Chairman Bob & CEO Steve ‘Q’s at BBC

Chairman Bob Dorrian and Steve Prescott were on BBC Radio Lincolnshire this morning to face some questions with regard to Lincoln City’s current plight. Billed as a ‘Lincoln City call to account phone in’, it would serve as an opportunity for fans to call in, or email, to quiz the duo. To follow a synopsis of proceedings, although later in the day a podcast will go up and be available for seven days HERE

Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

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Mr Dorrian introduced himself, stating that he felt the role of Lincoln City Chairman to be an honour, for a lifetime supporter, introduced via his Granddad in the 1950’s.  He feels the role to be one of a figurehead who consults with the other directors , more a pass-time than a business one, as it is almost impossible to make money at the non-league level. Steve Prescott sees himself as one who sits side by side with the manager. His job is to keep the non-football cost down to a minimum. 

First caller ‘Steve’ quizzed the duo on what was being done to attract new investment and how the club is attempting to make itself look more attractive to potential investors.  Mr Dorrian confirmed that 3 directors had put in £75k thus far. There will also be a new investor in the new year. Talks are ongoing with another who is looking to put a substantial sum in. Mr Dorrian concluded turning on-field form around will ultimately make things most attractive. 

‘Dave’ questioned the board’s oversight, how they had sat on their hands over Tilson and why they appear to be doing so little to get people down to the ground.  Bob reiterated what he has said before. Peter Jackson had been more focused on his health and family. Chris Sutton looked a good choice given Martin O’Neill had agreed to provide us with free players after Peter Jackson had spent the budget.  Left-winger Somma had been a particular success, with Sutton turning him into a central striker capable of keeping us up.  

Dave then concluded that fans are not going due to the boards ineptitude, Mr Sutton did not warm to the fans and that the club is now down to 1500 because the football is dire where it should be 5,000.Although I may have missed a line, the central ‘Tilson’ question was not covered. 

A question with regard to how long David Holdsworth would last was defended comfortably by the Chairman.  The manager may lack experience but he has a lot of potential and the board have great faith in him.  A caller then phoned in championing the merits of being a director for the day at £125. This is also available for away fixtures where the experience extends to a ride there and back with opportunities to chat to the board and CEO. 

Stuart then asked about a price drop, another email had also enlightened us that Wolves provide entry for £25.  The CEO felt TV money allowed ticket prices to be subsidised by bigger clubs. He then went into the fact that the early bird scheme affords fans a £2 discount opportunity.  Season ticket holders at Sincil Bank enjoy entry at an average of £12 per game.  Mr Dorrian said that he would love to drop the prices but the club cannot afford to do so.  The Club had also brought in the flexi-pack which had given fans the opportunity  to purchase between 1 and 23 tickets at a £4-£5 reduction per match.  From Monday the 6 pack offer will return. The only detail given on this was that an Adult would be getting Co Op tickets at £14 per game. 

An email question asked about off-field costs.  Mr Dorian reiterated what had been said at the fans meeting. Staff had been reduced from 24 to 8. By the end of the year the club’s off-field costs would be half of the previous year with  Mr Prescott doing 3 jobs.

Joanna then asked what the budget was for this year and previous, by way of comparison. Mr Dorrian confirmed a pro – budget of £400k. The transfers of Carayol, Smith and other initiatives had seen this rise to £475k.  This had alloed Mr Holdsworth the opportunity to bring in Larkin, Fofana,  Oliver and Miller.  This season’s budget appears to be £200,000 down on the previous one.   The next question brought up average earnings. It would appear the current squad average is under £20,000, although this is spread across 44 weeks, the norm for non-league (£454.54 per week).  Mr Dorrian felt that a move to part-time would show a lack of ambition.

The next question moved onto the ground, who owns the land and relocation.  Mr Dorrian confirmed the council would be due 50% of any sales fee.  He was in conversation with regard to a ground move. He  and the CEO are due to have two meetings at two newly erected grounds soon.  The old stadium he feels is not fit for purpose.  Mr Prescott then went into how we were in pretty good shape and overdraft aside we are debt free.  Mr Dorrian confirmed that only 3 BSP clubs are solvent, of which the Imps are the most solvent. 

A caller asked about the notion of a terracing area within the Stacey West. Mr Dorian would like to bring terracing back but there would be a high cost and passed the question over to Mr Prescott. The CEO gave the figure to be £30,000 based on a feasibility study. 

A caller asked whether the manager could engage Lincoln’s large East European Community, by signing a player from those parts.  The CEO agreed that it was a market that could be reached but quality and cost are a factor. 

An email from a fan named Keith asked, baring in mind the £500k input last year with a recognised £150k short-fall at the time, whether the club was nearing administration.  Mr Dorrian replied that the club had received an extra £100,000 of investment in. He said that he could categorically confirm we would not be going into administration this or  the end of next season. 

Another email asked if the club would put the directors and their business interests up on the clubs new website.  Apparently this had not been done in the past but it could be looked into. The CEO changed the subject by stating that the clubs creditors had been reduced by £250,000 including outstanding amounts to Arsenal and Celtic.   This appears at odds with his debt free boast four paragraphs back.  Bob added that he was sure the fans will come back if we are winning. 

The next question asked if more youth players would get a chance in the first team as opposed to being sold.  Mr Dorrian confirmed that 5 of the youth system had been signed up to the first team in the summer.   Groundshare was next up and Mr Dorrian confirmed that he would be happy to ground-share.  (As an aside and for information only, Lincoln Ladies had tried to do so, electing instead to play their Women’s Premier League games at Lincoln United). 

With John Ward leaving Orient, the question of him replacing Mr Holdworth was next up. Mr Dorrian confirmed that he was on record as saying that he would not want to ruin his Lincoln reputation.  Mr Dorrian then pointed out that a manager only has a 5% chance of success. The Imps had been unlucky that Chris Sutton had decided to leave after 9 games after being afforded a good budget. 

Mr Prescott then brought up the Big game against Luton, stating that flyers would be going out and that there would be offers for children. No further details were given. 

To round off the hour, Mr Dorrian understands the Frustrations with him and appreciates it comes with the territory.  He feels if we had taken our chances this season we would be in a play-off position.  Drawn on tonight’s result he felt a point would be good.  Mr Prescott concluded that great work had been done behind the scenes to keep morale up. 

Later today a full unabridged podcast will go up and be available for seven days HERE

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Posted on September 28, 2012, in STMI Lincoln City FC Q & A's, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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