Billingham Town FC
CHAIRMAN'S AGM REPORT
It is a privilege for me to take the Chair of Billingham Town Football Club albeit we have witnessed one of the most difficult periods that I have seen at any football club. To say that the club has been through a turbulent time last year is an understatement.
Since February my aim and the aim of the committee was to lead the club to more settled and productive times, build a quality team on the pitch and bringing much needed stability, real leadership and direction off it.
It is important that you now know the scale of that task. In February the club was left in £8600 of debt with no bills having been paid for considerable amount of time. We had no money in the bank, our clubhouse license that had been intentionally cancelled and we had no lease for the ground.
I want to thank Neil Martin who has worked tirelessly to bring me in as chair, supported me 100% in bringing the vital changes that the club required and building the Billingham Supporters Trust which invariably handed this great club back to the fans.
Financial stability was absolutely essential and since February the committee has worked hard to flatten all debts or put in place payment plans for those debts that we could not divert elsewhere. A lot of time and effort has been put in to manage this debt down to a level the club can manage. Sponsorship was essential in raising vital funds for the club to move forward. I would like to thank all of our sponsors whether it is through direct cash investment, pitch side advertising and player and kit sponsorships for their continued support.
I would like to put on record my thanks to our main sponsors, who at our time of need, invested in the club. They are, Utility Alliance Ltd, Drive Vauxhall (Hartlepool) and Chris Musgrave from Wynyard Developments.
In just 6 months the club has gone from £8600 in debt with all the additional burdens it had, to having money in the bank, with a strong management support structure, and a progressive team on the pitch. That is down to the hard work of the committee and volunteers and the support of the fans.
We also had to make essential changes to the governance of the club. Some decisions were unpopular but nevertheless necessary. The management team of James Hunter and Harry Taylor left the club. To clarify this decision the club simply could not meet the financial demands that the management team required to take us into 2018/19.
Our current management team were appointed. It cannot be understated what Barry Oliver and Paul Edwards bring to the club. Not just experience and financial support on the field but continued financial and additional support with their contribution to improvements to facilities at Bedford Terrace.
The committee profile has changed too. While I was sad to see one or two individuals leave, changes were required. Those changes were made and I am pleased to chair the committee that we have today. It is forward thinking, industrious and supports the wider aims of the club. It is a great blend of supporters and people with management and football experience.
I would also like to put on record my thanks and gratitude to the volunteers around the club that help run match days and assist outside of our “match day” with events such as social functions, maintenance, income generation and closed season events. The club can only function and thrive if we have sufficient volunteers to help out so please get involved if you can.
I would also like to put on record my thanks to Neil Martin for his work with the local authority in negotiation a long term lease for the club. We have been granted a 20 year lease; however, this is on hold as we are negotiating an extension of up to 30 years to allow for wider funding opportunities.
The future of the club is bright.
We have the right people in the right places; our communication has improved not only within the ground but with residents, councillors, the local authority and partners. Our financial situation has stabilised and is improving and the football team and management is bringing success.
That’s the good news and I say that with a note of caution.
The club must look forward and in the medium to long term become more community focussed. We need to be in a position to maximise available funding and grants to achieve our strategic objectives.
We must become part of the community and the community part of us. We must use our facilities to improve opportunities for sport, education, leisure, health and wellbeing in the local community.
We must use sport and our facilities to help develop children and adults through regular participation in sport. We must work in partnership with others to deliver on local sporting needs and aspirations and maximise all opportunities available.
The club must continue to work hard to succeed. We are in a great place, let’s keep it there.
Wednesday 24th October
Durham Challenge Cup