Stockport County’s Critical Run-In


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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5 Responses

  1. SteveF says:

    A good article, but to fully appreciate the problems the club faces you must add the issue that the club no longer owns its own ground and indeed has to pay rent to even play there – this asset stripping and the relationship with the new owner (google Kennedy & Sale Sharks) is the heart of many of the problems. The club gains no matchday income from hospitality & the like – so big crowds are great for atmosphere but don’t help if gate income is not up. Also (I think) next season sees the financial parachute payments cut before they end the following season. The only rays of hope are that the local council at last seem to be offering some real help and the club is finally getting some people on the staff who have the skills to turn things round – Gannon is a proven manager supported by most fans and Fearn seems to understand marketing and the importance of the only key asset the club has – its fans.
    If a club like County can’t make a go of it at this level with the fan base it has, it questions the whole of the current financial model used in the lower leagues.
    I also must mention the lack of interest in the local media for covering club issues – I could go into detail, but the refusal of the local BBC radio station (Radio Manchester – the clue could be in the title) to even mention the £5 ticket offer is a good example – I contrast this with the approach taken in the south west where Radio Devon could not be more supportive of their teams Exeter, Plymouth & Torquay.

  2. Sean says:

    Just to add, Gannon isn’t the manager – he’s Director of Football (fully in charge of the first team), so while he’s restricted by the finances, as a director he is fully incolved in revising the budget. As a qualified accountant he should know what he’s doing, so things should be balanced out by the start of next term. We’ll be rid of a lot of deadwood, and Gannon’s shown before that he can produce a side of young, talented and above all cheap players when given the time (take note, Port Vale!).

    Regarding the potential cash-flow issues, frankly it’s worse at the moment. County are constantly trying to find money here & there, living a hand-to-mouth existence, such as getting ground rent deferred (or, as Sale Sharks announced it, ‘waived… definitely not a dliberate mistake by them to make themselves look better. Oh, no.).

    The big problem with that sort of thing is you’re got definite money going out (wages) but you can’t guarantee money is coming in, especially with postponements due to bad weather. It doesn’t help when your local police force charges you £11,000 for policing a game… and the only trouble that occurs is caused by over-zealous policing, but that’s another matter.

    Having the big chunk of money settled and in the bank by May would surely be a better option. It’s there already, you know what you’ve got to work on, and best of all it’s all earning interest.

    I’m not sure that we’ll hit the 5,500 target, but that’s probably just a ploy to get people to sign up by a certain time. If it gets to, say, £500k worth of STs sold then I can see them still running with it – otherwise you have to start again, and you can’t be certain of raising that much when they’re sold at full value.

  3. PAUL EKE says:

    Given that Hartlepool have operated the season ticket scheme mentioned for the 2011/12 season, does anyone know if they have been happy with it?

  4. Albert Ross says:

    @Paul Eke – regarding the way it’s run at Hartlepool – well, it’s boosted the crowd figures, and presumably that’s also increased figures for food sales, programme sales etc. The situation is though that our owners have consistently covered our losses for many years now, and presumably had done their sums to cover any additional shortfall. IOR (the owners) have been around for more than a decade, and while the reasons why they keep putting into the club are a bit of a mystery (smart money is that they get a tax break for owning a loss-making company, plus a bit or Rich man’s Plaything), their track record means there’s not many concerns about them covering the loss.

    Where it’s different for Stockport is that there doesn’t seem to be any way of covering any shortfall. So they have to effectively make the guaranteed money from the season tickets last a full 12 months – £500-600K may sound like a lot, but when you think that’s an operating budget of £50K per month, you’re talking that even if it mostly went on the playing budget it’s a squad of about 20 full-time pros on about £500 a week average. By the sounds of things, other matchday income is fairly minimal as much of it goes to the ground owners. You can do it if you’re running a very tight ship, but I doubt it would actually be enough for a title challenge in the Conference – you’d be hoping for some decent cup draws to bring in additional income to allow other players to be brought in etc., or alternatively you’d be operating at a loss – which is partly how so many clubs end up in difficulties…..

  1. May 5, 2012

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