Copy of Letter sent to Tonbridge Angels Owners
An honest assessment from the Chair of the club’s current plight
Below is a copy of a letter that was emailed to Angels Owners yesterday (27th February) evening. It is reproduced here so that all supporters and other stakeholders in the club can have a better understanding of the situation as it stands just now.
The meeting referred to in the letter is only open to Owners but of course you can apply to become an Owner for just £25.00 Annual subscription in advance of that meeting by contacting Ian Clear on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please if you can do come to our away game at Dulwich Hamlet tomorrow (29th February - only the third time in the club’s history we’ve played on this date) and show your support to the team at this time. It’s a really easy journey by train - SouthEastern from Tonbridge to London Bridge and Southern from London Bridge to East Dulwich. Turn left out of the station then left through the park and you’re there in about five minutes. Suitable train departs Tonbridge at 12:19 and with the change described above arrives East Dulwich at 13:28. Return at 17:23 gives an arrival into Tonbridge at 18:46. Easy!
PLEASE SUPPORT THE ANGELS !
I’ll come straight to the point. The club is in a serious financial position that at least rivals the three or four other crises the club has experienced during its 72 year history. Basically we are running out of money and as it stands we don’t have a home pitch for our fixtures. Pete Elves (Head Groundsman & Director)naturally enough is trying to be optimistic that things can be resolved at least in the short term but there is no guarantee of that and there is a real probability that we will have to complete all of our home fixtures at other grounds. Playing at ‘away’ grounds means that, whilst we keep the gate money, out of that we have to pay to use the host pitch and in all probability lose bar and catering revenue which of course will put a huge hole into our overall match day receipts.
The club requries a minimum of £7600 per week to continue through to the end of the season, with 8 weeks remaining. As already stated some home games are likely to be played at alternative venues albeit with sizeable reduction in our planned income.
During this 'drought' of reduced home income a limited number of benefactors have loaned the club with repayment terms that will have to be be met through income from the end of season events, such as Angelfest and the Garden Show. These incredible acts of generosity are drying up and we really need owners to step up to the plate if they can.
The club are committed to survival in this league which I would hope all our owners and fans support but If we cannot raise the required funds the only option left to us will be to make some cuts to playing staff which will no doubt jeopardise our survival ambitions.
Four years ago you voted to become a supporter owned club to avoid the risk of cash greedy directors walking in and taking over. Now, it is your opportunity collectively to come forward and save the club from going under. Some of you I know will have made one off donations, many of you buy Golden Goal tickets, 50/50 tickets, contribute to the 12th Man Fund and buy food and drink but the reality is that what we have to face financially that is only scratching at the surface.
Let me throw a few figures at you. With the lack of home games we need funds now to replace the reduced income from home games. We shall also need significant financial help to carry out major renovations to the pitch. Here you have two choices:-
- Carry out major repairs to the pitch including new drainage during this close season which we estimate would cost around £150,000 although some could be paid for through a grant.
- Carry out temporary drainage repairs during the close season but install an all weather pitch for season 2021/22 with estimated costs being £500,000 including new floodlights plus £15,000 for temporary drainage works to get us through season 2020/21. Again, a grant for some of the cost might well be available, perhaps a greater percentage, because it would be argued that an all weather pitch has wider benefits for the community
Of course a grant would not be available for both options, a grant would have to be for either option 1 or 2.
I appreciate that many of you will be very concerned at this news and will have in all probability a number of questions you may wish to raise with the Board. To that end an Owners Meeting has been arranged in the Executive Lounge for Thursday 5th March starting at 8:00pm prompt. If you can’t make it then please contact any board member with your thoughts on those two choices above.
At that meeting if there is an appetite to go for an all weather pitch then hopefully we would want to set up a working party reporting to the Board with information, recommendations and a plan to take the project forward.
My final message is that the club will survive with all your help and support, but please do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation.
Tonbridge Angels FC