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CUSG: Q&A from the March meeting

Answers to questions brought to the latest CUSG meeting

11 March 2019


  • No Group is made/forced to answer any question and does so at their own behest.
  • If a Group hasn’t answered their questions, a simple ‘No answer received’ has been written. This is in the interests of clarity within the CUSG Group.
  • would like to thank all those who replied on behalf of those who submitted questions.



From the last responses it was stated that the debt level remains the same. Therefore without any "football fortune" where has the extra income come from or is the club now self sufficient?

The last response was…..“the overall total debt of the club remains at about £2m which is unchanged over the last four years (since 2015).”

Explaining further -  

Firstly, “without any football fortune”.  We continue to earn “football fortune” every year from cups and player sales.  The real financial difference comes from the exceptional “football fortune” a cup run/big cup tie or major player sale brings – even then its only temporary and cannot be relied on year on year.  It is the case that since 2015/16 there has been no exceptional amounts of “football fortune”.

The Club is not “now self sufficient” (it has not been for many, many years and through many different owners), but it is moving in the right direction after the changes we have made. 

It is not self sufficient because the level of net income earned from all our activities (tickets, retail, commercial, lottery etc), plus what we receive from EFL and PL is still significantly below the level of all the club’s total football spending (on players, football staff, travel etc). 

This remains the case even though our spending has fallen in 2018/19.  That means the Club incurs loses.  This is the same underlying position the Club has faced going back a long time.  What has changed is this season the size of the gap and hence the scale of losses is falling as we take the actions required.  As fans know these are tough decisions and take time to take effect.

Like every other business that make losses (and every other football club facing that same position) and like every year, those losses can be balanced and managed with in a number of ways – it is not the case that inevitably loans and debt must also increase..

The way the Club is managed, funded and structured means we since 2015, we have been able to keep the level of total debt relatively stable while suffering the losses.  As will be reported in our accounts and is shown in the documents filed at Companies House, we issue shares to help this.  So, the debt position is as I described before, even without the Club being self sufficient or gaining exceptional “football fortune” and with no extra income.

As we have made clear, and as can be seen through the steps we have taken, the aim of the Club is to reduce the level of losses, but this takes time and at the same needs to be balanced the needs of the team.

John Sheridan stated publicly he was concerned about next seasons budget and where he could take the club after he resigned.

Firstly it is important to be clear on what John said.

It was from an interview reported in the Derbyshire Times, …“I thought I was doing a really good job at Carlisle but in the back of my mind, I was thinking about next season and the budget they’ve got, where would they go?"

John himself said “the budget they’ve got”.  I don’t know what JS was thinking but given the 2019/20 season divisional status is unknown and the budget for next season isn’t fixed either and he says “got” rather than “will have”, I think he was reflecting and speculating on what he thought might/could happen – not what was confirmed or certain.  That is all fair and reasonable for him to think about and consider when looking at the future.  

Radio Cumbria reps stated a manager had contacted them and pulled out of the race due to the budget and next seasons budget.  The club have denied this.

What Chairman Andrew Jenkins said in his programme notes was to give his position on the budget not about what anyone said to BBC.  Andrew said … "I understand rumours have been going around about next season's playing budget. This is quite amazing as it has never been discussed - and won't be until the season is over."

Therefore are you saying these people have lied about budgets being an issue, specifically next seasons.

No nobody is saying that at all. 

Peoples’ personal opinions and concerns are being reported. Conversations are being reported that’s all. 

You can disagree or dispute someone’s personal opinion or how they have formed it or the facts they used to form it, that doesn’t mean anyone is lying.

And also is it not irresponsible to not talk about next seasons budgets?

I explained the position about budgets in the last CUSG minutes.

Nigel said discussions take place all the time with many factors changing like gates, commercial income, retail income, and which division we are in. Different scenarios are considered. No final budget decisions for next season had been made at board level”. 

That planning continues but nothing is final and won’t be for some time.

Has John Nixon put £92k'ish in or at least bought some new B shares or whatever they are?

In the year to 30 June 2018, John Nixon provided £92,000 to the club.  Before the end of that financial year that was then converted into B shares as disclosed in the Confirmation statement recently filed at Companies House.

Would you consider doing another promotion for the Lincoln Good Friday match for under 22s only for £2? As has been seen local companies are happy to block book at this cost.

The opposition and the timing of the game and the importance mean it is a game we are unlikely to discount prices.

Well done to all those behind the scene with the 8kforMK really professionally done, please don't let the buzz etc die a death! However in my opinion its proved a couple of things. The potential of the club, re the supporters and the fact that supporters will pay £10 and be relatively happy.

