It's one not to be missed
Tonight’s award winning match programme, Back of the Net, includes an in-depth interview with managing director John Nixon where a whole host of ‘hot topics’ are covered as we head into the crucial closing stages of the current season.
The impact of falling attendance levels across the Football League, and here at Brunton Park, are discussed as are Premier League solidarity payments, commercial performance, ticket offers, player wage levels and player recruitment, TV coverage, cost reduction measures, shirt sales and Project Blue Yonder.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg ...
As an example of what you can read, here is Mr Nixon on TV versus live audiences ...
As the big TV deal at the top level started to grow we heard comments along the lines of – we aren’t going to need fans as we have the TV money. How much do clubs at our level rely on foot-fall? Just over a third of our total income comes from people who buy season tickets and who come through the gates on match day. Another third comes from the Football League and solidarity payments, with a little bit of that coming from cup runs. If you start to lose 1,000 fans on average per game, like we have this season, then it will end up costing us between £200,000 - £250,000 worth of income. You don’t need me to tell you that is very worrying indeed. You can say there's a margin on that, because we need fewer stewards and support staff, but the difference in the money we spend on staff for bigger crowds is nowhere near the difference in the money we lose when fans don't come to watch us. We obviously still have to pay the players the same if there's 4,000 fans here, or if there are 5,500 here.
... on Project Blue Yonder ...
Where are we at with project Blue Yonder? We're continuing to move forward. We have two different groups of people talking to us at the moment so there are options there. One of them is suggesting a move up to Kingmoor Park and the other is suggesting doing something different here at Brunton Park. I think the thing we've learned, because we're obviously not developers, is that maybe we need to be the strong partner. Maybe we need to go out and do some of the leg-work ourselves and do the work with the city to make sure it fits properly. We then need to be co-partners with a developer rather than being led along a path we don’t know too much about. We've got some thoughts for the future, and I want to be able to talk to the councillors to ask them which they feel is best for the city, the county and for Carlisle United. It's a long way short of being dead and we have meetings virtually every week.
... and on cost reduction measures ...
Are you comfortable the measures taken are going to help? They will help, but we probably haven't finished the cycle yet. We're the same as every club in League One, apart from Crewe who are going to the JPT Final and who will have an unbelievable set of figures. Tranmere can't believe they're up at the top of the league, even though their bubble has probably burst since we beat them, but apart from those two or three teams we will all find it very difficult to get through to May. We are working closely with each other and with our accountants to make sure we do get there.
For the full and frank interview make sure you get your copy of Back of the Net tonight, priced at just £3 and available from all of the usual outlets.
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