A STATEMENT has been released by Kendal Town Football Club on the present situation at the club.

Entitled 'Chairman positive over club's future,' the statement is lengthy, but we have reproduced it in full below.

A full updated report on the situation at the club will appear in next week's Gazette.

Kendal Town Football Club Statement

CHAIRMAN POSITIVE OVER CLUB'S FUTURE

Introduction

In keeping with many other organisations and businesses, Kendal Town Football Club (KTFC) understands only too well that you have to refresh your strategy from time to time and re-set your priorities and plans to ensure a viable and sustainable and future for the club.

In this article, George Gudgeon, Chairman, outlines his time at the club to date and his plans for its future.

Background information

George Gudgeon became chairman of the club three years ago this Christmas.

At that time, the club was operating well beyond its means with no plans in place to tackle the problems.

The club was in considerable debt, and although a significantly large amount of the debt was wiped off, a considerable amount remained.

To compound matters further, over the following year the club received a number of outstanding invoices and demands for payment that proved difficult to track back.

Three years on

The club has now recovered to a point where it has cleared virtually all of its debts.

At the same time, it has: invested in 'ground grading' to enable the team to continue to play at the standard it does; improved and developed facilities at Finney's (its sports and social facilities) to make it more attractive as an income generator for bookings from the local community; it has continued with bringing-on young players through its Development Centre; developed good relationships with the local community; and the first team have stayed in the league.

However, its current position has not come without significant cost in terms of the considerable and unsustainable time that a very small core group of volunteers put into the club to keep it going week in and week out; in addition to their day jobs.

Moving forward, the chairman is absolutely clear about two key things, namely: 1. The club cannot be allowed to go back into debt because it has a responsibility to manage its financial affairs and to work within its means. 2. The club needs to increase its management committee and the number of volunteers as a matter of priority.

Other barriers to progress - affecting income

Research showed that fans through our turnstile over the last five years averaged out at 160 per home game, making KTFC one of the least supported teams in the league.

A significant percentage of these will have been children, concessions; free guest passes for family and friends of players, and obviously away fans.

And this still continues to be the case.

An unprecedented period of drought in the Lake District this past summer resulted in the club losing a large part of pre-season income through cancellation of friendly matches with Carlisle and Morecambe.

To compound matters further, sponsorship was down over the summer months.

This meant success in FA Competitions, normally not included in income forecasts, became more important but sadly we did not progress far enough in the competition and to reap financial benefit.

However, our fans can be assured that everyone at the Club is determined to do as much as they can to sustain football in Kendal at the highest level possible within its financial means.

Thanks and credit

The club owe a huge debt of gratitude to: its volunteers, its sponsors, and its regular fans; not forgetting first team manager, assistants and players for their dedication and commitment to the club in extremely difficult financial times.

The club would not have been able to stay in the league in the past three years without their efforts and relentless support.

Keyboard warriors

Unfortunately, a small group of people continue to post negative comments on social media platforms without really knowing or understanding just how much good work has gone into the club in the past three years, or the extent of what has had to be put right.

While the club will continue to encourage critical friends and extend a welcome for them to get involved as a volunteer with the club, however some of its critics add no value to the club what so ever.

STRATEGY MOVING FORWARD

The Chairman and Management Committee have agreed the following 10-point plan and strategy for next three years:

1. Provide opportunities and progression for players in and around the surrounding area through: invitation; open trials; investment and development; and a pathway to our first team squad.

2. Reduce overall playing costs with immediate effect, until further notice - pending income generation, to keep within budget. In doing so, retain as many first players as possible.

3. Review pricing structure for admission; in particular number of permitted free guest passes into the ground for players' friends and visiting officials, clarity about age for concessions, charging guests of players concession rates, charging for teenagers (e.g. £1), etc.

4. Increase fan base and club membership structure in keeping with above strategies.

5. Increase income generation. Systematically target all local businesses to support and get behind KTFC, a football club in the heart of the town for the local community, financially or in other ways. Hold a potential sponsor meeting early in the New Year.

6. Further develop Finney's as the preferred choice of venue for the local community.

7. Significantly increase the membership of the club's management committee, with skill sets that will enable the club to develop further; such as marketing and communication, bid writing to access grants, hospitality and catering, bar management, grounds maintenance

8. Significantly increase the number of volunteers, such as stewards for match days, bar staff, kitchen staff, ground staff, hospitality and security (when needed).

9. Improve communications with media, fan base and sponsors. Establish annual cycle of published meetings. Encourage an approved constituted supporters club, with behaviour charter, to give fans an official voice.

10. Appoint a spokesman for the club to act as the link for the media and supporters club. The items above are interlinked and dependent on each other for eventual success.

Endnote

The club will hold a meeting to present its strategy in the New Year to all interested parties. More details to follow.

If you have any questions arising from the article, via email on infoktfc@gmail.com