STATEMENT | COVID-19 update and weekly WST communication

Following our initial update a little while back, we have received several inquiries from members regarding the situation at the club. We will update the membership every Friday with the latest news from the Trust until the current crisis is over.

Club financial situation

The current financial situation at the club is as follows:

  • WST members funds stand at £178k.
  • Our current outgoings as a club are around 10k per month. This includes our ongoing expenses and various other regular outgoings.
  • The WST has recently made a payment of £20k to the club to meet a shortfall caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • We have not yet received a payout from the government furlough programme.
  • A £50k payment from the National League has been received. This is a payment that we would expect to receive in the new season and has been brought forward. This sum will have to be deducted from next season budgeted income.
  • We are also due to make the £100k payment to Glyndwr University in September as a part of the Racecourse lease agreement.
  • The club currently has no income to offset these expenses.
  • We have no visibility on when we will be able to return to the Racecourse to generate income. The WST fundraising group is working on proposals put forward by members and we hope to be able to give further information on fundraising in the next bulletin.

Obviously, these are worrying times and not just for Wrexham AFC. We will update this financial position once we have completed a review of the April management accounts as this will provide the running costs of the club.

We will hopefully have further guidance from the Government on the possible lifting of the current lockdown and an update on the furlough scheme.

Can we open the shop for online sales?

We have no staff and we have no current stock to sell. Furloughing is a form of redundancy and therefore volunteers cannot take over staff duties.

Can we sell Season Tickets?

Again we have no staff to do this. Furthermore, we cannot take money when we have no visibility on when the next season will begin.

Source of unauthorised Tweet

This was traced back to a source that gives the sender anonymity. Access to the account was limited to a few individuals, most of whom are still with us.

The WST is at fault because no system was in place regarding the Twitter password. It’s sad that we should be targeted in this manner but a system is now in place and there will be no further occurrence.

Financial “black hole”

There was no black hole, there were no shocks. A black hole implies that money has gone missing. It was a cashflow issue that needed a short-term solution. The solution chosen was the most cost-effective solution for the club and was voted on unanimously by the WST board at the time.

There had been one other instance prior to this where a short-term directors’ facility was made to the club. No interest was charged and the facility was cleared at the end of the season. This situation was caused by a combination of reduced trading income than forecasted over the Christmas period and matchday income between January and early March 2016 average £6,000 per game behind budget.

The options considered included arranging a three-month bank overdraft, but this would have taken time to arrange and would incur interest and arrangements fees. It would be likely that the bank would also require personal guarantees and it was felt at the time the facility provided by the directors was similar in nature, but was quicker to arrange, and carried no additional cost to the club.

Administration

Administration happens when a business cannot meet its obligations. There was never any danger of the club going into administration. To suggest otherwise is a malicious assertion seemingly designed to hurt the football club.

WAFC has one shareholder which is the WST. The members of the WST are committed to supporting the football club from its members’ funds. A members’ resolution is passed every year to allow up to £150k to be injected into the football club as needed. Current WST funds stand at £170k and we have injected £20k in the last month to assist with the COVID-19 crisis.

Why was this not made public?

There was no obligation for the Football Club or WST board to make this public. Members delegate authority to the board to run the business. The problem arose and was dealt with in a manner beneficial to the club.

Publicising any cashflow issues could have created issues for the business. We may have found our credit terms altered as suppliers would be nervous about dealing with us. We may have found players less likely to sign for us.

We recognise that this has caused some concern amongst Members and would ask you to consider what level of information you would like on our financial situation as we move through this crisis and beyond. We can put this forward at the next AGM, but it is a complex issue and needs some thought.

Second Disabled Platform

Following the recent announcement regarding the cancellation of the Lionel Richie concert we are now in a position to start progressing the platform. Following the initial submission of plans to the local authority, feedback was received requiring slight amendments.

Previously, the concert used this area of the stadium and it was decided to hold back on submitting revised plans until after the detailed plans for the concert were fully known. Now that the concert has been put on hold, we will work on amended designs to submit for approval to the local authority.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank director Phil Salmon whose company AEC Engineering are building the structure at cost. This is a huge support to the club.

Director Shadowing Resolution 2019

Some progress has been made on this resolution, but it has been difficult to implement as envisaged by the membership at the last AGM. Primarily the availability of members to attend training, resignations and latterly the COVID-19 crisis have had an impact.

The board of the WST will be looking to bring amendments to this resolution, with the support of our parent body the Football Supporters Association, for members to consider at the next AGM. We recognise the importance of succession planning and we need a system that supports an effective club board.

AGM 2020

This year’s AGM was due to take place in June. However, due to the current restrictions in place it will not be possible to hold our usual meeting. The Trust Board are currently looking at different programmes that will enable us to hold a meeting.

We need to accommodate up to 3500 members, enable those members to ask questions and to vote on resolutions. Our plan is to hold a members meeting in June to test the new system and, if successful, to hold the AGM in July.

You will receive the usual notifications in due course, however members may wish to consider any resolutions that they wish to put forward or if they wish to stand for the WST Board. Details on how to do so will be provided with the AGM notices.

WST Board Vacancies

There will be several vacancies on the WST Board this year with several Board Members standing down.

John Mills, Steve Lloyd, Rob Stock and Sarah Smith Howard will all be standing down and the Board would like to thank all of them for their efforts over the past few years.

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