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Vanarama Conference North


Conference may need new sponsor

The Conference may be looking for a new sponsor with the future of Blue Square Bet in doubt.   The future of Blue Square Bet , who are in their sixth season of sponorship, is being reviewed by owners Rank Group.   The business is running at an operating loss and Rank wants to concentrate its resources on its bingo and casino activities.

Worcester City face stadium blow

Worcester City FC have had a plea to stay at their century old home at St.George's Lane until building work starts turned down by the developers.   They will have to move out at the end of the season.

It looks as if they will ground share with Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough.   Evesham United have a brand new ground but it does not come up to Conference standard.

Histon's future in doubt

Histon FC failed to play their fixture at Colwyn Bay on Saturday and the future of the Cambridgeshire village side who reached the Conference is now in doubt.    On 177 turned up for their last home game, a FA Trophy tie against Boreham Wood.

The club is seeking professional advice on their future today.    This follows a court case last week in which they were asked to pay an unspecified four figure sum to their chief executive Alan Soraff who left the club in 2010.

Knitters try to unravel debts

Many non-league clubs are finding the recession challenging.  At my own non-league club, a spell without home games has impaired cash flow, although we do have reserves and have had some success in renting out the clubhouse.

Hinckley United, who carry the historic nickname of the Knitters, have faced financial troubles for the last two years and the preceding four months have been particularly challenging.   They still need £80,000 to pay off their creditors as well as £6,000 to lift their transfer embargo.

Stadium setback for Gloucester

Gloucester City feel let down after being told by council planners to go back to the drawing board over their plans to rebuild their stadium.   Their Meadow Park home was badly flooded in 2007 and since then they have played at Forest Green Rovers, Cirencester Town and Cheltenham Town.

Is there a Histon model?

Have Histon managed to develop a model for non-league survival at a minimal cost?   They have managed to survive in the second tier despite having a £130,000 budget which permits a 15 man squad which works out an average of £7,000 per player.

Histon is just to the north of Cambridge and with the intertwined village of Impington is a fast growing area.   However, the combined population is short of 10,000 which is quite small to sustain a tier two club, even though some fans come from further afield.

Club asks fans for help

Histon have asked fans to donate £150 each to keep the club running until the end of the season.   Promised sponsorship failed to materialise and so supporters have been asked to contribute to the near £14,500 monthly wage bill.

Two years ago the Cambridgeshire village side had debts of £75,000 and these have been reduced to less than £25,000.   There is no risk of the club folding.

Redditch taken over

Blue Square North club Redditch United have been acquired by local businessman Chris Swan in a takeover that wipes out their debt.   The property developer had agreed to take over Kidderminster Harriers last month but pulled out because he was unsure of the true extent of their debts.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if Redditch can avoid relegation.  To add to their woes, the Conference gave them a five point deduction last Friday for submitting misleading information as part of the league's Financial Reporting Initiative.

Bucks aim for Football League

AFC Telford are the latest club to announce that their ambition is to reach the Football League, despite their predecessor club going out of business.   The Blue Square Bet North club was a phoenix club formed after Telford United, a founder member of the Conference, went into liquidation with the collapse of benefactor Andy Shaw's businesses in 2004.

Conference clubs owe less to taxman

The 67 Blue Square league clubs owe £1.2m less to Revenue and Customs than this time last year.  The Conference understandably credits its Financial Reporting Initiative under which clubs have to make quarterly financial returns for this achievement.