Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

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portchat
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Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by portchat »

Below are the questions submitted by forum members and the responses from Ian Kyle (IK) and James Tedford (JT) yesterday.


1. Before the season started, the club asked supporters to 'sponsor a player'. Many supporters responded positively. After sponsorships were sold the sponsorship was then referred to as sponsoring the player's “home shirt” and sponsors were sought for the away shirt.

Will the club confirm that next year it will make the details of the sponsorship packages clearer?


IK: I think what we need to appreciate is that we are in an unprecedented time, so sponsorship packages that may have been available in pre-season have changed dramatically dependant on the need for the club to bring in whatever finances it can.

If at the beginning of our pre-season we would have had 3, 4, 5 large friendlies, it would have brought in lots of income, we haven’t, that was all taken away from us. Those streams of income were taken away so literally day to day we have been changing the ways we can bring income into the club to ensure survival.

Sponsor packages have changed because, A) we’ve come up with different ideas to bring money in and, B) we’ve lost sponsors along the way which has meant we’ve had to chop and change as we go.

We would like to be in a position where everything is far more clear next season and everything is, dare we say, “back to normal”


2. How long is Marcus Wood out for?


IK: He has the first operation on one eye next week and then it will take two weeks until the second eye can be done. In the meantime, he is keeping fit, he’s running, he’s doing what he can.

Once the two eyes are done hopefully then he will get a clean bill of health and we can get him back.

He is involved, he’s coming to the games, he’s keeping in touch with all the lads, he’s doing what he can with Danny to keep fit.

3. Will the club be looking to bring in any cover for Marcus and a replacement for Jack Sampson?

IK: Liam and I talk all the time about players that are available, players that we need, not just as cover for Marcus or cover for Jack, we have been looking at more cover for central midfield anyway and we’ve been looking at 2 or 3 forwards for a couple of weeks but we move on those as we need them and when the right player does become available.

We’ve got 2 scouts visiting at least a couple of games every week, Liam’s here there and everywhere, James went with Liam the other night to Chester.

It’s very much as the right player becomes available who is able and more importantly who Liam thinks will fit in because that’s very important to Liam.


4. Is COVID and the associated financial uncertainty the reason for us having a relatively small squad?


IK: No. We’ve got a relatively small squad because Liam wants a relatively small squad and I completely agree that we are far better with a happy group of good players rather than a large squad of cheaper players.

Finance will always play a role COVID hasn’t had any affect whatsoever on the size of the squad though.


5. What has been the uptake on the streaming to date?


JT: Just to clarify some points I saw made this morning, Rob (Urwin) did an interview with the streaming company and he said there was over 1000 for Hereford, that was including season ticket holders not just paid subscriptions.

Across the 4 games we have streamed live so far there has been 822 subscriptions. For those who want to get their calculators out there have been 521 between the 2 league games which were charged at £9.99 and the rest were at £7.99 but there was obviously a split in those purchases between Morpeth and South Shields because it was the FA Cup.

6. In light of the Football league and Premier League clubs allowing corporate guests in to watch matches for a fee in the clubhouse, is this something the club will look to do? (Once the local Tier 3 restrictions have been lifted)

JT: Initially this was something that we wanted to do and we actually advertised it, there was a doubt which came from the National League Board that, given that the government were funding us to continue playing, it was a slap in the face of their guidelines.

Some clubs have continued to do it, we’ve opted not to. Given that we are now in Tier 3 there are also some bars in the town which have been closed down because they don’t have a kitchen to serve food from, we don’t either, so therefore we couldn’t allow fans in to watch the games.

If things change in the future and we can have fans in, then of course want to be as commercially viable as possible.


7. When COVID is eventually in the past, will the Club continue to arrange away supporters Coach travel? Is there any possibility of getting a deal with the players’ coach company?

JT: When I organised the very first game, I think it was Leamington, I went to Anthony’s Travel, that was my first port of call. They don’t specialise in standard coach travel, they specialise in club class, tables, the fancy chairs, tvs etc so they actually put us onto a couple of local companies which we did approach.

Once fans can start travelling again it’s definitely something we will look at, whether we get into partnership with a company or get someone else to run it for us but as many fans that can get to away games the better.


8. If a traditional “big coach” is no longer viable, will the club look at other potential away travel provisions and be open to explore fans suggestions for alternatives?

