The primary objective as a director of a football club is to help install and manage a sound business model.
This model needs to be built on the extensive history of the club and further it by installing sound infrastructure and management systems to give Bradfordians a Club to enjoy decades to come. One thing that I have found is that the Park Avenue supporters are not without opinion. These opinions have helped us in establishing the foundation and basis of the Club; a foundation established by a set of lifelong supporters and those who give time selflessly to the club. This community has all of the makings of a top-flight club. It just needs (funding) infrastructure and a plan.
The business of the game today is about a delicate balance. This balance is between income and playing budgets. The National League has become highly competitive and budgets have expanded as clubs challenge to attain the glory (and sustainment payments) of the Football League. While attendances at this level have also gone up, we haven’t seen such an incline in gate (despite funding a competitive budget). So, we must find a way to fund the Club outside of the matchday income. We must build the community and ultimately the club’s sales.
We need to be developing talent in-house and field the same quality that we have.
The plan that we have is two-fold:
1. Sustainability – Adjust the clubs outflows to meet the inflows.
2. Community development and youth involvement – Get Bradford in the community.
Well, let me add point 3:
3. Attain football league status.
I think that the club’s supporters should ask themselves the following:
Where do you see the club in 2024? 2029? What does the supporter base look like? Have we advanced as a club?
This is what Damian and I have been looking at this past 90-days and attempting to make sense of what we have alongside setting a path to accomplish this delicate balance.
What we have found was that the Club today only exists with outside cash injections. Sadly, this is not an investment into infrastructure but rather is simply to pay the club’s daily expenses. Losses (in excess of 1 million) have been paid out in just a few seasons and the Club is about the same that it was. We have done well thanks to the excellent management team on the pitch but the Club is about the same that it was in 2015.
While Park Avenue has a deep history, the existing fan base is simply not enough to fund the club expenses. This is simply a fact that we must all face and it is just the state of the game today. Matchday only funds a nominal amount of the actual club expenses and we continue to exist thanks to capital injections. That is coming to an end and we need to get prepared today to keep the club going forward.
So, how do we make ends meets without a funding lapse? How do we accomplish this? It’s not easy. We need to make the income equal the expenses and find new ways to get income. To do so will take a fundamental shift in the business (and some intentions) and a focus on development. We can also be successful on the pitch at the same time as making these changes. Bradford is just waiting to have a club take the lead in the community and it should be us. Only once we have a manageable budget will we be able to get to the next level.
You will see some changes coming. Each will focus on sustainability, advancement of the squad and the ultimate goal of attaining Football League status. As you can tell, we intend to focus on youth development and finding the best talent. We have some new innovative ways to do so that we are just at the beginning of implementing.
Change isn’t easy. People don’t like it. But it is something we must commit to if we are to move to the next stage of Bradford (Park Avenue) and the development of Horsfall.
If any of you have some input, please let me know. You are Bradford. Let’s remember the past but focus on being Bradford today.
I am looking forward to seeing all of you this weekend as we take on community based FC United of Manchester. In football, it’s not a “one size fits most” and each club must find its own “cocktail” of sustainable community. Each has its own unique supporters.
We need you to help us so that we can move the Club forward both on and off the pitch.