CHIEF EXECUTIVE: We're now a self-sustaining club

Much talked about in recent weeks has been the announcement of the appointment of administrators with EWM Group, and what that appointment might mean for Carlisle United and the commercial agreement that has been in place with EWM Ltd since 2017.

United have, of course, had access to a loan facility through that near four-year spell, but chief executive Nigel Clibbens confirmed this week that the initial support provided had helped the club to achieve a state of self-sufficiency which has helped the Blues through this current pandemic crisis.

Speaking first about the loan facility, he said: “That business is in administration, and therefore it technically can’t pay its debts as they fall due, so it can’t be lending money to somebody else when it has its own debts to pay.

“It’s kind of a fait accompli. The fact of the matter is, whilst it’s been there as a backstop and a comfort and support, we’ve moved to become more self-sufficient since May 2019.

“That’s the crucial bit of having backing – it’s there when you need it, but you don’t use it as a first resort, it’s got to be a last resort. But that’s where we are with it, the complany no ability to do that now because of its own issues.

“In terms of what we owe them, there’s no change from what John Nixon said a few weeks ago. I’m sure that will be dealt with in the fullness of time, but it’s not something that we’re spending a lot of time thinking about at the moment. 

“You can’t predict the future, but we’ve come through already nearly nine months of coronavirus on our own. Prior to that we’d had another 12 months of being self-sufficient. The steps that we’ve taken, even during coronavirus, stand us in really good stead going forward.

“We’re working on the basis of being a self-sustainable club, and that’s how we’re looking at it. We’re not thinking, right, what does the future hold in terms of the debt. We’re not considering that. I’m sure Holdings and the shareholders will consider that in time, but it’s not something we’re exercised with at this time.”

Also tied into the EWM agreement was the front of shirt sponsorship deal and the ring-fenced funding for the director of football role.

“Commercially we wouldn’t get into that shirt sponsorship discussion just yet,” he told us. “That’s something we’d talk about in a few weeks, because of the relationship with ERREA it means we can get whoever we want on the shirt at short notice, so we can think about that.

“They’ve got things to think about, so we’ll have a discussion on that, but it’s not something we’ve sorted out just yet. I’m sure that there’d be plenty of people who’d be interested in being on the front of our shirt if the opportunity was there, so we’ll see. 

“With the director of football, essentially the club is now self-sufficient of borrowings from EWM – that includes everything. Whilst at the start we couldn’t afford to do it on our own, even if we’d wanted to, we’re able to now, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Heading towards the beginning of March would usually signal a filing of the accounts, with the accompanying company statement to go with it.

“There’s an extension of all accounts now until June 30,” he told us. “So normally we file near the deadline, but we haven’t thought about when we’re filing just yet, due to the uncertainties around coronavirus.

“But there’s a general exemption to allow all businesses to file three months later now.”

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