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Furneaux: We Will Survive (For a Year)

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 15/10/2002

TOWN Chairman Peter Furneaux in an interview with the Grimsby Telegraph has claimed that the Mariners have avoided the immediate spectre of administration, after nipping their financial problems in the bud during the summer with a series of drastic cost-cutting measures.

Furneaux claims that in stark contrast to some of the other First Division clubs, who now face financial ruin to the extent where they have no option but to enter into administration, Grimsby have "no immediate plans" to go down the same avenue as many of their more illustrious counterparts are heading or have already gone.

"Because of our history we recognised the problems before other clubs who were still handing out big contracts and living in cloud cuckoo land," the chairman told the Grimsby Telegraph.

"Because of what we did in the summer, there is no danger of us going into administration. We've seen the way forward and have planned for the next 12 months. That's as far as anybody looks in football.

Although Town still have debts of £4-million, Furneaux believes that by acting early the club's finances have been reined in to the extent where the board expect to reduce their overall losses on a year-on-year basis, despite having lost 55% of their income due to the collapse of ITV Digital during that time.

There are only so many cuts you can make before there's nothing left...

"We've just been trying to react to the problem for a long time and we've minimised it. There are only so many cuts you can make before there's nothing left."

The club's measures to cut costs involved:

  • slashing the wage bill by imposing a cut of up to 20 per cent for non-playing employees and coaches.
  • off-loading several players, with several more still rumoured to be under consideration, including key asset Danny Coyne, as exclusively revealed by The Fishy this week.
  • deferring bonus payments to last year's squad for avoiding relegation in 2001-2002 until December this year, and seeking help from the PFA to honour their debts to the players, several of whom have since departed.
  • introducing a strict salary cap for new signings, and avoiding paying any transfer fees for new players.

    By reviewing the costs of running the club from top to bottom, despite having to make some tough choices, Furneaux is keen to stress the club have to continue with their policy of parsimony to reduce costs still further and ensure Lincolnshire's premier beacon of sporting excellence continues to exist - for another year, at least.

    "The club is not on the brink of administration, but that doesn't mean that everything is okay. Everybody has to realise what would be lost if the club ceased to be.

    "What would Grimsby as a town lose if we didn't have a football club? It's a very real threat.

    "This adversity has brought people at the club together and now we appeal to the fans and local businesses to keep backing us.

    "We've got to get through this difficult time for football. The average crowd in the first division is 15,000, ours is 6,000.

    With everybody's help the club will survive...

    "With everybody's help the club will survive and anyone who wants to help us, including the council, should come forward and we'll be pleased to hear from them."

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