Budget: Is It Time For Trust To Be Critical Friend?

Alfreton Town, Welling United, Tamworth, Woking, Southport FC, Nuneaton Town, Tamworth, Braintree, Dartford FC and Hyde FC are all considered part time.  Yet with three training sessions a week they could be labelled as what Lincoln manager Gary Simpson has recently described as part-time in disguise.

Perhaps this is why Lincoln struggles to beat sides who have superior budgets and look to raise their game in order to gain the scalp of a big team. The real issue and reality check for Lincoln fans, is that the club is anything but a big team when it comes to the playing budget. The forecast budget is still less than that enjoyed by David Holdsworth last season, this, despite better than expected season ticket sales, higher admission prices due to the closing of the home end and better average crowds than last season. 

After an interminable half decade of misery and decline, the team finds itself mid-table yet we are failing to play the dream football that fans wish to see.  At £18 for an adult they do have a point, but the economic reality and real issue is the competition from the 23 other Conference clubs that the Imps are struggling to match. They show ambition, they inspire, while a club with the potential of Lincoln, does anything but shrouded behind  non disclosure agreements that frustrate fans and keep them in the dark.  Who would like answers on the Stadium, the recent supporter director elections etc etc etc? What about a fans forum and not one that shortens a Trust or club AGM?

But back to money, the route of all evil it would appear. Lincoln and Macclesfield have the lowest full-time budgets in the Skrill Premier League, dwarfed by Luton, Forest Green, Grimsby, Wrexham, Cambridge, Kidderminster and Gateshead.  But these disguised part-time sides are also outspending the club thanks to rich benefactors and commercial deals that allow them to punch above their financial weight.  While geographically challenged Lincoln cannot afford more than 5 overnight stays, Salisbury identified and funded the 15 they face before a ball was kicked in earnest.

When we look at the performance on the pitch of Alfreton, Salisbury and Welling, they are doing so because they have the ability to fund better loans and can pay wages in excess of ours.  Lincoln have an average of £350 per week, but many of our part-time competitors can easily offer far more – sometimes double – our highest earners. Surely everyone realises consistency costs and that you get what you can ultimately pay for on the creative and goals front, which is the lifeblood of the sport.

Alfreton, Welling, Woking and Tamworth all have bigger playing budgets than Lincoln despite our gates.  Southport and even Nuneaton are certainly on a par with the Imps, but able to pay money and get loans that are out of our reach. Only Hyde, Braintree, Dartford and Macclesfield have an inferior budget to Lincoln, but their geography is less challenging when it comes to attracting talent.

We cannot really do anything about it any more either, the dye is cast.  The Trust historically appear in fans eyes to be anything but a critical friend, despite the two long-term gold member and supporter director reigns on the board of the club. The 1 million shares have gone to the Holding Company and even the current supporter Director is now a business partner of one of the board members on the Holding company, suggesting a cosy closed shot relationship remains. All we can do is keep faith it appears and be thankful the club is still in business even if it had to give away the fans crown jewels to sustain itself without any long-term guarantees.  Not that we had a vote on it of course  – this at of all clubs, the one Supporters direct once saw as the model community club.

Please note we have omitted the actual figures for each club for legal reasons, alas, as our regular readers are aware, STMI does not have the legal backing to publish the full truth as bigger publications would.

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Posted on November 5, 2013, in Financial, Skrill Premier Zone, Supporters Trust, Writers - Neil Gentleman-Hobbs and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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