JT: Going back to the Leamington game, it was a 16-seater minibus we put on, we got the maximum capacity of who could travel and we then sorted a bus for that number.

IK: One thing that we have got is time. We’ve got time to talk to yourselves, talk to TIY, talk to everyone, at the end of the day we want fans home and away. Its good for the club, its good for the players. We’ve got time now, unfortunately, to sort that out and look at all the options.


9. Would the club consider continuing with the live stream for overseas based exiles after the virus has been contained, and fans are allowed back in the ground?


JT: Yes, I touched on this in the interview with Rob last week.

We would if it’s financially viable. When fans are allowed back in the media teams attention will turn back to the live updates that they do, they may not be able to film and do commentary for the live stream but if its viable and there is enough people who want to sign up for it then by all means.

Going back to the sponsorship and what Ian’s spoken about, if we can sell something we will as long as its viable to the club.


10. There has been a lot of talk recently about restructuring the leagues above us. How do you think structure changes of the nature suggested would affect the non-league pyramid?

IK: They have been talking about a European Super League since I was in school 25 years ago! So for us to hypothesise about what might or might not happen and how it would affect clubs lower down the league, to be fair I think most clubs have got enough issues with everything going on at the moment.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and we’re not getting the details from the National League as to how to deal with the pandemic so I think worrying about details as to how to deal with things that might or might not happen is not a major concern.


11. Is the club still training at JMO and if they are, is that the plan for the foreseeable future?


IK: We are at the moment. We have irons in the fire with regards to what we are doing in the future. We’ve got exciting plans on the go at the moment, we are in talks with 2 or 3 organisations as to potential paths the club can go down in the future so yes, we are at the moment, will we be there forever? no.

12. Following the success of the floodlight ram fundraising appeal, is there any appetite to set up any further fundraising projects in the future? If this is the case, would the club consider projects being laid out in a poll and voted for by the supporters?


IK: We don’t want to be in a situation like other local clubs that I can think of where we are going week in week out with the begging bowl from the fans.

It diminishes what we are trying to build as a community club that is there for the community. If we can avoid it, we will.

It’s a difficult time for individuals as well as the club and the last thing we want to be doing is putting the ownness on anyone to be financing different projects every week. There may occasionally be the odd project that comes up but wed rather keep that to the very minimum, as, and when.

13. Are you able to disclose the details of the fee received for Jack Sampson?

IK: No. Both clubs have agreed that it’s an undisclosed fee.

Fylde will probably have their own reasons as to why they want it to remain undisclosed and we’ve got to stand by that. If that’s what they have requested then that’s what we do.

14. Harry and Leighton did an amazing job of raising £2500 for the club, what are those funds being earmarked to be used for?

JT: We are currently discussing that with Harry and Leighton at the moment, something tangible that their name can go towards and hopefully for the many years that they come here they can see it.

One thing that we are looking at is when the stadium was redeveloped, the players tunnel and changing rooms weren’t actually touched other than a bit of paint, so we are potentially looking at doing some work there, but the discussions are only just beginning with Harry and Leighton on it being something they want to put their name towards.


15. With the club receiving funding via the government/National Lottery to replace lost gate revenue and based on the massive numbers who tuned in to watch the second half of the Hereford match free on YouTube, would the club consider now making the stream free to potentially reach and engage a wider audience who could in turn become fans of the club?

JT: No would be my initial reply. We actually got our wrists slapped for putting the game out free of charge by the National League.

We had issues that night so we got it out, a lot of people could watch the game, but some couldn’t, so we made sure we got it out free to air.

Yes, it would be great if we had 7000 people paying every single week but that’s simply not the case. By putting it out for free it almost devalues the season ticket and I think if it was a free stream we’d have 350 asking for their season ticket money back as opposed to where we are at now so its just simply not an option to put it out there for free.

16. Will the club be holding an AGM? (COVID permitting)

IK: No. Legally we don’t have to and there is very little benefit to holding an AGM in any event.

As you know we work one year behind with the accounts so if we held an AGM it would be on the back of accounts which had been managed by Phil and Natalie so, as to the benefit of an AGM, we would have difficulty answering questions as to what happened with those finances.

