Our debts would potentially have taken the club under, says Crowborough Athletic chairman Clive Maynard

Tuesday 02nd July 2019

CROWBOROUGH ATHLETIC chairman Clive Maynard says it was not the easiest season in financial terms but there are better times ahead for the club.

Mr Maynard published a statement on the club’s website www.crowboroughathletic.com as he prepares for the new Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division season.

“Not the easiest year, better teams ahead though,” he started his statement.

“A year that was always going to be difficult and that is exactly how it has turned out to be.

“The aims for the year were stabilisation, clearing the decks as far as the last two years were concerned and building the foundations to go forward with a business model that gives the club a sustainable future.

“Financially, we were not in a good place a year ago and there have been further ups and downs in the last year.

“People and process are critical to any organisation and as a club, we were extremely fortunate to bring on board Suzanne and Stuart Dixon. Without their efforts I am sure we wouldn’t be in the position we are today.

“Suzanne and Stuart worked so hard to ensure that the Junior subscriptions were collected which was essential to the club’s survival. Suzanne has worked tirelessly to give us far better control of the club’s finances.

“Knowing where we stand financially gives everyone associated within the club the transparency to see that bills are paid on time and allows us to invest whatever small surplus we have into maintenance and equipment.

“Just 10 days ago we reached agreement with the Architects. As things progressed it became clear that failure to settle the debt, which the club still vehemently denies it sanctioned the work which led to the debt, would potentially have taken the club under.

“A plan was developed and executed and we have now settled the claim. This is not reflected in the 2018/19 accounts, however, it is important that I share with you the fact that a large majority of the settlement was funded via donations. So mission nearly accomplished, the final payment of the settlement will be paid on the 25th July 2019.

“Convert the money invested in the club by myself to a loan - this has now been agreed by the executive. The loan will be interest free with repayments to start once the Crowborough Town Council loan has been repaid. The monthly repayments will be equal to that paid to Crowborough Town Council - mission accomplished.

“For the club to become self-sufficient it was essential that we resolved the issue with Crowborough Town Council with regard to usage of the clubhouse, this issue has now been resolved with the allowed usage minuted by the Council in their May Meeting.

“We can now implement our plans for music nights and actively advertise the clubhouse as a party venue. In my mind we can double the bar take over the next 18 months.

“An aggressive target given that the fact that the bar take doubled last year thanks to all the hard work put in by our bar manager - so mission accomplished and a plan in place bar wise.

“The here and now is all well and good but the club has to have a clear vision for the future. The Executive spent some time putting together a wish list which will be turned into a 10-year plan.

“The wish list is extensive and over the coming year we will be sharing this with you. We will also be holding some brainstorming sessions so that all interested parties can have input into the plan.

“One thing on the wish list has been achieved. At the start of last season it became obvious that some young adult players are not quite ready for senior football at our first team’s level, not because they lacked technical ability, but because they were not physically quite strong enough yet.

“The Executive are delighted to announce that we have re-introduced an U23/reserves team. The club is delighted to welcome Barrie Pickett and his coaching team to Crowborough Athletic, opportunities to secure a coaching team of this quality do not happen every day, which is why the Executive acted swiftly to secure their services once it became clear that they were going to become available.

“The U23 team has been accepted into the Suburban League. Barrie Pickett, Trevor Weller and Sean Muggeridge have been working hard behind the scenes and have developed a strategy for both the U18’s and the U23’s. The U18 team will play in both the Isthmian South Youth and the Kent Youth Premier Leagues.

“Over the coming years we hope that this investment will feed through into a host of home grown talent for the first team.

“The club is delighted to announce the arrival of Jamie Leggett to the club. Jamie is working with the England six-a-side Socca Team presently and will be joining our senior side’s management team, he has also agreed to perform one coaching session per month with the Mini and Junior teams.

“Attracting Jamie to Crowborough Athletic is a tremendous coup for the club. With the U18 and U23 teams in place, the strengths that we already have, coupled with our ambition to build on the Mini and Junior teams, I see no reason why the future should be not be bright.

“I have also have been listening to our coaches and I am amazed that so many of the coaches plough their own money into equipment for the teams. I thank each and everyone of them for doing this but moving forward we have to evolve to make sure that the club provides the coaches with everything they need.

“For those of you that follow my ramblings on-line you will have heard me waxing lyrical about the excellent job that the first team management team, led by Sean Muggeridge, performed all of last season with the senior side.

“Starting the season with just two of the previous seasons squad, the initial signs were to say the least not encouraging. We stabilised and moved forward and finished the season 13th in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division.

“Maintaining our Step Five status at first team level is of paramount importance.

“A football club cannot survive without excellent facilities and our first team pitch is an area where we continue to invest. The first team pitch last season hosted games at U13, U14, U16 and U18 age groups and obviously the first team.

“Last year the first team did not lose a single game to the weather. On behalf of everyone I would like to thank and congratulate our groundsman Nick Collick, for all his hard work and turning our pitch into one of the best in the league.

The club has several vacancies which we are looking to fill, some at Executive Committee level and some that do not necessarily need to be at that level. We have ambitious plans to build a sustainable future for the club which does mean we need help from the many to ensure that plans are turned into reality.

“To summarise then, a successful year, we have a platform to build upon, for the first time in a few years we are masters of our own destiny. Should we fail, which we won’t, it will be together, if we succeed it will be together. Every player, every parent, every member, every coach and every committee member is an ambassador for this great club, let us go out into the community with confidence and tell our colleagues, friends and family all of the good things that are happening here at Crowborough Athletic FC.

“We have started a new journey, a journey that will make the club stronger. A journey for the many not the few, regardless of ability. A journey that places our club into the wider community of this town. A journey where together we will achieve.”

Visit Crowborough Athletic’s website: www.crowboroughathletic.com