Chairman Trevor Bull's report from the AGM
At the end of my report last year I said “Let’s all stick together and see where it takes us”. We did stick together and for that reason we’ve made it to the next AGM.
This last year has been a difficult one for all sorts of reasons but I’m glad to say that we have survived it and our club remains in a good state of health. The season may have been expunged from the records but the year will live long in our memories.
First allow me to look back at “the season that never was”.
It’s fair to say that our season got off to a frustrating start back in August. After all the excitement of opening the new Adverset Stand, which I hope you agree has made a big improvement to the stadium.
We then had a brief flirtation with the FA Cup by beating our regular cup opponents Marske United after a replay and then being knocked out by Southport of the National League North. Our involvement in the Trophy didn’t even last that long as we were knocked out at the first hurdle by Atherton and the same applied in the League Cup when on an awful night we were heavily beaten by Dunston. Our league form continued to frustrate, as we drew our first six home fixtures and by October we’d only won the one league game, away at FC United.
At the end of October we started a run of six consecutive defeats which resulted in us making the decision to change our manager. I thanked John for his efforts and we looked for his successor.
We appointed Darren the following week and his first match in charge couldn’t have been a bigger one, with Whitby Town visiting the Flamingo Land Stadium. We won the game 2-1 with goals from James Walshaw and Connor Thompson and it felt like the good times could be on the way back.
Our league form continued to improve over the coming months with Wally back scoring regularly and some amazing goals from Ryan Watson’s right boot. In fact by the end of the season we were rightly one of the form teams in the league.
Our final league game was away at promotion chasing Basford United where we won 1-0 thanks to a first half goal from Wally and a last gasp wonder save from Tommy Taylor.
When the league season was stopped we were about to play Marske United in the semi final of the North Riding Senior Cup for a place in the final at The Riverside. A game that sadly we have subsequently lost.
No one wanted the season to end when it did, but we all understand why it had to. For us, like most football clubs across the country it presented us with a massive financial headache.
I’ve said many times that when times are hard you find out who your friends are. We have certainly found out that our football club has many friends, locally, nationally and around the world. With the help of our players, the Valley Bar Seadogs, the Supporters Club, individual contributions and support for our Virtual Matches, we, not for the first time saved our club.
In the past I’ve heard criticism of organisations that have not been seen to support us.
For the record I can inform you that we have also received substantial financial support from Scarborough Council and also a grant from the Premier League to help with the additional costs we’re incurring due to Covid.
Thank you to everyone that’s contributed towards what has been a massive and successful effort.
You will see from the accounts that as we stated last year, we set out to make a small profit and against all the odds we achieved it and financial control was the primary focus of your board for the entire year.
I must pay tribute to the work of Football Director Fred Firman, not particularly for the on field performance but his control of his football budget has been exemplary. With turnover down by £53k his control over our highest expenditure was essential and he managed to reduce it by £73k against the previous year.
Commercial income was down but we must remember that we lost vital fundraisers at the end of the season and Nick, Sarah and Del have worked tirelessly in a difficult market to maintain both high levels of income and sponsor engagement, and we are reaping the benefits this year.
Overall an end of year profit of £10k is very acceptable under the circumstances.
The hard work over the summer means that we are not in debt and we are not over committed going forward. Unlike some other clubs we took a prudent approach to the extended close season and we didn’t spend any of this season’s sponsorship, or season ticket income to keep us going.
This has been enabled by the many fundraising activities and particularly the tremendous uptake on the monthly Boro Draw, which has covered a large proportion of our fixed costs. All this means that we are able to fully control what we spend going forward and not put our club at risk.
Elsewhere around the club there is much to celebrate including the great work Paul Exley and his team have been doing at our football facility in Filey. On the back of much hard work making grant applications, pitch improvements are underway and Paul is rapidly creating a facility that will be the best in the area.
Also, locally, Steve Machen and his band of volunteers continue to make a difference in the community and have had a positive impact on many people’s lives over the last year. I’m sure this will continue, especially with our link up with Andy’s Man Club.
Sadly we have lost our Life Member and past President John Fawcett who passed away during lockdown. It was at this meeting last year that we made a presentation to John on his retirement as President and to thank him for his hard work on our behalf.
As well as his service to our club he was also a great servant to our predecessor Scarborough FC and one of his proudest moments was being Chairman when we beat Stafford Rangers at Wembley in 1976 to win the FA Trophy.
When the time is right his family are arranging a memorial service and we’ll announce the details once we have them.
This AGM marks the retirement of two of our directors.
Andy Crossland joined the board with myself in early 2017 and has been a great support in his role as compliance director, making sure we are correct in what we do and helping us keep within the boundaries that are set for a “fans owned club”.
Thank you Andy.
Nick Finch is also stepping down after 10 years in the role. It’s not just me; it’s all of us that need to thank Nick for his work over that decade of commitment to our club. It is fair to say that on more than one occasion that Nick has almost single handed, with his commercial activity saved our club. If anyone deserves a rest it’s Nick.
I can now announce that in recognition of his outstanding service to our club we have made Nick a “Life Member”. An honour that is richly deserved.
Thank you Nick.
So what of the future?
Again after having to listen to constant criticism over the last 12 months from supporters that believe they can run this club better than the current board, only one new person is standing for election. This means that as two are retiring the size of our board is reduced by one. The workload doesn’t get any less it just means that everyone has to work harder.
Quite honestly, if this trend continues, our clubs’ future will be in danger.
Over the next 12 months we will be looking for help in all areas of the club to bolster our committees and support your elected board with the day to day running of the club. Please don’t wait to be asked, if you think you can help please tell us.
When this season starts it will be very different for all of us, with limited crowds at the start, new rules in the ground and I’m sure frustration when people can’t attend the matches they would like to.
Mick Davison has done a great job making sure the Flamingo Land Stadium meets the Covid guidelines and is a safe place for supporters to watch football. He has also been responsible for setting up our ability to live stream games to enable supporters unable to attend matches to be able to watch them.
On the pitch the future is bright, in that we have a great manager in Darren Kelly who has put together his playing and coaching squad for the season with an eye on the top end of the table.
Off the pitch we have tight control over our finances and have come through the Covid pandemic pretty much unscathed to date. The support of the local business community through their sponsorship continues to be vital to our long term aims. Businesses have taken a big hit during this pandemic and I would urge you wherever you can to support those businesses that support us.
Finally I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters, our volunteers, our sponsors, our players, our staff, Jack and last but not least my fellow directors who have worked tirelessly all year and still are.
Thank you everyone.