To our fantastic supporters.
On behalf of the Chairman, Board of Directors and everyone at Shrewsbury Town FC, I hope this letter finds you and your families safe and well as the world continues to fight this horrendous disease.
These past few months have proved to be an uncertain and worrying time for everyone, not just in football but the wider world too.
Although we as a Club try and communicate with honesty as often as possible through video interviews etc to keep the supporters aware and up to date with the ever-changing situation we felt that this letter would be useful to clarify our position and to show transparency to all of our supporters at this difficult time.
We are unfortunately still in a position where we do not know what the outcome of the 2019/20 season will be, but as a football club, we are all of the belief that we should not play out the remainder of the season. First and foremost we have a duty of care as an employer to look after the health of our employees and we do not feel it is right to put them at risk by returning to training and playing at this critical time. However we also believe it would be financial suicide to continue because if you combine the cost of testing, loss of furlough and match day running costs etc with no income we are looking at a cost of around £500k+ to facilitate the remaining Sky Bet League One matches.
The impact that this pandemic could have on the club from a financial perspective going forward could be concerning, even for a club like our own despite having one of the best financial positions within the EFL. we do have real worries that there could be some catastrophic consequences for some EFL Clubs.
We are trying to look ahead and budget for next season but with no clarity on the potential start date as well as when crowds would be permitted back into stadia this is proving difficult. We also have to take into consideration our non-match day income, which has also been badly affected since March. As an example our Conference & Events income has been wiped out which is a very important source of income, 365 days of the year for the Club. The stark reality is there could be a potential loss of income of up to £2m if we have to play without crowds until January, which has been suggested by some, but not confirmed at present.
The worrying reality is such a loss of income could have a huge impact on our football club going forward, so be assured that we are doing everything we can to save and retain monies as much as possible as there remains so much uncertainty within the game and the wider world.
Over the past 24 years the Chairman has run the Club impeccably and this has put us in a far stronger position in order to cope with the issues caused by COVID19 that all Football Clubs are facing at present.
Since the start of the COVID19 outbreak we have tried to do the right thing morally by paying all staff and players 100% salaries with no wage deferrals etc unlike many other Clubs at our level and we have been aided by the government job retention (furlough) scheme with most of the staff at the Club furloughed but we have continued to operate with skeleton staff. The furlough scheme has been a great assistance to reduce our costs in the short term.
Our Academy has also been working tirelessly with skeleton staff to ensure over 100 of our young players are receiving as much education and fitness sessions as possible in very difficult conditions to help their football skills and knowledge flourish from their own home.
We would like to give a special mention to our Manager Sam Ricketts who has been outstanding during this period. He has gone above and beyond by giving up his time to speak to coaches within our Academy as well as calling some fans to celebrate milestone birthdays as well as some of our older fans who may be finding it hard to stay in contact with people during this time.
A massive thank you to over 1,200 season ticket holders who despite the current situation have renewed and supported the club, the monies have helped enormously at a time when we have little other income streams and has been vital to help us in the coming months ahead. The numbers are drastically down on this time last year but we can totally understand those who haven’t renewed with so much uncertainty in the world about employment etc.
Jamie Edwards and his team at our charity partner ‘Shrewsbury Town in the Community’ have been doing everything they can to keep our wonderful community together in a time where it has been harder than ever to do so and we are immensely proud of the work they have been doing in our local community despite the challenges.
They have adapted quickly to respond to the local challenges of COVID 19. This has included ensuring all of their existing vulnerable participants have regular communication and engagement. With no face to face delivery, staff have adapted quickly to ensure that local schools, care homes, disabled children and even those recovering with cancer continue to receive vital support.
They have worked in partnership to launch ‘Shrews Family’, which brings together as a club our response to the community that supports us. This has seen every season ticket holder over the age of 70 receive a phone call and those that in need have been offered extra support. A special thanks to Club Director Paul Delves, our Manager Sam Ricketts and club captain Dave Edwards on assisting with the phone calls. Over the coming days we will be delivering tailored isolation packs for those who will have a prolonged period in isolation.
We wish you all well, hope that you stay safe and continue to follow the guidelines so that we can all get back to normality as soon as possible.
Hopefully we will all see each other again, sooner rather than later!
Thank you for your fantastic support as always.
Chief Executive & Company Secretary
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