A big welcome to the Walks to everyone and not least to the directors, players and supporters of Frome.
Regular readers will know that we held a meeting at The Walks to discuss admission prices for next season to which Friends of the Linnets (just £ 5 to join), club members and season ticket holders were invited. Regular fans that come to most games need to be involved in decisions where possible and a good group of around 60 fans duly arrived for an interesting meeting. I find it extraordinary that there are 1 or 2 trust members that snipe from the sidelines who happily pay £ 10 to the trust every year; an organisation that has never given a penny to the football club in its entire existence but bulk at paying £ 5 to a supporters organisation whose main purpose is to raise money for the club. Their job seems to be hell bent on trying to destabalise the club when for once the vast majority of fans are moving forward in a positive direction.
I will try and summarise the main events. I started off by explaining that gate receipts alone do not cover the expenses and footballing wages and that as a club we need to decide whether we are happy to stagnate or try and push for the play offs next season. As a rough guide excluding gate receipts there is a hole left of around £ 100,000 per season that needs to be found. This is filled with a mixture of sponsorships, pre season friendly income, match sponsorships, catering, private hire and other corporate activities. However this does not cover all the costs and the rest is left for me to make up the difference.
In addition to the above we need to increase the playing budget next season as well as spend a lot of money on the pitch. Some less educated fans that do not understand economics (none of which were present at our meeting I am pleased to say) suggest just increasing commercial income. Well of course we have done that and are doing a lot more besides with the hopeful start of an academy, with Ray Hall’s soccer schools (we intend to set these up throughout the county as satellites) and generating new commercial opportunities. Indeed today our match is sponsored by Luke Loades of Rounce and Evans who will be enjoying our match day hospitality as well as celebrating his birthday and they have also taken a perimeter advertising board for the season for which we are very grateful. They were not involved with the club last season and there are many more similar examples, my guess is that 40% of all the perimeter boards around the stadium were not here last season and 30% of the match sponsors. Once they try out our food and experience the hospitality companies come back (some have done so 3 times already this season) but building commercial links takes time and of course its important that you the fans support these companies rather than their competitors when you are able to.
I was very pleased at the meeting with the warmth of feeling towards the club and indeed it was a fan (not myself) that suggested an increase in the admission prices for next season and asked for a show of hands to support his motion. I think there was only the odd person who did not raise their hands and that I put down to their hearing ability rather than their disagreement with the concept.
It is important that we reward regular fans and ensure that they get the best deals. With this in mind the following will apply for next season:
2 league matches maybe categorized as Cat B and have increased pricing.
The remaining 21 league matches would be Category C admission prices and will rise by £ 2 to £ 12 for an adult and £ 10 for concessions. Seating prices at £ 1 per match will remain the same.
Membership will be frozen at £ 25 and members will pay £ 12 for adults and £ 10 for concessions for all 23 league matches as well as getting a 10% discount on all draught beers and a 10% discount on anything bought from the club shop
Season tickets will be set at the reduced admission price level and will also include 3 free matches making prices £ 200 for concessions and £ 240 for adults for ground admission with seating prices frozen at the same level making tickets £ 220 for concessions and £ 260 for adults.
Season ticket holders will be able to pay in installments spreading the cost with the final installment being due in October making the whole process much more affordable although they must be purchased on-line to be able to pay in stages.
Bringing in the next generation of fans is vital to the future of this club so we will continue to give free entry to the under 11s and the price for the Under 19s will also be frozen at just £ 4 per match.
Pre season friendlies will be charged at the same price as this season’s admission prices.
Category A prices will be reserved for any glamour cup matches.
Overall as we have not had a price increases for 4 or 5 seasons I think this is more than fair and buying a membership makes more sense than ever and we hope to add extra benefits for our club members before next season starts. Indeed if you are a business and you would like to give our members a genuine discount on your prices then contact me and I will add you to the list of companies who are providing deals for our members. It’s a free service so don’t be shy!
The above should generate an extra £ 10,000 for the playing budget next season (remember our attendance figure includes everyone in the stadium those that pay and don’t pay). Next season will be a great time to be a Linnet, the squad will be exciting, as will the football and I do hope that you will all enjoy the journey.
Ray Hall ran another soccer school this week this time giving some youngsters the opportunity to play at the Walks for 2 days, Adam Seal was a huge help as were one or two others.
As a club we need to sort out our youth policy, I am having meetings this week with Kings Lynn Elite to see if anything can be done to work closer together or if we need to branch out on our own. We may need to take some bold decisions going forward but they will be in the best interests of the football club. As a club we need to have our hands out to work with any potential partner but if it’s a rotten deal for the club and only benefits the other party then we need to have the strength to walk away. Sometimes that’s hard to do in business but doing a bad deal is much worse as it has to be unraveled at some point miles down the road.
Duff Morgan have renewed their sponsorship deal with the club providing our Manager with a car on the house and that’s despite the condition that the last car was returned to them by the previous incumbent. A huge thanks to Martin Seal and his team and Seat for their support.
We now have a clear pathway that our reserve players can see to become regulars in the first team, from memory there were just 4 first team players that started against Dorchester and they were all fantastic. The reserves are also really keen to progress through into the first team, something that was not always the case before, and the same filtering system applies from the Youth to the reserves and the Under 16s to the Youth. From where I stand its not just us the supporters that are excited about the future it’s the players as well; I just wish we could fast forward the summer break as I can’t wait for next season.
Don’t forget next Saturday is our last home game against Chesham and I look forward to seeing you all there.
Enjoy the Game.