A well marketed/advertised product will entice supporters back.

However It also suggests the current price for the overall product is too expensive (Football, decaying stadium and match day experience) what are you going to do to make sure these supporters go back, because at present, even if I was a billionaire, I will not pay the full price to attend for whats on offer!

I am sorry you feel that way.  We showed the ticket prices of CUFC compared with others in L2 at in responding to a previous question to the CUSG. 

We want to provide a team and play on the pitch fans want to watch and are proud of.  Winning and achieving helps hugely.

We want CUFC and what we do to as a club to be a source of pride for our City and fans, so people and businesses want to support and back us.  That is the aim day in day out. For example we continue to work hard :

Building links with the community and young fans of the future through the, Cumberland Community Ticket Scheme and Play on the Pitch.  We have had nearly 2500 young fans attend games this season already through those schemes alone.

Working together with supporters groups on initiatives via CUSG and CUOSC to bring fans, club and community closer together like – disabled facilities, Sunset memorabilia, shirt appeal, foodbank, support for Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw.  At the Swindon game we were working with Level Playing Fields Initiative and Girls football teams.

Getting into the community and making a difference – you can see this week in week out in the reports from the media.

Working to increase our fans email database so we can be closer to fans – and improve our marketing and interaction and engagement.

Maintaining competitive pricing for tickets and keep then especially for young fans.

We don’t have the facilities others do, but as #8KforMK showed we have huge potential.

Where does the income from the MK match rank in terms of income/profit from all the other home matches this season?

The income was the highest for a single L2 game this season, beating the next best Oldham. It was better than all our league games last season, except the first day (Swindon).

On the basis there is very little chance of finding a new place to build a stadium, which part of Brunton Park will be the first to be redeveloped and when ?

We are not in a position to make any commitments about development at this time.  The 10,000 Carlisle fans for a L2 game and the buzz for the City gives a real example of what can be achieved when there is positivity and everyone comes together.

What does John Nixon do now for the club apart from representing the EFL and the FA?

His role is no different to the other Holdings directors, this is unchanged since June 2016.  Specifically, like them he:

Attends Holdings and 1921 board meetings

Has input into the different decisions each board make.  He has one vote in four on 1921 board and one vote in six on the Holdings board. 

At the board meetings, he gives his opinions and views and challenges and supports the other directors.  He uses his experience in football and business to help advise and direct the club as needed.  For example, being involved in specific issues as required by the board – like being a director involved in the manager recruitment process.

For 1921 John’s role is unchanged since June 2016.  Specifically John:

Supports the CEO and Finance director and other staff and the club, as we require.

Has no day-to-day role on club matters.

Support the club’s ongoing efforts at building and maintaining relations with our commercial business supporters and sponsors where he can help.  He participates in the business club as needed. 

Attends the Club 1 or 2 days a week for a couple of hours each day, plus matchday and that covers all club matters above and the other EFL, FA and EFL trust roles.

John also represents the club at some away games and on official club business. 


Would you say the seasons been a failure if we don't get promoted?


The Club’s top objective is success on the pitch so if we don’t achieve promotion, I would see that as a failure to achieve our prime target.  We are all here at the club to succeed.  Everyone is focussing on achieving that success.  


The simple answer to that is No. CUFC were elected to the Football League in 1928-29. Since then, approximately 10% of our seasons have ended in promotion, so do we say that 90% of our history since 1928 has been a failure? It's easy to see football in black and white terms - a simple binary choice between success and failure. We need to look beyond results to measure how well a club is doing. The 8kforMK campaign as an example earned the club a lot of praise and goodwill, things which can be built on and which will benefit it in the longer term. At the start of this season there were plenty of predictions of doom - in that context being one point off the play-offs with nine games to go should be seen as a good season (so far) and one worthy of praise for all who have contributed to it - none more so than the loyal supporters.


Questions, from those unable to attend the study centre, and new member forms have been submitted via email without response. Questions submitted via the messageboard also haven't been answered. Is there a valid reason for this or are they just being ignored?

No answer received.


What is your policy on disabled travellers?

We hire coaches and if a person is able to board a coach then we will accept them with their disability.  We do not run specially adapted coaches for the disabled as this would require carers, and we would be restricted by H & S regulations.  Those currently travelling include -  special needs with carers, mobility restricted but able to access the steps onto the coach, those with hearing or sight difficulties and those with multiple conditions but who are able to access the steps onto the coach and walk short distances.

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