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AGM Report

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 22/12/2003

A packed AGM, boosted by the many additional shareholders Town's summer share issue has created, saw Michael Rouse and John Fenty unanimously re-elected to the GTFC Board.

With the formalities of approving the accounts and re-electing the board members swiftly concluded, the remainder of the AGM was spent in asking questions of the GTFC board and club officials, amongst whom were Manager Paul Groves, Assistant Manager Graham Rodger and Youth Team Coach Neil Woods.

The major talking point of the evening was inevitably finances, and the board's cost-cutting measures by which they have almost halved the costs of running the club over the last two seasons, were demonstrated by statistics from Peter Furneaux.

Some key points raised were that:

  • Town's gate receipts have remained almost constant over the last decade, as crowds have dropped in inverse proportion to the cost of match tickets. This season's gate receipts are projected to be the lowest since '92-93.
  • Only two of the three "parachute" payments from the three First Division clubs promoted to the top flight last season have been forthcoming, with Portsmouth being the only club to renege on their agreement to ease the financial burden of the three relegated clubs by £33K each.
  • The club were unlikely to offer any new contracts to players until near the end of the season, when they have more of an idea of their finances for the following year, even if this means possibly losing players in the meantime.
  • Chairman Peter Furneaux said the new ground was "never far from our thoughts", but admitted that there was "nothing we can state that is positive".
  • The club are willing for volunteers to help with maintaining Blundell Park in order to keep the ground functional whilst not impinging on the money available to Paul Groves for players. More details will be forthcoming later on this.
  • Neil Woods said in his view the current crop of Youth Players were the best he had seen in his time at the club, and Town will be hoping to hang onto the best of them, despite a number of agents and scouts sniffing around the pick of Town's youngsters.
  • There are still four players on pre-ITV Digital contracts, which eats up a large percentage of Town's break-even mark of £24K per week.
Overall the board's aim of keeping the club in business by prudent financial measures came across strongly, and seemed to be more or less accepted and approved of by those present, even if that meant losing players from time to time.

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