Update from the Board of Directors
The Board wants to provide the following update to supporters on the balance of this season.
Although we are awaiting formal confirmation (via ratification from the FA council), it is now our understanding that there will be no relegation from the National League this season. This means we will get the opportunity to enjoy next season in the non-league’s top division with our supporters after the disappointment of this season being played behind closed doors. Regardless of the circumstances under which the season is to complete, the incredible efforts of our supporters and volunteers played a major part in improving our playing squad and facilities to enable us to compete at this level.
We were delighted to recently announce the appointment of Stuart Maynard and Matt Saunders and we wish them a long and successful stay at the club. We have already started making plans on and off the pitch for next season which we know will be incredibly challenging and the financial ramifications of this season will need managing if we are to be competitive.
With regards to completing the current season we will be taking some further measures to reduce costs however we believe that it is important to maintain the integrity of the league and the club despite the chaotic and hugely damaging approach to funding that has evolved. We believe that the government’s furlough scheme should be used appropriately to reflect the fact that we cannot maintain a full squad of National League players with virtually no revenue. Despite the disappointing result and performance at Weymouth this weekend we intend to field sides that have the ability and attitude to compete at this level. As part of this approach, we are likely to include some loan players and players who have the potential to form part of our plans for next season.
Alongside the progression of our recruitment plans for next season the Board are working to do all we can to support our management team. Both Stuart and Matt are understanding of the circumstances and realistic that in the current climate we may be less able to repel offers for certain players should recent interest in these players be followed up. Any player moves that do materialise moves must be on terms that work for us from both a financial and footballing perspective.
Off the pitch we are looking to grow our newly formed academy and reviewing options for the best approach as to how we structure this scheme going forwards. We have looked in depth at the options for the pitch and drainage however what we can do in this area will depend on both finances and the start date for the new season. There will also be some smaller ground projects where we hope fans will be able to help with work parties over the close season.
For those watching the stream tonight you will see a new stand next to the Holywell stand which we believe to be the last requirement needed in order to gain our ‘A’ ground grading. There has been a lot of work behind the scenes to get us to this point and we would like to thank the everyone involved especially Mike Kane and his team of supporter volunteers who helped build the new stand.
We continue to work with the Winter Survival Sports Fund to assess whether we are eligible for loan funding. It feels prudent to properly explore this option to help manage the club’s finances and ensure we can complete both this season and next. Like a number of other clubs our constitutional documents restrict the level of debt that the club can incur and we are likely to need to pass a special resolution to access the DCMS loan funding to any meaningful degree.
We once again thank supporters for their patience, support and generosity throughout the season. Unfortunately, due the unprecedented financial impact of COVID-19 on the club we are not in a position to return season ticket monies to supporters. We continue to offer free streaming passes to season ticket holders and we hope to be able to hold at least one further game with fans this season subject to Government restrictions.
We hope supporters are understanding of this given the removal of grant funding and the impact of behind closed doors football and lockdown has had on our finances. These monies have been critical in assembling the current squad and progressing the required development of our facilities ahead of next season. Our focus now is to plan for the re-opening of The Vale bar facilities and work to shore up our finances for next season as we seek to establish ourselves as a National League club.
The supporters club are also looking into arrangements for the end of season awards, and we will also be showing the Euro 2020 games on the big screens at The Vale and hope as many supporters, Wealdstone Youth players and families and local residents make use of our improved facilities to watch a few games.
We will keep you updated on any news and developments and look forward to seeing everyone back at The Vale soon. Until then stay safe.