James and I have put hundreds of hours over the last 12 months or so with a lot of input from Liam as to reducing expenses at the club, probably by at lease half a million pounds, and it’s that work which I think has put us in good stead with what’s happening at the moment and making sure the club survives.

So essentially, we will continue as we are, doing what we are doing. Whether we do hold an AGM in the future that is a decision we can make in the future.


17. Will the club be providing shareholders with copies of the club accounts?

IK: The accounts are always submitted to Companies House and everyone gets access to the accounts on Companies House.

JT: If shareholders want the PDF of the accounts sending over, drop me an email with your full details, name and full address, so we can confirm you are a shareholder and we will send them over.

IK: Nothing is hidden, its just been hard work to get where we are. If we wanted to discuss the accounts and how we have managed to get the debt under control and get us into the good position that we are in at the minute, that would probably be another couple of hours of conversation and that’s a conversation we are happy to have with anyone who wanted to know. Get in touch with us, we are happy to have that conversation.


18. The club seemed to be at the forefront of the charge to secure a funding package from the Government/National Lottery, is there any indication as to what will happen in January when that funding ceases?


JT: We understand the National League are in discussions with the FA and the National Lottery to continue that on until March. The only upsetting part about that is that then looks like fans potentially wont be returning here at all this season, but I guess it’s a case of can we continue to play football, so I’m certainly hoping that announcement will be coming soon and they look to continue that sponsorship into March.

It would seem strange that they would support us up until December and then leave us hanging for the next three months with no support.


19. Are there any plans to update the livery on the Arriva Bus which currently advertises the club around the town?

JT: Going back to where we used to waste a lot of money and that is a primary example.

There was no marketing strategy behind it, there was no way to record how many fans used to use the service to come to the game, one of the players who is on it has gone. Sophie for the Women’s Team is still here but I think everything else currently on it is out of date.

For me, and I wasn’t here at the time, I think Ian will agree it was a massive waste of money just to get the clubs name into the town.

IK: It was also something which Arriva approached us about, we never went to Arriva and said “can we put Dion’s face on a bus” They came to us with a view to utilising that to look into the possibility of fans coaches and to do more work with the club, and that never materialised.


20. Is the club planning to have more Women’s games at the Pure Stadium once the restrictions are lifted and the Women’s matches are allowed to resume?

IK: We have impressed upon Noel for the last 12 months or so now just how important we see the women’s team and how we want them to be more involved in the club.

James and I have sought at every opportunity to involve the women’s team and players in events here and anything we have going on at the club.

We’ve looked to Noel to get them more involved with things like articles in the programme we’ve said a weekly update in the programme as to how they are going subject for them being allowed to play, player profiles etc. We see that as a really important part of the way forwards for the club.

In addition to the youth teams and everything we have going on in the community like the walking football, the women’s team is right up there and again circumstances allowing, the pitch hopefully has the ability to withstand more games, we haven’t got Everton women’s team here so certainly. We’d like to see Noel and the women’s team coming to us, pushing us to let them, because we can then negotiate more how we get things from them and bring them into even more like feeling like part of the club.

JT: Its not just the women’s team, we are keen to get all the teams playing here, our 7’s 8’s 9’s and 10’s had a tournament pre-season and the women have already played a game here.

You can see yourself just how involved we are with the junior sections during the week with the community camp, there’s about 6 or 7 kids attending that who play for our teams who are running about with the sponsored kits on and the first team kit on, and that’s something we have never had before.

We are the biggest club in the borough, and I think we gave, up until this season, the least. The way that we let ourselves down at the moment is they don’t have a home to go to and that’s been alluded to earlier as to be the next thing that we are looking at.
portchat
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by portchat »

I want to say thank you to Ian and James for their time and for how openly they discussed the answers to the questions provided.

I, as you all know, am a big fan of communication and transparency between clubs and their supporters and think we are pretty lucky to have a club which is keen to engage with us as a fanbase.

I look at the vast majority of other clubs which are completely closed shops when it comes to communication, and am personally pretty pleased that our own club has made such progress with this recently.
tonyhey
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by tonyhey »

Thanks Nic, some really good questions, honestly answered by Ian and James, well done.
yellow mountain
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by yellow mountain »

Excellent. Thank you to all who organised,contributed, and answered the questions.
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Ralphy Rylance
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Ralphy Rylance »

I continually get the impression that the club is in very safe hands with Ian and James. That would be reassuring at anytime but is particularly so during the current climate.
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Big Mac 1985
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Big Mac 1985 »

Good work, Nic
Redrobe fan
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Redrobe fan »

Well, I appreciate the efforts of all concerned in submitting and answering the questions, but with regard to question 1, IK has completely missed or avoided the point.
As for the AGM, it’s not supposed to be directly for the benefit of the company but for the benefit of the shareholders and to contribute to the accountability of the Board to the shareholders.
Paulisi
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Paulisi »

I'm surprised at the low numbers of paid streaming.
Is the demand not there? Especially for the away supporters
YTT
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by YTT »

Redrobe fan wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:41 pm Well, I appreciate the efforts of all concerned in submitting and answering the questions, but with regard to question 1, IK has completely missed or avoided the point.
As for the AGM, it’s not supposed to be directly for the benefit of the company but for the benefit of the shareholders and to contribute to the accountability of the Board to the shareholders.
I agree with you on both points. If the club were going to change the sponsorship packages those who had been good enough to support should have been advised and offered an explanation. Not sure the lost revenue from pre-season games and loss of sponsorship (wonder to what level) is the reason why and just missed a trick first time round would have covered it.

Your second point on the AGM i may be reading too much into it but it went a step further and almost seemed like an attempt from IK to remove himself from responsibility for the Phil and Nat period. I think those accounts will tell their own story but IK was one of a number of directors for the period concerned and all had fiscal duties and responsibilities. We all know we wasted a great deal of cash but you can't apply plausible deniability.

Catch 22 with this style of questioning and to a degree i accept the club can't win but given the questions were presented in advance the above answers jumped out at me as not IK's usual style.
YTT
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by YTT »

Paulisi wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:46 pm I'm surprised at the low numbers of paid streaming.
Is the demand not there? Especially for the away supporters
The PPV model just doesn't stack up commercially for reasons that have been debated on here previously. Not even at Premier League level if you charge £14.99 and pee everyone off. Some of the games in the top flight have had less than a thousand subscribers. What chance do little Southport have with some of the natural limitations in play in terms of the actual service provision possible and opposition supporters bases that vary between 300 to circa 3000.

The longer term concern for me is how many supporters are we going to lose? A lost generation and an older generation who may not return when they can. Be interesting to see if Lockdown sees an upturn in viewing figures as people have less on offer to occupy their time. That's assuming football continues at our level.
Swad Deutsche Port
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Swad Deutsche Port »

And a big round of applause for the excellent fundraising efforts of Harry and Leighton. Well done lads, proud of your efforts.
bnek
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by bnek »

Paulisi wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:46 pm I'm surprised at the low numbers of paid streaming.
Is the demand not there? Especially for the away supporters
Personally for me it's very hard to feel 'excited' about football in general. Yes, it's ongoing but even watching let's say a Premier League game its just a bit meh.

For me watching Southport is the whole experience of going to the ground, talking to those sat around me. Right now, sitting on my laptop in my front room just doesn't tempt me to part with my money.
Port on the Kent
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Port on the Kent »

bnek wrote: Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:03 am
Paulisi wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:46 pm I'm surprised at the low numbers of paid streaming.
Is the demand not there? Especially for the away supporters
Personally for me it's very hard to feel 'excited' about football in general. Yes, it's ongoing but even watching let's say a Premier League game its just a bit meh.

For me watching Southport is the whole experience of going to the ground, talking to those sat around me. Right now, sitting on my laptop in my front room just doesn't tempt me to part with my money.
Agree with this, I have found the current context has diminished my interest. I have watched two games online and whilst it was alright, I don't get enthused by it in the same way.

I see we are down to play Kettering tonight apparently, that totally passed me by and I've got no idea who is coming up. Normally I would be able to recite our next six fixtures at least.

It's easy in hindsight but I wonder if the authorities had known there would be no fans all season back in September, whether they would have bothered to put the season on.
phgtwo
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by phgtwo »

Port on the Kent wrote: Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:55 pm
bnek wrote: Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:03 am
Paulisi wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:46 pm I'm surprised at the low numbers of paid streaming.
Is the demand not there? Especially for the away supporters
Personally for me it's very hard to feel 'excited' about football in general. Yes, it's ongoing but even watching let's say a Premier League game its just a bit meh.

For me watching Southport is the whole experience of going to the ground, talking to those sat around me. Right now, sitting on my laptop in my front room just doesn't tempt me to part with my money.
Agree with this, I have found the current context has diminished my interest. I have watched two games online and whilst it was alright, I don't get enthused by it in the same way.

These comments beg me to ask the question " Are you supporters of Southport FC or spectators? ".
In order to survive in these troubled times ,the club needs as much revenue from whoever & wherever it can is a fact. Do you want to jeopardise the club's survival chances because it's not the same experience as it was pre-pandemic, I certainly don't.
I have a membership, the money goes straight out of the bank so I don't notice it and I also make donations to the club of the money I would have spent if I was actually attending a game ( c£15-20 ) and that I do notice as I have to pay it out myself.
By doing this, I feel good that I am being a supporter.

As for the games so far, definitely not the same but to quote LW " It is what it is " and to quote my partner "Why are you shouting at the telly".

COYY
Formula Port
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Formula Port »

phgtwo wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:56 am
Port on the Kent wrote: Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:55 pm
bnek wrote: Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:03 am

Personally for me it's very hard to feel 'excited' about football in general. Yes, it's ongoing but even watching let's say a Premier League game its just a bit meh.

For me watching Southport is the whole experience of going to the ground, talking to those sat around me. Right now, sitting on my laptop in my front room just doesn't tempt me to part with my money.
Agree with this, I have found the current context has diminished my interest. I have watched two games online and whilst it was alright, I don't get enthused by it in the same way.

These comments beg me to ask the question " Are you supporters of Southport FC or spectators? ".
In order to survive in these troubled times ,the club needs as much revenue from whoever & wherever it can is a fact. Do you want to jeopardise the club's survival chances because it's not the same experience as it was pre-pandemic, I certainly don't.
I have a membership, the money goes straight out of the bank so I don't notice it and I also make donations to the club of the money I would have spent if I was actually attending a game ( c£15-20 ) and that I do notice as I have to pay it out myself.
By doing this, I feel good that I am being a supporter.

As for the games so far, definitely not the same but to quote LW " It is what it is " and to quote my partner "Why are you shouting at the telly".

COYY
“By doing this, I feel good that I am being a supporter.”

You just summed it up in your own comment. It makes YOU feel good. Some people don’t need to do these things for self importance.
Port on the Kent
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Port on the Kent »

phgtwo wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:56 am
Port on the Kent wrote: Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:55 pm
bnek wrote: Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:03 am

Personally for me it's very hard to feel 'excited' about football in general. Yes, it's ongoing but even watching let's say a Premier League game its just a bit meh.

For me watching Southport is the whole experience of going to the ground, talking to those sat around me. Right now, sitting on my laptop in my front room just doesn't tempt me to part with my money.
Agree with this, I have found the current context has diminished my interest. I have watched two games online and whilst it was alright, I don't get enthused by it in the same way.

These comments beg me to ask the question " Are you supporters of Southport FC or spectators? ".
In order to survive in these troubled times ,the club needs as much revenue from whoever & wherever it can is a fact. Do you want to jeopardise the club's survival chances because it's not the same experience as it was pre-pandemic, I certainly don't.
I don't think questioning the commitment of other supporters is a productive move. There are few enough as it is, without childish "my membership is bigger than yours" antics.

I will not apologise for stating that not being able to watch the football takes away from the experience of watching football.
Exiled Port Fan
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Re: Meeting 31/10/2020 - Responses to questions

Post by Exiled Port Fan »

As a long term exile, it has been tough to make many games at times, plus I am spectacularly bad at seeing us win, Boreham Wood under Andy Bishop, two goals from Rutherford was my last time to see us win! It is easy to feel disconnected, and it probably made a huge difference to me finding Port Chat by accident at my first term at University. Before I went to University, I'd easily see 25 games a season, since then I think 15 was my best when I lived in Leeds. Living in the south especially since we were relegated makes life really tricky to make matches with regularity (and a reason why I will always laud users such as SSE who make so many more games than me from southern locations!). I have enjoyed being able to watch the streams, but it IS different. There isn't the same buzz, the same feeling to getting to the ground. All I can offer to those struggling with that connection is that the perseverance now, will mean when we are allowed back, it will feel chuffing awesome.
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