The idea of the meeting (and the ones to follow with the other groups) wasn't to sit and be told exclusively of special initiatives the club have in mind, it was more of a brainstorm session to allow the club to see the range of issues there are out there. They can then look to compile a priority list of the most common things to address and attempt to work through. While we ended up talking for a good hour and a half about all things both on and off the pitch, the problem with it just being me there is that it means there were only my views and suggestions being aired rather than a broader cross section.
In no particular order some of main points were:
Ticket prices are to be looked at for next season but its a difficult balancing act as costs increase both on and off the pitch every season, particularly with the stadium. Concerns over concession prices are being looked at, suggested the possibility of a slightly lower standing admission for all in relation to seated.
Gate money alone only covered around 53% of the playing staff wages up to the end of December. Sponsorships, corporate, commercial, golf days, sporting dinners and the like help to cover the rest.
Mr B was keen to stress that this season and next season the club have budgeted for a 6 figure loss each season. This is budgeted and affordable as profits from all the previous seasons are there to be used for this.
Our budget is not as bad as it's been suggested. We're definitely not shopping in poundland but we can't pay ridiculous wages either. We were in for Connor Wilkinson from Gillingham but he would have wanted wages of £1.5k a week (half his Gillingham wage), more than we can offer. Dagenham took him on loan at £1.5k then made the deal permanent at £3k a week. That's not a market we can compete in.
We've paid transfer fees on a few occasions for players in this squad.
We are not in any financial issues, the club is run as leanly as possible to ensure as much goes to the playing budget as we can afford, but all bills are and will be paid.
A club (we can all probably guess which) spoke to Kosy before Christmas and offered terms, then spoke to us to enquire about signing him. We turned them down. It seems likely that another club will sign him this summer when his contract is up.
Had it not been for the TV money we'd have made a £1k loss on the Wimbledon cup game after match costs, their travelling expenses etc. were deducted and then the remainder was split 50/50 with the clubs. That does include £5k spent on additional pitch covers to ensure the game didn't fall victim to the weather - Wimbledon (with a little persuasion from our President) agreed to contribute half of this cost.
After costs were deducted our share of the trophy replay at Solihull was £47.
No board member have ever taken a penny out of the club, in fact they still put money in each season that covers general expenses - additional overnight stays, training gear etc. All things that largely go unnoticed.
Player recruitment is down to the manager, if he wants a player and they're affordable then we'll bring them in. The board won't interfere and say they don't rate players, they certainly won't suggest who should play.
Supporters bar has a design ready to go - a timeline with photos of highlights from along the journey. There's an awareness that it's taken too long to sort this.
Was suggested that the occasional interview with the chairman should just have good news in it, not generally be tempered with talk of budgets.
Possibility of a quarterly Q&A session online, or emailed questions answered.
An effort to be made to have special offers that don't always include caveats - a suggested example of free kids season tickets available to all kids, not free kids season tickets available with the purchase of adult season tickets.
Apologies as there's probably plenty of things I've forgotten as well. But I definitely left there feeling that there's a desire to improve things. Hopefully the coming meetings with different groups will be successful.