Gloucester City Football Club must face the stark reality of its current financial position. With the new season on the horizon, this has been made quite clear in a report and analysis of a restructure from their football consultant Colin Peake, who since chairing an Open meeting of the club in March, has been conducting a review of the clubs’ affairs, including finances.\r\n\r\n“It was hoped by now, the club would be in a position to clarify the way forward from 1st July but certain private approaches within the community have drawn a number of blanks despite talks held with possible investors.\r\n\r\n“The club therefore needs to widen its target to attract investment. The club must make public the position it is in, if it is to maintain its position in the game.\r\n\r\n“In real terms my recommendation of restructure should follow two distinct paths. Firstly the Limited Company must remain as the legal entity of the Club and at this point in time retain their existing directors, led by principle shareholder Eamonn McGurk. Together with current Chairman Nigel Hughes, their primary task has to be concentrating on the new stadium project, which I can confirm is currently moving forward on two fronts, with a likely conclusion sooner rather than later.\r\n\r\n“The second and main part of the restructure plan centres around the playing side of the club together with all commercial and marketing activities aligned thereto. I need to emphasise especially to supporters, whilst presently the club does not have any material assets, neither does it have any material debts to speak of.\r\n\r\n“When you look at other clubs, a current debt of just under £20k is almost nothing to worry about. I have been given personal assurances that will be written off, as and when the restructure is in place, alongside an undertaking that anyone taking on the playing side alone will start with a blank canvas with no black holes or dark corners”.\r\n\r\nIn essence, the concept is to bring the playing and commercial elements under a new Football Board (FAB), made up of 5 individuals or organisations.\r\n\r\nIn return for a minimum guaranteed financial investment, of around £10 – 20k each, the FAB would have direct control of the playing staff and management and be solely responsible for the allocated football and commercial budget. The bonus of this, unlike other clubs, is that FAB would not take on any onerous legal responsibilities of being directors, thus allowing freedom to enjoy football for the game itself, whilst supporting and safeguarding the City name.\r\n\r\nNigel Hughes could remain as nominal Chairman, continuing to represent the club at official meetings and support the newly formed FAB but that would be a decision to be taken by them once in place. He has also agreed he would assume a new role as Head of Match Day, leading a team of trusted current club personnel.\r\n\r\nThe existing Executive Committee would disband and most club policy decided by FAB, thereby bringing robust financial prudence, alongside better controls than in previous years. Part of the drive of the club, following on from the March meeting, was to recruit specialist people in certain key areas and offers to assist in these areas have been forthcoming.\r\n\r\nAn offer to the Supporters Trust to be a contributing member of the FAB has been made, with the Trust committee kept fully up to date with all aspects of the proposed restructure. I and club officials recognise the importance of the Trust, hence this offer to them to continue to play a major role in the club.\r\n\r\nOne burning issue which fans would wish to have clarified is around the team itself, “unless the FAB becomes a reality, or some other major funding materialises, the proposed playing and management staff budget for this coming season will need serious adjustment. “\r\n\r\nProviding new investment can be achieved, none of the management staff would be affected, leaving the primary target for the players and staff, to compete and give a good account of themselves in the Football Conference North next season. Retaining the clubs playing level will be a contributory factor towards aiding the financial position required in obtaining funding and other investment for the new stadium project.”\r\n\r\nThe club is therefore keen to hear from any possible investors or other financial assistance which can be made, no later than 1st July.\r\n\r\nFor the club to have a future, financial investment is vital at this time, to give the City a football club to be proud of. Therefore despite the desire to form this new style Football Board, anyone who is interested in a love of the game and the club itself, is more than welcome to make an approach or enquiry. The important factor to stress of this restructure is to assure any investor on the football side, they will be free of any legal responsibility under this concept.\r\n\r\n“Despite these genuine concerns, the club does have a future and with a new stadium a great future. A draft budget has been done and the figures stack up with new investment circa £50-75k. It has not been easy for the Club with all it has had to contend with over the past 6 years but it needs to face up to a severe reality check. If this investment can be secured, it will enable the club to come out at the end of next season in a stable financial position to hopefully play its part in a new stadium move”.\r\n\r\nSummarising the position: “The club must remain open, transparent and honest. I declared at the meeting in March I would do what I can in a consultancy role but one can only do so much. I am not in any position to make legal decisions.\r\n\r\n“Gloucester City is in a position unparalleled in the game. It is a complex situation but one which by separation for the time being, will bring clarity, focus and a renewed determination from a number of people who are desperate to keep the club alive. Continuing to interlink the playing side and the new stadium project is impossible. Therefore the situation I have outlined should be quite clear to grasp”.\r\n\r\n“The restructure is just to permit possible investment for this coming season alone and nothing more. If by then there is no clarity on the new stadium, the club will have to consider all options, including self relegation through the pyramid or even folding altogether. Either of those would be a kick in the teeth for many who have worked so hard to get the club where it is on the playing side”.\r\n\r\nAnyone genuinely interested in helping the club through financial investment, are asked in the first instance to either call 07763 831070 (Colin Peake) or 07595 466447 (Nigel Hughes) to arrange an interview.
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