Q & A | Operational Board Q&A - Part 5

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Wed 18 Dec 2019

We continue our Q&A with the operational board…

Sian Jones asked: If we stay in the National League next season - Are there any plans for a reserve team as mentioned by previous manager? can you highlight pros and cons of a reserve team and explain the reason for your answer please.

Spencer Harris: Hi Sian. Ultimately this is the domain of the manager to spend his budget. We have fixed costs and therefore any spend on a reserve team would come from the First Team Budget.

A reserve team is an additional cost as you need:
-Transport coach
-A venue to play and prepare (Stewards if at the Racecourse)
-Match officials

These costs add up over a season of games. We have previously played in reserve team games against EFL opposition who play those games where people are walking dogs (literally!) and depending on the size of your squad you may not have the numbers to compete.

There are of course benefits to players coming back from injury, those not getting a game in the match-day squad and any younger prospects getting men’s football. Ultimately when we do budgeting each year this is a discussion with the First Team Manager. No manager under our employment so far has decided to spend his budget on a reserve team.

A reserve team has normally been a mix of first team players using the game for match fitness or maybe to return to fitness; giving fringe players the opportunity to impress; and youth team players having the opportunity to play alongside and against more experienced players. However, in our present situation, our youth team now play their league matches mid week; which would probably mean we would be unable to put a full team out if we were in a reserve league. This isn't something that has happened under Trust ownership, even when we were in the Football League Denis Smith withdrew us from the reserve league because he felt he could arrange matches when he wanted the games to be played for similar reasons already given.

Craig Peagram & Colin Egerton asked a similar question: Are Wrexham at any point in the near future likely to seek an investment from a source outside of the club so that the club can grow an actually have a chance of getting out of the national league?

John Mills: It really depends on how you define investment. If, in this case, you are talking about shared, or private, ownership, at this moment in time the WST Board, and hence the Club Board, do not have any remit from the Membership to seek such investment. Unless instructed to do so, this is something we cannot do. It would be a different scenario should we be approached by an external investor, as detailed in my previous answer to Gaz Trow.

However, if anyone wants to talk to us about investment, the door is always open.

Craig Roberts asked: Hi I don't know what questions we are allowed to ask regarding to Wrexham FC but I would like to ask why is Wrexham FC ground not used more often like for music concerts or even Boxing events everything is always in South Wales or in England and as we are from North Wales we would like to be able to go to events in North Wales

Gavin Jones: Hi Craig. I totally agree. However, we only have a five-week window to offer artists – after potential playoff dates and eight weeks before start of the season, as this time is needed to get the pitch ready for a long season.

If we via away from music concerts to other events, we would need permission from the landlord and a possible new safety stadium certificate, which would cost tens of thousands for the club. We also need the support of other local neighbouring landlords and the willingness of neighbouring residents!

Mark Barns asked: While recognising that it might help our rivals if you told us the exact footballing budget, could you let us know the RELATIVE size of the budget for each season where the WST has been in charge compared to our previous owners (e.g. 2010-2011 season). Did the football budget rise or fall each subsequent season, and by what percentage?

Mark Williams: Hi Mark. I have checked the accounts for Wrexham Football Club 2006 Limited in the year prior to our takeover but unfortunately they only filed abbreviated accounts unlike the WST who despite not being required to by law publish full accounts for another layer of transparency. These are our overall First team costs since then against the original budget we sent:
 

Year ended

Budget

Actual

Variance

Comments

30/06/2012

N/A

£850,336

N/A

Only covers 30/11/2011 - 30/06/2012

30/06/2013

£1,027,900

£1,303,347

£275,447

 

30/06/2014

£911,304

£1,073,917

£162,613

 

30/06/2015

£833,248

£988,225

£154,977

 

30/06/2016

£915,407

£1,081,521

£166,114

 

30/06/2017

£945,648

£941,514

-£4,134

 

30/06/2018

£913,352

£1,071,663

£158,311

 

30/06/2019

£937,400

TBC

TBC

Looking to have AGM in January 2020

30/06/2020

£1,256,900

TBC

TBC

 


The budgets are presented at the WST AGM prior to each season and the actual amounts are from the audited accounts.

I would also add that the previous owners failed to pay the player’s wages on time along with the taxes deducted from employer’s wages. This resulted in a winding up order issued against the club and the National League requesting a £250,000 bond to be paid.

Mark Barns: While recognising the need to keep individual contracts confidential, what has been the total amount spent paying off non-playing football staff whose contracts were terminated early? Has this been balanced out by compensation received from managers who have been poached by other clubs?

Mark Williams: Since Dean Keates was appointed the first time then the amount received exceeds the amounts paid. Since Andy Morrell was appointed then the amount paid exceeds the total received by £56,747.39. I have not given the exact amounts as it would be possible to work this back. When working out this figure I have included future payments.

Mark Barnes: What has been the biggest challenge in running the football club?

Phil Salmon: Trying to make sound business decisions with the best interests of our football club, with the available information that sometimes cannot be shared at that time.

Kenn Peters asked: (Name Removed) misguided view of 'We own nothing apart from a history, the badge on the shirt and short-term, a group of players who don't have a massive value' shows he has not thought it through! If we allow 'external investment', then regardless of the investor's intentions we the Trust and therefore the Club would be liable to the 'League' for any over commitment, i.e. for 'short term gain' and could see the Club thrown out of our current 'League', the said investors would then simply walk away.

Gavin Jones: Thank you for the email Kenn, I’ll leave any judgement on a misguided view for others. The WST constitution clearly stipulates that the club cannot intentionally over commit financially. We submit a budget for income and expenses to the National League each year which is strictly scrutinised due to our ownership model due to us not having an owner who personally guarantees any losses and provides personal guarantees to fixture completion.

Kenn Peters: Please confirm that the Trust/Board would not support any such 'external investment' unless it complies with the Trust's policy in 'ensuring the Club operates with financial responsibility enabling the Club to be run for the long-term interest of the Community'?

Gavin Jones: Any investor who is successfully in the WST’s investment process which involves a proof-of-funding step would then need to be presented to the membership and scrutinised accordingly by the members, with the membership having a final acceptance or rejection vote on any such proposal.

Ian Jones asked: Has any thoughts been put in to expand the board to help current directors spend less free time on WFC?

John Mills: Hi Ian. As you will be aware, we have already taken one step towards expanding the Board with the appointment of Dixie McNeil. If and when there is a necessity, or a missing skill-set, identified, there is no reason not to add to the Board. But it must always be for the benefit of the Club, not just a gesture. Every board member should be able to contribute not only to their own area of expertise, but also to the overall decision process.

Nick Jones asked: FAO Mark Williams. How many offers of outside investment has the club received since fan ownership? Can you list them please?

Mark Williams: This is a question for the Society Board as I do not keep these records as no request has been directly made to myself.

- Note from the editor: Will direct this question during the WST Q&A.

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