Andrew Jenkins on what is a tough period
Carlisle United chairman Andrew Jenkins today issued a plea to supporters to stand by the club through what is one of the most difficult periods he can remember from his 53 years of service at Brunton Park.
"I just want to ask the supporters and everybody connected to the club to stick with us during what is a very difficult period," he said.
"We all acknowledge that results and performances have not been what we expected or wanted this season but it's at times like these when we need our fans the most."
"Football is one of those games where things are unpredictable and I've seen a lot of highs and lows while I've been here," he continued. "We've had periods under different managers where things have turned against us, but it feels different this time. We understand the frustration with the situation completely, because we feel the same way ourselves, but the worst thing that people can do right now is turn their backs on the club. That simply isn't the answer."
"I accept that a large part of the reduction in our attendances is because of the dissatisfaction with results and performances on the pitch," he conceded. "With the budget we have now, and with the wages the players are getting, it goes without saying that we all expected more. Things haven't worked out for us but we are all working very hard to put that right and to make sure we are in a position to take the club forward again next season.
"Financially, and as we have said a number of times, things are extremely difficult for us at the moment. We can't hide away from it because we have to come up with ways of keeping the club going almost every week. As directors we have found several hundred thousand pounds to keep the club afloat this year, so it hurts when people say we don't care or that we aren't loyal. None of us want to see the club hurt but without that input, which is difficult to sustain, and without the fans coming through the gates then this club will find itself in real difficulty.
"It's a tough time across football, outside of the very top level, because the level of support for the game just isn't there. Attendances are down across the piece at around 15%, and ours is actually performing slightly worse at 19% down. That is a significant chunk of income which we now will not receive. Going forward that also directly affects how much we can spend on player wages as we head into next season. We'll have to restructure that in the summer to help with our cash-flow situation as we prepare for the new campaign.
"The club is extremely well run, I can assure you of that, but just like every other business we are suffering because of the recession. As I say, we also have to factor in that we haven't performed up to anyone's expectations and that has meant that we have suffered just a little bit more."
"I am asking the fans to understand the reality of the situation we face, and to stick with us and help us through what is the toughest period I have seen during my time with the club," he concluded. "I can't tell everyone they have to come, I know it doesn't work that way, but I can say from the bottom of my heart that we need you to come. If we stick together and come through this with a united front then I know we will be much stronger for it when we get to the other side."