WHY IS THERE A TRANSFER EMBARGO AND WHEN WILL IT BE LIFTED?
The current embargo that the club is under relates to the new Football League rules that were introduced this summer relating to the filing of company accounts. We have brought in new accountants to the club and, as yet, they are not totally happy with the closing balance from the previous accounts which obviously affect the opening balance for the current year that is due.
This is being addressed and will obviously be sorted in good time to enable the club to sign players ahead of the start of the season.
Two years ago we introduced a totally new computerised accounting system into the club, which gives us up-to-the-minute information on the position the club is in.
Literally, at the end of every month, we have all the financial information at our fingertips from how much was brought in from the store or Crown pub to what we spent on wages and medical bills.
This is vital in keeping the club in the black and making sure that we are staying on track to meet our targets.
WHAT IS GOING ON WITH JOHN COLEMAN AND JIMMY BELL'S NEW THREE-YEAR CONTRACTS?
Both John and Jimmy are totally committed to the club and, as a board, we believe in them as being more than capable of continuing to take the club forward on the pitch.
They still have in place a verbal 12-month rolling contract which, for every day that goes by, they still have 365 to go.
WHAT IS THE FINANCIAL STATE OF THE CLUB AT THE MOMENT? (As the players weren't paid until late last month)
Ilyas Khan has been fundamental to our current position and his support up to the end of the last season has enabled us to go into the current season stronger than we ever have in previous years.
Most clubs suffer with cashflow over the summer and we are no different, which is why part of the players’ wages were paid later in the month in June.
The most exciting thing about the club’s finances this season is that Accrington Stanley will break even in 2010/11, the first time that has happened since we rejoined the Football League.
This also means that any money that comes in from cup runs, television appearances or transfers is over and above what we have budgeted for and can be used for the benefit of the club rather than to make up a shortfall.
WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS FOR THE GROUND NOW THE LEGI FUND ISN'T FORTHCOMING?
We are currently relocating all the equipment for the match day control room into a purpose built structure which we have developed over an old toilet block in the corner of the ground.
This will not only be used on match days but will incorporate office space to be used during the week.
This is the first of a three part short term development plan. On completion of the control room we will add a small standing terrace to increase our current capacity.
Phase two will see the removal of the current first aid room and toilet block which is adjacent to the changing rooms, this area will then be developed to replicate the opposite side again to increase our capacity to league requirements.
Phase three will be the larger improvement as we construct new changing facilities behind the new terrace, these will be stage built during the season and will be utilised once commissioned, this will see the old changing rooms being converted to house the first aid room in the future.
WHO ACTUALLY OWNS THE CLUB? – THE BIG QUESTION
I do. It is not an ideal situation but one that I am confident that a conclusion confirmed at Companies House is imminent.
I do not flag myself up as owner as I believe it detracts from all the current issues we are resolving and I am not the sort of person that goes out of his way to carry that sort of boast anyway.
The finalisation of the deal with Eric Whalley does involve the outstanding accounts but they are only one of the reasons the share transfer has not been completed. So to reiterate if you ask me who owns the majority share I would say I do, if you ask the board they would say I do, if you ask Eric he would say I do.
WILL THE PITCH BE READY FOR THE BURNLEY FRIENDLY?
A lot of work has gone on the pitch this close season, after the problems in recent years it was clear that it needed to be addressed and, as such, we have spent more than £70,000 on the playing surface this summer.
This has included among other things the removal of the old top layer which was causing us problems, levelling of the surface to remove the undulations, the laying of a completely new drainage system and perhaps most of all the installation of a new fit for purpose 15 head sprinkler system. The grass is now growing well and, with just over two weeks to go to the Burnley friendly, we are working with the pitch contractor to make sure we can get the game on.
THE COMMERCIAL DEPARTMENT HAS INCREASED – WILL THERE BE BIG CHANGES AT THE CLUB AND IS IT LOOKING GOOD FOR THE FUTURE WITH NEW REVENUE STREAMS
We had a commercial team consisting of two – Dan Warburton and Martin Edmundson.
Dan made the choice a few weeks ago to make a move to one of our trade partners, he was actually headhunted which is a credit to the calibre of staff we currently employ.
Dan and Martin had worked together developing the firm foundation to build a sustainable club on and were very much focused on the long term development.
Dan’s departure enabled us to re-focus and look to bring together a young vibrant sales team that will continue the legacy that Dan began.
Martin now heads up this team and we are already seeing results as they continue to go out into the town and surrounding area, strengthening existing relationships and developing new ones. The club can play a massive part in the community in which it is based and we fully intend to continue to make it the jewel in the crown it should be.
JOHN COLEMAN HAS TO WORK WITH A LOW BUDGET – RUMOURED TO BE £10,000 A WEEK FOR WAGES – DO YOU THINK THIS IS ENOUGH FOR THE CLUB TO BE IN THE HIGHER REACHES OF LEAGUE TWO?
It is slightly more than that. However John and Jimmy do a great job here at Accrington Stanley and they understand the constraints we have to operate within. It would be great to give them another half a million to spend over the season but if we can’t get that money in then we are going to run into trouble.
As stated in an earlier question though, any additional money that comes in that hasn’t been budgeted for is now not needed to make ends meet and so this allows us to make more available on the playing budget if we deem it right to do so. All of the money from the transfer of Bobby Grant to Scunthorpe was put back into the playing budget for this season.
WILL 2010/11 BE A GOOD SEASON TO BE A STANLEY FAN AFTER ALL THAT HAPPENED IN 2009/10?
I believe that this season will be a great year to follow Stanley. We can never promise success on the pitch although I have no doubt John, Jimmy and the lads will once again do us proud.
But we do start the next season on a sound financial footing and with good people in place in all departments at the club.
It is always easy to focus on the negatives but let’s occasionally look back at how far we have come and look ahead to where we are going.
Financially we won’t have the worries of previous years, our pitch and sprinkler system are fantastic, ground development continues steadily while our community department will grow beyond all recognition this season shortly becoming a charitable trust.
Also we have new hospitality packages and arrangements in place which will see the levels raised once again, our new ticketing and customer relationship management system is fully up and running and will help us to communicate with supporters much more efficiently. The list goes on.
Over the last 10 years or so this club has come such a long way and enjoyed some great success, we firmly believe that there are more good times to come, and they start in 2010/11.