Club Update: Financial Accounts

Last week, the latest club accounts for the year June 2019 to May 2020 were published on Companies House ahead of the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in January. The accounts show a profit of £1,489, which breaks many years of loss-making. As a Board of Directors, we’re happy about this – but it’s important that these figures are presented in some context to raise awareness that there are still many challenges ahead.

When we assumed our roles on the Board in January 2020, a loss was forecast in the region of £60,000, which would’ve placed the club perilously close to being ‘in the red’. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic came along, placing many businesses of all sizes into difficulty across the globe.

In the midst of all this, you – our loyal fans – played a monumental role in supporting the club through short-term fundraising initiatives such as the 1881 Fund and Donate a Ticket and, for that, the Board of Directors are truly grateful. In excess of £20,000 was raised through these initiatives and that, combined with some COVID-19 related assistance from the Government, have been major factors in the club posting a profit.

However, as you’ll note by the date of the club accounts (June 2019 to May 2020), the effects of COVID-19 on the Football Club will be felt more significantly during the financial year we’re in currently (June 2020 to May 2021).

In this period so far, we have been unable to host fans on matchdays – both through the turnstiles and in hospitality. We very much hope this will begin to change in early 2021 but, as you can imagine, the uncertainty has made it very difficult to predict what matchday income there will be, which in turns impacts what the management team have at their disposal to build a squad.

In addition to that, the club has also budgeted for considerably less from the Supporters Club this year due to the fact Berwick Bandits Speedway were unable to run throughout 2020, while, unrelated to COVID-19, there will also be a significant reduction in the parachute payment received by the club from the SPFL (£40k – 2019/20; £20k – 2020/21; £0 – 2021/22). These are just a couple of significant issues facing the club in this financial year.

So, although the club has posted a profit this year, its financial model remains inherently loss-making. Nevertheless, the Board of Directors are continuing to work hard behind the scenes to improve the financial model and give the club long-term stability, while putting together a competitive squad. A number of initiatives launched – for example, Club 1881 – have received tremendous buy-in from fans and that will certainly go some way towards helping the club become a financially sustainable entity.

Further details on the previous financial year and the club’s vision moving forward will be presented by Chairman Brian Porteous and his fellow Directors at the club’s AGM on Thursday, January 28, 2021. Details on how to sign-up to attend the AGM will be available in early January.

Until then, we’d like to reiterate again our thanks for your incredible support over the past 11 months and, as we’ve said for months now, we hope to be able to welcome you back to Shielfield Park in the not too distant future.