|CLUB MAKE FIRST PROFIT FOR 14 YEARS
(Monday 30th November 2015)
Figures revealed at the Trust AGM on Thursday 26th November 2015 show that Wycombe Wanderers Football Club will declare a profit for a season for the first time in 14 years when accounts are officially filed in the New Year. Abbreviated accounts show that the Club made a profit of £36,508 for the 2014/15 season compared to a loss of £245,924 the previous season.
The surplus is the first since a £150,000 profit was declared at the end of the FA Cup Semi-Final season of 2000/2001. Although not on the same scale as the FA Cup income in the 2000/2001 season, turnover for the 2014/15 season was boosted by around £300k from the run to the Play-Off Final at Wembley, with gate receipts for the season rising from £870K to around £1.2m (the highest since 2009/10), while broadcasting fees also rose from £50K to £102K (the highest since 2008/9. However, the profit for the 2014/15 campaign also came after taking into account a surplus of £543,000 from player transactions, compared to loss of £110,00 during the 2000/1 season. The majority of the profit on player sales for 2014/15 was made up from the sale of Paris Cowan-Hall to Millwall and Josh Scowen to Barnsley - both understood to be in the region of £200,000 each - the remainder of the surplus is thought to come from ongoing 'add-on fees' being received for the transfer of Jordon Ibe to Liverpool and former Youth Team 'keeper Alex McCarthy's sale from Reading to QPR in August 2014. The only player transaction in the opposite direction saw Wanderers pay an 'undisclosed compensation agreement' to Brentford for defender Aaron Pierre in June 2014. A breakdown of the figures is not provided in the Club accounts.
Opponents of the Wasps move to Adams Park will also be keen to point out that the profit comes following the Rugby club's departure from High Wycombe during the 2014/15 season. In none of the 12 complete season's that Wasps were tenants at Adams Park did Wanderers manage to show a profit. The ill-fated conversion to a PLC in June 2004 will also go down in the history books as a dark financial period for the Club with ten consecutive season's of loss making - adding up to a staggering £10m of losses, culminating in the Trust taking the Club over in May 2012.
Trust Chairman Trevor Stroud, addressing members in his opening speech, also revealed that the option to buy back the Club's Training Ground in Booker had been lost due to continued non-payment of rent by the Trust's sister company, Frank Adams Legacy Limited (FALL). The Trust sold the Training Ground in April 2013 for £350,000 to a then anonymous group of supporters. Land Registry records updated in April 2014 have since revealed that the Registered Owners are: former Club Chairman Ivor Beeks, Sandra Kane (wife of former Club Director Brian Kane) and Camberwick Properties Limited.
Rental for the Training Ground was set at £30,000, to be paid monthly by FALL - the company that own the physical assests of the Trust, including Adams Park, plus its major debts. FALL charge the Football Club £105,000 per season for the use of Adams Park. It's understood that FALL have been defaulting on their monthly payments for the use of the Training Ground since around May 2014 and the situation came to a head in August 2015 following a reminder of the contractual implications of failing to pay rent for three consecutive months.
The situation has called into question the transparecey being given to members of seemingly significant financial aspects of the Club. The Trust's Community Share Scheme, which has raised close to £700,000 to date, was promoted back at a General Meeting on 10 June 2014 on the back of an example benefit of 'Possible re-purchase of Training Ground'. It now appears that option is no longer possible although Trust officials at the AGM, along with Football Club Chairman Andrew Howard, have suggested that the Training Ground lease terms have now been re-negotiated, along with an option to share in a percentage of profit should the Training Ground be sold.
Explantions given at the AGM suggest that payments for use of the Training Ground will now be paid for directly by Wycombe Wanderers Football Club. Howard also continued to talk of his vision to consolidate facilities to Adams Park, including the installation of a '4G' playing surface - thus making the need for a remote training facility redundant. Howard went on to say: "We will need to pay down more of our existing debts before making such an investment and we will give members a vote on this. There is an opportunity to do something unique here and be a club that is owned and sustained by the fans and the local community using facilities every day of the week, with the players also training on site." However, such a move to install a 4G pitch at Adams Park would still be dependant on legislation being passed by the Football League or the equivalent governing body for the competition that Wanderers are playing in.
Meanwhile, the result of the election to fill three seats on the 11-person WW Trust Board of Directors were as follows:
John Bignell - 163 (elected)
Mark Bowring - 40
Nigel Kingston - 137 (elected)
David Roberton - 135
Will Schafer-Peek - 22
Trevor Stroud - 207 (elected)
All three elected were existing members of the Trust Board.
In a message to members since the AGM, Trust Secretary Colin Treacher has said: "We are committed to being open with the accounts of all three companies. If you have any questions when you have read them, or would like anything explained, Trust and Club director Mark Burrell and Group Treasurer Martyn Broughton will be in Scores/Monty’s from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday 9 December (this is later than the date mentioned at the AGM following feedback on the short notice). There won’t be a presentation – this is just an opportunity for you to drop-in between those times and talk to Mark and Martyn."
The presentation and available accounts relating to the AGM can be viewed and downloaded from the Trust website - www.wycombewandererstrust.com >>>
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