John Urges Support in Uncertain Times
Clyde chairman John Taylor has spoken to the official website today, stressing the importance of everyone connected with the club to do what they can to support The Bully Wee in the coming months.
“There is still a massive amount of uncertainty around,” he said. “As we speak, we don’t know when the season will start, which obviously has an impact on the resumption of training and with that the timing of assembling a squad.
“In addition, if we remain in a ten team League 1, we still don’t know which clubs we will be competing against.”
John stated that all options were still being considered across Scottish football, including internally at Clyde:-
“There is a possibility that we won’t be able to enter the club into competitive football next season, depending on the start date. There are clubs who have stated publicly, and privately, that given certain circumstances, their preference would be to ‘mothball’ for a season.
“That situation would arise if clubs had to put their players and staff through costly testing protocols, pay their players and staff after the removal of the furlough scheme and play their matches behind closed doors. In that scenario, with no income coming in, ‘mothballing’ is something we can’t discount, but we are determined to play if at all possible.”
The new 1877 Rewards scheme was launched this week, giving supporters a new way to donate to the club on a regular basis. John continued with a stark message on the club’s finances and how crucial financial input from fans will be:-
“Most businesses have been affected by this pandemic and individuals who have supported the club extremely generously over many years are no exception. However, in terms of the club’s financial strength going forward, we can’t pretend that Covid-19 has suddenly thwarted our upward trend on the football field. It hasn’t. The downside of improving our league status over the last two seasons has come at a significant cost, and one that is not sustainable.
“We had planned to launch a fundraising campaign at the Q&A event, scheduled for 5th March, which had to be cancelled on the very day we received news of the cessation of football in this country.
“As owners of the club will be aware, we had incurred losses of £68,000 and £94,000 in the previous two seasons. That trend simply couldn't continue. The strategy of recruiting a highly capable management team and a talented squad of players had achieved our on-field objectives, but a major rethink was required to maintain the growing ambitions of our loyal support.
“Therein lay the problem - and the solution - and that was to be the basis of our presentation to fans that night. Where do you want your club to be in three to five years and are you willing, and able, to go on that journey with us?
“Only by increasing the level of financial support from the fans through a programme of regular monthly donations, can we achieve what we all want for our club. Without that we will have a playing budget that will eventually see us scrambling to avoid play-offs at the wrong end of League 2.
“In March we had set a donations target for what we believed would allow us to be competitive at the top end of League 1. That figure is £75,000.
“As things stand at the moment, our playing budget is shaping as one of the lowest in Scottish senior football. Hence the recent ‘Your Club, Be part of it’ launch.
“We are delighted with the initial response to Phase 1, Ownership Subscriptions, which attracted an encouraging number of new members as well as renewals, but that initial surge needs to be built upon to achieve our target of 400 owners.
“The 1877 Rewards launch on Wednesday again generated a promising response in the first 48 hours, but frankly that’s got to be the real priority for us all if we are to achieve that target of £75,000 in donations. Every penny received through the 1877 scheme goes straight to the bottom line of Danny’s playing budget.
“We understand that our fans are also feeling the effects of the Covid-19 situation, but we hope you will do what you can to support the club at this critical period. We need to achieve a wider range of monthly subscribers, albeit at levels which each fan can afford, hence the three option levels within the 1877 Rewards.
“In parallel to the donations drive, we are delighted to have brought in two new sponsor companies, both led by successful businessmen, whom we believe can also assist in developing our business networks, and we continue to cast the net wider.”
On the topic of club finances, John was keen to once again try dispel the notion the Scottish Cup tie against Celtic in February had made a significant difference to the club’s overall position:-
“Despite repeated public statements to quash this myth, this still appears to linger in the minds of some of our fans. Had the game been played at Celtic Park, in front of 50,000 fans, the financial outcome for the club would have been transformational. As it was, we squeezed 7,500 into Broadwood on lower admission prices than we wanted to charge, and incurred massive costs of delivery.
“The level of resource required to deliver a game of that scale, is out of proportion to the modest income generated. One small example was the level of stewarding. Our bill for the Celtic game was for 135 stewards rather than our customary 16, and that scale of increased costs was repeated in other areas of our operation on the day.
“The surplus from that match merely had the effect of negating our trading loss for the season and, alongside the very generous response to our Covid-19 donations appeal, prevented us from being in a critical state already.”
John concluded with a final appeal to supporters to do what they can to ensure the continued positive momentum at the club:-
“We began this upward journey in November 2017 when we recruited Danny and Allan to take the club forward, both on the field and off. These were appointments for the long term, designed to bring back a pride in the club, which had been lost along the way.
“They have re-engaged the fans and we need to continue to support them, as we trust in them to maintain that upward momentum. But we can’t do it without you.
“We have invested in them, and our key players going forward. We now need you to show your undoubted loyalty to the club by doing what you can to help us get to the next level."