Rough Guide to the Referendum - Issue 53 - By Wandering

One of the initial tasks given to Steve Lloyd, who was appointed as the very first Business Development Manager by the Board, was to seek ways to generate future income streams to make the club self sustainable.

Steve eventually moved on to work for the FAW but he was responsible for laying the foundations of a long term legacy.

Just 48 hours after returning from Toulouse following the completion of our group games at Euro2016, along with all eligible adult members of the population we were able to vote in the EU referendum.

Perhaps we should be eternally grateful that former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, was not in control of the financial situation at Penydarren Park. After months of predicting that the vote to leave the European Union would lunge the UK into a deep immediate recession, see an extra half a million without employment, lead to wages falling and income tax increasing, and in time make each British family £4,300 worse off, and that this nightmare scenario would result “from the immediate and profound vote to leave” said the ex-Chancellor.

Instead Britain ended the year with the strongest economy among the developed nations with accelerating growth. Our economy actually grew by 2.2% last year – more than the US, Germany or Japan.

Of course this is prior to actually leave the EU so the shockwaves and uncertainties that Osbourne feared may still be triggered sometime in the future, but no one has accurately been able to predict what would actually happen either pre or post referendum so we are all technically still in the dark.

Back in September 2012 the Club’s Trust Board took a similar ‘leap in the dark’ after a resounding ‘Yes’ vote in our own referendum over the installation of a 3G pitch at Penydarren Park.

At a presentation made to Trust members before the referendum vote, the BDM predicted potential future income levels of between £100,000 and £150,000 could be generated per annum from the hire of the 3G playing surface.

With the £££££ signs reflecting in the eyes of the Trust members a positive outcome was virtually guaranteed. However, the maths just didn’t seem right and it soon became clear that without a major long term useage commitment this income figure quoted in the presentation would never be achieved through casual hire.

If we successfully negotiated a good deal through the Academy’s link with Swansea City this could potentially generate either a four, or even at the upper end, a five figure contribution that would include the costs of pitch hire and provision of equipment.

But the lack of a rigorous 5-year business plan and concerns regarding the original projected income levels led to the project team quickly revising their estimated income levels from £100,000/£150,000 per year to £51, 000 with the lowest possible usage after deducting maintenance costs, to a zero based break even budget – but this was only after the vote and decision had already been taken.

Would the decision have been any different if Trust members had subsequently been made aware that this crucial piece of propaganda would be just so wide of the mark? It’s probably unlikely but it is something that we will never know.

Anyway ‘Alls well that ends well’ - as at the time of writing, hopefully, we are still on course to finish in one of the coveted play-off positions. We’ve replaced the floodlights, upgraded the facilities at the ground (due to the successful Vibrant and Viable Places grant application) and won the UEFA grassroots club of the year award.

But we now need to find a minimum Capital Reserve of £100,000 to replace the 3G carpet in a few years time. Are we on target to meet this objective? We’ll know in a month’s time when the accounts for 2015/16 are unveiled at the AGM.

Or will we?

Wandering

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