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Vanarama Conference Premiership


Financial position at Kidderminster improving

The dire financial position at Kidderminster Harriers is improving, but the club is far from being out of the woods.   The playing budget has been slashed by 50 per cent.

The difficulty for a club in this sort of situation is that it can get into a spiral of decline from which it is difficult to recover.   Results suffer, the club gets relegated and attendances fall, making recovery difficult. Cup runs, which can provide valuable revenue and publicity, become less likely.

Torquay takeover completed

The takeover of Torquay United by a consortium of 10 local businessmen led by former striker Dean Edwards has at last been completed. Because of the uncertainty, only 57 season tickets have been sold for next season.

Ashley Gateshead rumours denied

Rumours that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley was interested in buying Gateshead have been denied.   The notion was that the Conference side would be used to develop young Magpies players, but that could be achieved anyway through a link up.

Five potential buyers have come forward, including ones from Texas and the south of France.  Current chairman Graham Wood has put £10m in the club over the last ten years.

Gateshead FC for sale

Gateshead owner Brian Wood has put the club up for sale.   He has bankrolled his home town club for the past nine years but has not been able to achieve his ambition of returning them to the Football League after an absence of 55 years.   At the age of 71, he feels it is time to call it a day.

Bristol Rovers sue Sainsbury's

As Bristol Rovers prepare for a play-off final that could return them to the Football League after one season, they are also appearing in the High Court to sue Sainsbury's.

The supermarket chain was going to bulldoze the Memorial Ground to build a supermarket.   However, with the changes in the retail sector, they have pulled out of the scheme.   They claim that it is because they are unhappy with conditions in the planning permission that restrict the number of trucks that can deliver at night.

New stadium plans could boost Imps

Former Football League clubs find the Conference something of a challenge.   There is only one automatic promotion place with one promotion place being awarded through the lottery of play offs.  The revenue of clubs is hit badly while they have to try and adjust their budgets.   Hereford United went under and are being reborn as a phoenix club.

Success story for Spitfires

There was a record attendance of 4,126 at the Silverlake Stadium, Eastleigh for the visit of Macclesfield Town last Saturday.   The BT cameras were also present for a live screening of the game.  Eastleigh won 4-0 and are just outside the play off places in the Conference.

Co-op Bank pull the plug on Lincoln City

Doubt has been cast on the future of Lincoln City after the Co-op Bank said that it would be severing all ties with the club.   The bank has instructed the club to sell its property assets to meet a debt of £380,000. Around 80 per cent of that sum makes up the club's overdraft and working capital facility.

The club's board has spent the last year unsuccessfully purusing alternative financing arrangements.  The club is operating at a loss of £3,000 a week.

Big variations in non-league budgets

It is a big temptation for benefactors of clubs in the Premiership and Football League to try and buy success.   In particular, many Championship clubs seek to chase glory through their cheque book, even more so now that financial fair play rules have been diluted.   It can all end with an empty wallet and a sour taste in the mouth.

AFC Telford make a profit

AFC Telford have made a small profit of £6,070 on turnover of £788,000.   Down from £13,000 in 2012-13, it effectively represents a break even position.   However, the Conference club deserve credit for making a profit in nine years out of ten given the losses that many clubs make, even at non-league level.