We are running out of money as we don't have a pitch to play our home fixtures, says Tonbridge Angels chairman

Friday 28th February 2020

TONBRIDGE ANGELS chairman Dave Netherstreet has revealed the club is running out of money due to the number of postponed games at Longmead Stadium this year and needs £60,800 to get through the rest of the season.

The club have struggled to get games played due to the constant wet weather and are considering switching their Vanarama National League South games to their opponents’ ground, which will cost the club a vast amount of money in lost revenue.

“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,” Netherstreet said in a statement on the club website.

“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 requires a minimum of £7,600 per week to continue through to the end of the season, with eight 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.

“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:- 

  1. 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.
  2. 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,” added the chairman.

“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.”

Visit Tonbridge Angels’ website: www.tonbridgeangels.co.uk

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