel, match entry and a pre-match meal and drink at an away game to everyone who has volunteered in the previous year. We will announce the venue of this year’s away day very soon, but in the meantime, on behalf of the club, many thanks to you all.

 

This year we are 20th in the league table of spending on players’ wages (last year we were 21st, but came 16th in the actual end-of-season table). It is generally accepted that a club’s league position will eventually reflect its spending, and clubs near the bottom of the spending league recognise that. As a result, while the average spending across all 24 League 2 clubs is almost identical to last season’s, the average of the bottom six clubs in the spending league has risen by 10 per cent – a substantial amount in a recession.

 

The windfalls from the unbudgeted FA Cup games (and tonight’s televised game, which will earn us a very welcome £30,000) has enabled us to spend more to bring in players in the transfer window, but even so we will probably need to use some of last year’s profits to fund that spending. Clearly, spending last year’s profits isn’t something we can do indefinitely. And we are in a cleft stick as regards cup profits: we currently budget for no success in the cups we enter, so we start the year with a low wages budget and usually end up needing to strengthen the team in January. Budgeting for cup success and not achieving it is a potential road to ruin – don’t forget that only Charlie Strutton’s free-kick at York saved us from achieving (if that’s the right word) for the first time our budgeted position of being drawn away and losing every senior cup game.

 

  to view yesterday's OS article launch.Dons Fundraising.  Second, another band of volunteers have been working on a way to raise more money for the team, to help narrow the gap of nearly £300,000 between our current budget and the average for League 2. This is the We Are Wimbledon Fund. Click on  Transfer FundingReturning to the theme with which I started, some volunteers have recently been hard at work seeking to raise funds to help us to compete with other League 2 clubs in terms of players’ wages. First, Iain McNay and Martin Fielding created the Blue & Yellow Club, which presented us with a cheque for £20,000 after the Wycombe game. For information on joining, view our previous article by clicking on 

 

Finally, on a completely different note, this week saw the publication of the number of Twitter followers, league by league. We are top of League 2 and 27th out of 72 in the Football League. There is a serious point here: one of the key issues as we plan our move to a new stadium is what level of support we can expect. Of course, not every one of the 11,000-plus people who follow us on Twitter will come to watch, but it is one of the few independent measures of support open to us – and it tallies with other figures in our research about how many people are in contact with the club. It is a measure of the growth of social media that our number of followers is higher than for Nottingham Forest at the end of the 2010/11 season – when they were the highest in all the Football League. Congratulations to Chris Atkinson, who posts our tweets, for maintaining interest by making them so appealing and timely.


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