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Board Draw Up Battle Plans

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 20/05/2002

TOWN Chairman Peter Furneaux emerged from a hastily-arranged board meeting at Blundell Park lasting most of the day to reveal the board's plans on how the club are to weather the latest financial crisis to befall the Mariners.

With a major source of income (55%) in the form of ITV Digital having dried up, and no prospect of a replacement coming along in the short term, Town's board have been forced to make drastic cuts in order for the club just to be able to survive.

The chairman revealed that Town's current income does not even cover the fourteen players still under contract with GTFC going into next season, and they therefore wish to "renegotiate" arrangements with their existing players.

The board are currently looking no further than survival and being able to fulfil Grimsby Town's fixtures next season. However, the prospect of administration, which this week Bradford found themselves in, was thankfully not on the agenda at today's meeting.

Town Chairman Peter Furneaux's statement to Mariners Net reads: "The Football League will not give clubs any indication about any potential new deal for the rights to show football on television, as they do not feel it is "commercially practical" to do so. Therefore we can only work on the presumption that there will be no such income for football clubs, and the League have advised us to seek independent advice.

"The Board has today taken professional advice at our meeting, and has listened carefully to the advice given. The bottom line is that no business can operate knowingly making a loss that cannot be made up. If something changes, and the TV rights are sold then we will make adjustments accordingly, but for now, we will be practical and realistic and will take a structured and reasonable approach to the club’s finances.

"We are only able to rely on the income that we know we will have, and therefore all aspects of the club will be looked at in an attempt to ensure that it survives the loss of 55% of its income, and goes forward. We must look to avoid a Bradford, York, and Lincoln situation, and indeed a situation which many clubs may well find themselves in.

"The Directors currently have £1m in loans in the club, and there is no question of them withdrawing those loans. They are fully committed to the club. The club also has the support of the bank, and one of the lowest overdrafts in the First Division. However, we have recognised the situation we are in, and we are identifying the areas that we must deal with.

"The facts are simple. Even the fourteen players who are currently contracted earn in excess of what the club can afford. Players contracts need to be renegotiated in order that more players can be brought in within the financial boundaries available and Grimsby Town can fulfil its fixtures next season. We are not discussing putting the club in administration. We are discussing ways to make sure that we stay in business."

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