This is a great day for us as we can announce that we are debt free, says Folkestone chairman
Mr Pellatt, who issued a statement yesterday on www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk insists the Ryman League Division One South club will never make the same mistakes or getting into the same kind of financial problems.
He said: “We were hoping for good turnout against Hythe on Boxing Day, and it proved a terrific day for the club, both financially and on the park with us winning the game.
“And, in accordance with a pledge made by the club on the strength of a successful Christmas holiday fixture, we have made the final payment to the CVA, two months early.
“We are of course delighted to confirm that this has been done, and it has been confirmed by the administrator of the CVA who will now start the formalities to finalise it.
“I’ve said before now that at least 80 per cent – maybe more - of CVAs don’t see a positive result for the company or in our case the football club involved which makes what we the board, manager Neil Cugley, his players and you the fans have achieved all that more satisfying for every one of us who have been involved.”
The chairman continued: “For legal reasons we were unable to obtain a list of supporters who made donations to the CVA over these last five years but that has now been provided, and we will be writing to each and every one of you who had enough faith in what we were doing to support us in the way that you have.
“We cannot thank you enough.
“Your donations represent a substantial contribution over these last five years, without which we would have not been able to pay off the debt in this way.”
Looking back to the club’s understandably reluctant but retrospectively brave move to come to an agreement with its creditors – primarily HM Customs and Revenue, over claims which, even if to some extent disputed, the club could not afford to risk losing in Court, Mr Pellatt paid tribute to the directors at that time for their courage in taking the course that they did.
He said: “We must not forget the very generous donations made in February 2010, by (current directors) Bob Dix, Brian Merryman and (then chairman) Lynn Woods, who between them made the down payment on the CVA.
“Without that this whole arrangement would not have been possible and Folkestone Invicta Football Club would almost certainly not have survived.”
With the creditors’ agreement now paid off, the chairman had a word of advice for all those among the supporters who have enabled that to come about.
He said: “If you are one of those who have donated and are reading this please now cancel the standing order to the CVA account, although any overpayments will be not be lost.
“We will be discussing with the administrator when and if we might be able to start issuing shares against supporters’ donations but we cannot make any kind of promises on that at the present time.”
After getting to brink of elevation to the Ryman Premier Division through the play-offs twice in the last couple of years, the club’s stated aim has always been to rid themselves of the CVA debt and then to reach the promotion- deciding finale to the season once again.
But, while most of the club’s facilities more than pass muster there are a number of improvements needing to be made.
Mr Pellatt continued: “While the payments to the CVA have now come to an end, we must now raise a five figure sum by March 31 to completely tarmac the walkways around the playing area.
“If we are honest, this has been badly needed for some time, but we must also do this work to meet ground-grading requirements.
“So if anyone who has been contributing to the CVA feels able to continue their donations, we will be very, very appreciative of your continued generosity and support.
“But you will need to amend your standing orders, to pay Folkestone Invicta FC Ltd, HSBC Bank; Sort Code: 40-21-15; Account Number: 81209264. “
Anyone who needs help in this respect should, contact the club who will email you a form.
He added: “Like many clubs are our level, Folkestone Invicta will always rely on donations, sponsorship, advertising and fundraising to survive.
“And though this is a great day for us as we can announce that we are debt free, we should all remember that (when signing a new five year lease just under a year ago) we were allowed a 12-month rent ‘holiday’ by Shepway District Council while we cleared the CVA.
“We very much appreciated that help from the Council, but we have to start paying rent on the ground and facilities in April and that, along with increased insurance premiums, adds up to more than the payments we were making under the CVA.
“Most importantly from the football club’s point of view, we want to start preparing for promotion when it eventually happens – which it will.
“And then even just survival at Ryman Premier level undoubtedly means increasing the playing budget.”
In conclusion Mr Pellatt said: “We are a football club, and we want to be able to give our excellent manager Neil Cugley the best support we possibly can.
“Without his patience and fortitude, and especially his understanding of the position the club was in, we would not be where we are today.
“It is testimony to the determination and spirit of everyone at our club that we have got through this.
The club suffered a further blow last Christmas when storm damage meant the loss of their main stand roof, meaning that 300 seats were moved to the Brian Merryman Stand on the opposite side of the pitch, while the main stand has been turned into an uncovered terrace.
Folkestone Invicta host their Kent rivals Whitstable Town at Cheriton Road on Saturday (3pm).
Visit Folkestone Invicta’s website: www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk