Shrewsbury Town FC vows not to borrow to secure future

Shrewsbury Town FC today vowed not to borrow to secure the future of the club after meeting £285,000 losses from cash reserves.

Roland Wycherley, chairman of Shrewsbury Town Football Club.
Roland Wycherley, chairman of Shrewsbury Town Football Club.

]Full accounts revealed today outline the club's full financial performance in its relegation season.

Chief executive Matt Williams announced the loss at the club's annual meeting last week.

Today it was revealed that, as the club dropped out of League One, turnover declined by 1.4 per cent to £3.77 million on the back of lower attendances and a decline in income from season ticket sales.

Now, however, the club is on the verge of bouncing back into the third tier and Town could be promoted as soon as tomorrow.

He said: "Losses of £285,000 were incurred this campaign. The board believes relegation was clearly not a direct result of under investment in the playing squad, which has been suggested.

"Having achieved our highest league position in 23 years the previous year, relegation came as a bitter disappointment.

"We are all fully aware that the current losses are not sustainable without an increase in attendance, cup runs or player sales, for the time being, however the losses continue to be funded from reserves. However these reserves are diminishing year on year."

He added: "Despite the previous season's league placing, our average attendance dropped by three per cent to 5,581 which is the lowest average since the 2009/10 season. This was despite having attractive local fixtures against Wolves, Walsall and Port Vale. We are mindful that supporters want to see attractive, winning football and as our relegation illustrates we did not provide such.

"If you take this and the general state of the economy into account, it is understandable why attendances have dipped."

Mr Wycherley said: "We decided to take a step back, seek some perspective, analyse the campaign that resulted in failure, look for any positives and learn from the mistakes. But we needed to produce a plan to ensure the club moves forward both on and off the pitch for the next few years.

"The board fully shares the expectations of our supporters in aspiring to become a Championship club, and we believe with the changes we have made will see us begin to realise our potential and develop and maximise our revenue streams.

"Bringing further financial resources to the club remains a priority, and we are actively seeking investments from outside but our future is not just about on-field success and investment from individuals. "We wish to thank all of the staff working on behalf of the club, as employees or volunteers.

The total loss of £285,253 was lower than the £383,499 recorded in 2013, and was once again funded from the club's cash reserves.

It now has just over £1 million of cash at the bank and in hand, and total shareholder funds including all assets of just over £12.3 million.

Chairman Roland Wycherley today warned that the club could not continue funding such losses indefinitely, warning that reserves were "diminishing year on year".

The club's average attendance declined by three per cent to 5,581 over the course of the season – the lowest average since the 2009/10 season. And it has fallen further in the current campaign, with 5,120 supporters on average filing through the gates despite a season which could end in promotion with a win against York City tomorrow.

Shrewsbury's wage bill for the year was cut slightly during the season, falling from £2.66 million to £2.44 million.

That figure includes an average of 35 players in the squad each month, as well as 23 administrative staff, 37 other staff – such as bar workers – and 77 stewards and security staff.

It spent a total of £40,000 on transfer fees in the period, which runs from July 1 2013 to June 30 last year.

Pre-paid season ticket sales declined from £459,515 to £383,750, the accounts also reveal.

Mr Williams has already indicated that he expects the club to return another loss for the current campaign, after an overhaul of the club structure last summer in response to relegation.

"We will lose a significant amount this season which was a decision taken by the board to try and get back to League One. We also now have a squad of players who are assets to the business," he added today.

"At the end of last season we had seven players under contract, the manager decided to mutually terminate two of the players and we sold Jon Taylor to Peterborough. The board, particularly the chairman Roland Wycherley, has supported myself and the manager in our attempt to ensure we are competitive on the field and make progress off the field."

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