THE VIEW FROM THE BOARDROOM – Paul Armitage’s notes (26/12/22)

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We’re all over the disappointment of the World Cup now and can get back to real football again! Paying millions for a four year competition is a world away from non-league in local communities. No doubt the cost of one ‘pop up’ stadium in Qatar would cover all NL budgets for a season or two.

Which gets me back to the UK Fan-led Review.

One of its early themes is the reckless pursuit of wealth by clubs and the enormous financial losses most football clubs regularly incur.

Our own plans require us to establish the solid base of a sports-led stadium developing community-led and well-supported growth for young people of all abilities, so that they can find personal and educational development and link that to activities at Horsfall.

This tends to offer value for parents and their children at affordable levels and meaningful activity to harness youthful energy. Combining sport and non-academic education allows for personal growth and achievement and whether it is linked to soccer at Avenue, rugby at West Bowling or athletics with Bradford and Airedale, or even all three, we are moving towards organising age group progress and improving facilities for all those users.

It takes time and money to do this and each of our anchor users are moving along similar lines and uncovering funding and volunteers to create the vision.

We have relied on substantial grants and some loans, along with very generous contributions from our own benefactor to get us this far and we are all well aware that financial viability is essential.

Bradford has a good history of philanthropic benefactors over decades. My own favourite is Titus Salt as I was born in that neck of the woods, but there were many others and it would be good to see those who have made good in the city returning benefits for such good causes and getting involved in the quest for a viable sports stadium that aims to help youngsters.

It is proving to be only a little easier to find grants than to find patronage from entrepreneurs these days, but we are all keen to find the new patrons.

Running a football club is almost by definition a pathway to insolvency if we don’t manage the finances well and finding the next generation of players to eventually win a World Cup starts at the grassroots, which is where our investment plans start.

Here at Avenue we older supporters know only too well that the sudden loss of a benefactor can create havoc and Gareth knows that too. All benefactors must share the concerns of how their legacy is perceived, so finding the numbers of supporters or the individuals needed is a perpetual quest. Hopefully it will be more successful than seeking the Holy Grail!

See you again in what we all hope will be the Happy New Year and more NLN points.