Once again we are on the road this Saturday, 3rd November – making it six away games from our last seven played. Included in this run are four consecutive away league matches. No other club in the region has had such a run of away league and cup matches in the fixture list to date and we doubt very much whether anyone will. Let us state at this point whilst Royal Albert are our lodgers at this time we attach no blame to them whatsoever for this situation as other clubs involved in ground sharing have not been put in this position.
It can be said that two of these away games were Scottish Cup ties at Fochabers and Cumnock and quite frankly if it had not been for the generosity of everyone who travelled on the bus that’s supporters, committee and the playing and coaching staff we would have been well out of pocket even after the guarantee from Fochabers and the half gate at Cumnock. The cost of coach hire is now quite prohibitive these days even after getting what we considered were great deals for both trips.
We attended a meeting at Hampden on the 25th October at the request of the West Region to listen to a representative of HMRC speak to us about our resposibilities as regards PAYE and corporation tax. His opening gambit was to state that while he appreciated that we the clubs were all run by unpaid volunteers, the football clubs themselves were businesses generating income and in some cases paying wages and making profit and therefore were bound by the rules and regulations that applied. However there are two sides to this because as everyone knows the main priority in any business is cash flow and with this horrendous run of away games one of our main income streams i.e. gate receipts and the associated income has been non existent.
We use our website and home game programmes to advertise and sell tickets and look for sponsors for any function we are running. A perfect example is Saturday 3rd November when we are running a race night. With our last home game having been on the 6th of October, it has made it more difficult to sell tickets for this fundraiser.
In the current economic climate when some clubs are struggling and in some cases failing to meet their financial obligations on time, cash flow and a steady stream of disposable income is a must, because no matter how your team is performing clubs who own their grounds still have monthly fixed costs to meet so a regular flow of cash is important. We have seen a significant increase in season ticket sales and personal donations and this, with other ongoing income raising avenues, will help us greatly due to the lack of home games. The club would like to put on record their sincere thanks to everyone who has helped in our fund raising to date.
As a far as fixtures are concerned we would only say that all we ask in the light of what was heard at the HMRC meeting that the generation of income on a regular basis should also be considered when whatever little fixture planning is done that everything is taken into account and not just an effort to get certain fixtures completed no matter the cost to clubs whoever they may be.