Liam, Steve and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all season ticket holders and membership holders for their continued support and loyalty through what has been an incredibly difficult time financially for Southport FC. The club relies predominantly on ticket sales, food and alcohol sales on matchday, and the ever growing (until this time last year) income from hospitality and events. This has of course been curtailed completely for the last 12 months save for a couple of games and the streaming, which to be fair, once we deducted the costs , amounted to minimal income. There has been much made of the grants from Camelot awarded to the teams throughout October, November and December. Unlike other teams across the National League who received quite considerably more than their expenses amounted to during that period, our figures were pitched perfectly to match the expenses.
I don’t intend to rehearse here all the arguments that you have no doubt already read much about concerning the failure by the National League to secure further grants for January onwards, despite their earlier indications to the contrary, but we as a club were effectively left responsible for January’s expenses including players wages, with still no income on the horizon. Again much has been said previously about our decision to support a curtailment of the season, but essentially it boiled down to a fear for the health and safety of everyone concerned with Southport FC, and a desire to stick by what all the clubs discussed at the beginning of the season, ie that all 66 teams should start the season, and all should survive until it finished. I am proud that, unlike some other clubs at our level, each of our three directors were steadfast in sticking to our principles in that respect. It was flabbergasting to read some clubs suggesting that, as an example, it was “inexcusable” not to finish the season because of our apparent “elite” status, whilst others with less financial support (or cup luck) were openly saying that they were close to administration.
We have recently released a statement expressing our shock and disgust at the National League decision, knowing how cash strapped teams our at our level, to issue fines to those clubs struggling most. The “richer” teams could afford to play. We all wanted to play football. We are after all, “football” teams. Some teams were simply unable to continue whilst complying with their fiduciary duties to their club and keep their club alive. So what should happen to those clubs who genuinely couldn’t afford to play? Lets fine them thousands. Makes perfect sense! You really couldn’t write it…..In respect to our own position, the position was quite clear, and obviously more will come out in the wash, but effectively prior to the Fylde game we had two players exhibiting Covid symptoms. The game was postponed, but rather than giving us the usual 42 days to re-arrange, and despite our suggestion that we should play 7 days later to allow time for the test results to be returned, the National League indicated to us that the game should be replayed 48 hours later. The test results for one of the two players only had been returned within that 48 hours, so we were unable to fulfil the fixture. No explanation has as yet been offered by the National League as to why we had to play within 48 hours, contrary to the usual rules, or our suggestion to replay 7 days later. In respect of the Curzon game, despite the National League finally recognising that all players should be tested regularly, no tests had been sent to us to facilitate same. Furthermore, teams had already been expressing their inability to meet fixtures owing to financial difficulties, and we took the decision to support these teams by not playing any more games.
This has certainly been a 12 months during which some difficult decisions have had to be made. We have however been heartened by the amount of support we have received from the huge majority of Southport fans who have been able to recognise the bigger picture throughout this period.
We now face a £4000 fine, plus the need to do further end of season work to the pitch, but we continue to look forward with confidence. Liam is already building his squad for the next season, but we do rely, more than ever , on your continued support.
We will shortly be re-starting our popular walkabout Wednesdays, and I look forward to chatting to as many of you as possible. In the meantime, thoughts turn to season tickets, both in respect of this season and next.
We have genuinely had only a handful of people contact the club enquiring about a refund for this season. This has been far outweighed by the amount of supportive messages that we have received recognising the difficult stresses financially that have been placed on the club. In an ideal world, we would be in a situation to reimburse all fans. The reality is that the huge generosity of those fans not requesting refunds, for which Liam, Steve and I are incredibly grateful, will put us in much better stead for next season. To that end, any fan that does wish to receive a refund should contact us within the next 7 days to confirm same so that we can take account of the effect that this will have on the club moving in to next season. Alternatively, for those fans that do not request a refund, we will be offering an “old gold loyalty” season ticket for next season, which is cheaper than the “normal” season ticket. As a thank you to those fans, and the membership holders, we will also hold an exclusive open training session at The Pure Stadium in August when those fans will be given the opportunity to watch the players training, and then mingle with management, players and Board afterwards whilst enjoying a complimentary hog roast. We propose to announce other exclusive events through the course of the season.
To apply for a refund please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and contact number and you will then receive a telephone call to process the card refund over the telephone.
Refund requests can also be made at Walkabout Wednesday.
I would like to take this opportunity again to thank all staff and volunteers who have helped us to get through this last 12 unprecedented and difficult months and once again take the opportunity to welcome Tony Evans on board from here on in . His commercial know how will, I am in no doubt, be a valuable addition to the team.
PROPOSED SEASON TICKET PRICES FOR 2021/22 SEASON
|MAIN STAND||OLD GOLD LOYALTY PRICE||FULL PRICE|