THE Glenavon board of directors have issued a straight challenge to the club’s supporters: “back us or we go down.”
At the fans’ meeting before last Saturday’s final match of the season, chairman Adrian Teer brought to light the club’s financial figures that see their costs come in £65,000 higher than their income from supporters.
Therefore, Teer says, the club’s supporters must back their ‘Mourneview Needs You’ scheme by making regular donations to the club or by practical help in voluntary roles at Mourneview Park.
“The club is facing the possibility of not surviving as a Premiership club unless the board and the fans act now,” he said, frankly.
“The future is in our hands as supporters. What status of a club do the supporters want, a Premiership club or a Championship club? We need to run the club at a level that it can sustain. The cost of running the club is increasing with costs of match officials, club licensing, health and safety matters etc.
“The figures are that the club takes in £85,000 from supporters a year, through gate receipts and other avenues. Our costs and overheads are £150,000 a year without wages. We need to find that £65,000 a year and then find a budget on top of that.
“The Mourneview Needs You initiative has only received eight subscribers, generating less than £200 per month.
“For the club to survive, we need 400 supporters to donate an average of £5 per week. That would lead to an income of £100,000 a year. We want to make the club a challenger in the Premiership. The simplest way to do that is through the Mourneview Needs You donations.
“The club made a £100,000 loss in 2010, a £73,000 loss in 2011 and we estimate that we will lose between £70,000 and £80,000 in 2012.
“We have made cuts. Our wage budget next season will be half of what it was in the 08/09 season.”
With those cuts, Teer says that the club is currently running within its means through funding from directors but also admits that this trend can’t continue.
“We have no major creditors because we are living within our overdraft of £100,000,” he said.
“We have no state debt and all our financial obligations for this year and for next season’s domestic license have been met.
“The problem is that the club doesn’t have the guaranteed income to sustain the level that the club has been at. Something has to be done now to prevent a drop in the club’s level. We are in safety at the minute but we will be in the quicksand unless something is done now.
“Directors have put the money in to keep the club running in recent season but we can’t go on doing that.”
Teer also appealed for more fans to help out behind the scenes at Mourneview Park and thanked the club’s voluntary staff for their work:
“If it wasn’t for the club’s voluntary staff, we wouldn’t be a Premiership club. The club urgently needs more voluntary workers and supporter involvement in man-power. We need new personnel and ideas at every level up the club, from the board, the development committee right through the club.”
Meanwhile, outgoing vice-chairman Hubert Watson said that the club want to put into place a long-term strategy for the Academy, including the provision for a 3G pitch behind Mourneview Park’s Hospital End.
“The club need the skills to run the Academy, which is the club’s future,” he said.
“We’re hoping to have a 3G pitch installed using SportNI funding which will be available in 2015. We need to talk to the local MLAs about it now. We need a 10-year plan for the Academy to get players through to the first team and therefore lower our operating costs.”
Teer also thanked the fans for their support in what has been another tough season on the pitch:
“It has been a struggle to get to the end of the season but our support has been a credit to the club and proves that Glenavon would be a loss to the Premiership.
“The Board has called this meeting of supporters and we are all here together. We (the board) are here as supporters. We are supporters that are nominated on to the board by the fans. We are stewards of the club on the fans’ behalf.”