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It Is Not Over Yet!
By: Bill Osborne
THE good news that the taxman and Grimsby Town Football Club have agreed a schedule of payments to solve the tax debt problem will be greeted with relief by fans and supporters, but it also presents other dangers.
In the original proposal to the taxman, GTFC proposed a schedule of payments over a period of 6-7 years. A proposal that the taxman immediately rejected. The new agreement will be for a lesser period, which will place a strain on the club's resources, bearing in mind that the original proposal from the club was based on what they could comfortably afford.
The danger is, that people might assume that the crisis is now over and we are back on solid ground again. That is not the case and in fact, the situation could be even worse, if people think all our troubles have been resolved.
The agreement with the taxman is going to affect the club over at least the next couple of seasons with some very serious further budgetary constraints. The additional money that the taxman has demanded over and above the clubs proposal, has to come from somewhere.
And thereby lies the danger. The agreement has to be paid from the club's current income streams, which makes the job of managing the budget even more difficult.
There will have to be some cuts, just where is hard to forecast, but one would not want to see the tax bill paid off leaving us with little money to fund the acquisition of new players next season and beyond, but it is a large expenditure area and saving a small percentage of those costs could seem attractive to an organisation managing on its boot straps and if the club has to fund the repayments alone, we just might see Grimsby Town Football Club opting to play in the Conference League, rather than doing all we can to avoid it.
If you think that is beyond belief or alarmist then think on this.
If the directors of the club decide that enough is enough, (and we have seen signs of that already. John Fenty has made it clear that although he will always help, he never saw himself as the owner and funder of the club and the community should be involved in supporting its community resources including the football club), then I would suggest that the Conference League is a far better proposition than not having a club at all.
Despite many attempts, there have been no new directors joining the club with new money coming in and the current directors cannot be expected to continue to pour money into the club if there is no support from elsewhere.
In short, if the community does not care, why should they?
Which is why the Keep the Mariners Afloat campaign must continue.
If the campaign falters because people think the problem is over, then we will be back where we started with the future looking bleak and with the continued existence of the club in the balance again.
We have had a reprieve from Mr Taxman. That is all.
Let it not be us, the fans and supporters, who fail to see that this really is the last chance.
The Inland Revenue does not give second chances. They rarely give you a first one. So we have to take full advantage of the time they have given us to get the ship back on an even keel.
So keep on supporting the 'Keep The Mariners Afloat' campaign. It is not over until the fat lady sings and we are a very long way from even tuning her up!
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