An update from Chairman Andrew Kilpatrick…
To the Dale family.
After five long months since we last played at the Crown Oil Arena, we welcomed the players and first team management back to training this week. I hope you will agree that it was great to see our media channels busy with football related content after a prolonged period without.
In turn, and following the EFL’s confirmation of a September 12th start date for the 2020/21 season, we have now also, this week, brought more staff back off furlough, to allow us to prepare for the start of the campaign and to gear up for the launch of our Season Cards, as well as the always highly anticipated kit launch.
It is great that we have been able to start returning to some sort of normality behind-the-scenes at the Crown Oil Arena, however, with that, the return of players and staff brings further financial pressures.
Since we last played at the Crown Oil Arena on March 7th, the only income the Club has received, outside of the regular EFL payments, is from three very generous sponsors - Crown Oil, Andrew Kelly Lettings and Smith Metals. It has been fantastic to continue our long-term partnerships with these sponsors and it is brilliant that they have shown their support for the Club during these difficult times, however the income raised from these deals only brings in one third of a month’s normal outgoings.
We have not received any extra monies from the EFL during the lockdown period, nor have we received any contributions from the Premier League.
I can tell you that we are currently operating with a deficit of £625k since March alone. Whilst we have been, and still are, very grateful for the assistance of the Government’s furlough scheme, it has only helped cover part of our wage bill. Our wage bill is around 250k per month and the furlough scheme has brought in £125k per month, so over the last five months, we have a deficit of around £625k.
Following the players’ return to training, they have now been taken off furlough and we will no longer be able to receive Government help so the financial gap is only going to get bigger. In addition, each player will be tested for Coronavirus on a weekly basis. The cost of this is not subsidised by the EFL.
I hope that all of us can take some encouragement from the signing of Alex Newby but the stark reality of the Covid-related hole in not just the Club’s, but football in general’s, finances mean that, of necessity, we are going to have to operate on a significantly reduced Playing Budget than in previous seasons. The Manager is fully bought into this reality and has been planning accordingly. We hope to be making a small number of additions to the squad in due course and, of course, these will be announced as soon as is practicable.
Our finances will be impacted further by starting the season behind-closed-doors. We know that the 2020/21 campaign will kick-off behind-closed-doors before moving to a reduced capacity inside the stadium from October 1st onwards. We will be limited to just 2170 fans inside the Crown Oil Arena and if that limit is to be in place for the entire season, then we face a loss of revenue of £650k, as well as a loss of £450k from Executive Boxes and hospitality, resulting in a further £1m hole in our finances.
It is for this reason we have been extremely grateful and humbled by the generosity of fans who have supported the Club in any way they can in recent weeks. It was wonderful to see the queues of supporters lining up outside the Club Shop when it re-opened last week. Thanks, also, to those who have signed up to our newly revamped Dale Lotto, and to those who have decided not to claim a Season Ticket refund for the remaining six unplayed games of the 2019/20 season. Your actions are very much appreciated, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all on behalf of the Board of Directors.