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York City Knights chief funding bid for promotion
CHAIRMAN John Guildford insists York City Knights’ playing budget for 2014 will remain at “maximum” levels as they target an immediate return to the Kingstone Press Championship.
He has admitted turnover has fallen this year, which affects that budget, while attendance figures are the lowest they have been since the club re-formed.
However, Guildford, already in the process of rebuilding the squad, says recruitment funds will be unaffected by the costly court case against former boss Dave Woods. He has also confirmed season-ticket prices will be slashed and hopes measures being put in place will boost revenue.
Also, The Press understands there will be a chance of promotion next year – despite the league restructuring and rumours no team will be allowed to go up from Championship One.
It is thought the Championship One winners will either go straight up or be involved in a play-off with teams near the bottom of the Championship for the 12th place in the new-look second tier.
Guildford has written comprehensive matchday programme notes for tomorrow’s final game of the season at home to Batley.
In them, he covers financial issues from Rugby Football League funding cuts, to lottery revenue, squad builder money, sponsorship, the Woods court case and the recent share issue.
He has stressed the playing budget will remain at around 40 per cent of turnover, the most allowed under salary cap rules.
He also says anyone with an interest in the club must “stick together” to ensure a brighter future, and has asked fans to help maximise turnover by promoting the club’s lottery scheme – currently the worst-supported in the league – or by bringing friends to games and suggesting sponsorship opportunities.
The Press understands the club’s annual turnover is generally between £370,000 and £450,000 but is down this year, due to the economic climate and the fall in attendances across the league. Guildford says the club had the lowest budget in the division this year.
“I’m very aware our supporters who have backed us week in, week out aren’t happy (about relegation) and I fully understand why,” he wrote.
“But right now, it is important for us all to be on the same side and get behind the team.”
Current season ticket prices will be cut from £200 to £130 due to fewer games in Championship One. That price will still include a free replica shirt.
Anyone who has bought an early-bird season ticket for the Championship will be refunded the difference.
Additionally, matchday admission will be £14 next year with no supplement for seating.
Others prices are £11 for concessions, £5 for under-16s and free for U5s.
As regards the court case against Woods, Guildford wrote: “Everyone will have heard the media reports and the various amounts of legal fees the club had to pay.
“The facts are our own legal fees have been paid as we went along.
“Woods’ legal fees (which the Knights must pay) are still being disputed and are not anywhere near the amounts the media reported but are likely to be in the region of £20,000, and the club will budget for this to be paid when due.”
He has said that money will come out of savings elsewhere in the business – not the playing budget.
One such saving comes from the departure of general manager Ian Wilson with no replacement imminent.
Guildford said: “I have no intentions at all of taking it out of the playing budget. It would be a false economy.
“The aim is to have a winning team and to get out of Championship One as quickly as we can.”
Guildford also devotes a large section of his notes to the club’s prized community development department, for which the club no longer receive Sportsmatch or RFL funding.
He wrote: “We used to generate interest in schools each day and the family fun day would attract over 2,500 fans.
“The club now sees gate averages go down year on year.
“We are fully committed to it but it is more difficult as the club need to fund it ourselves.”
Guildford added: “One man on his own is not able to finance the club.
“I don’t have the resources to take the Knights to the next big step without help. I will continue to look for future investment.
“We need to keep positive even in these difficult times. Let’s stand shoulder to shoulder and give the club our full support.”
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