WOTMT
That Survey!
Comments on the survey sent out by the club on 2nd February and a consequent letter to the Chairman

When I received the survey from the club on 2nd February I was astonished that an opportunity to open up a sensible and much needed conversation regarding the future of the club had been reduced down to 2 loaded questions based on a false premise that the money spent so far had delivered success and to spend a bit less would automatically result in failure. It just seemed to me to be unfair to ask fans to answer those questions without providing some contextual information about finances etc that would help fans form a considered view. So I have written to the Chairman to ask for that information. We will see if we get a response. The text of the letter is set out below in italics for information.

Dear Mr Chansiri,

Following the recent Fans Forum I wrote to you, first to thank you for opening up a debate with fans on finances and ticket prices and secondly to set out my own views on those matters. I also suggested that the club should seek to engage fans in the conversation via a survey. When I made that suggestion I had envisaged that the survey would be slightly more sophisticated than the one that arrived into my spam folder via e-mail on 2nd February. 2 heavily loaded questions, both based on a false premise, bolted on to the end of a survey on other matters was not what I had in mind. In my view that was not a very helpful way to put a complex issue. This was a real missed opportunity to have opened up a sensible conversation on matters that are critical to the future of the club.

In the 2015/16 season there was a decent investment in the squad and we signed a few quality players who made a real difference to the team – Hooper, Bannan, Forestieri, Hunt, Pudil, Wallace, Lopez etc. We also spent money on some players that didn’t work out – but that happens to a degree. We went to the play-off final, sadly we lost, but most fans thought that we had firm foundations on which to build, and if we signed 3 or 4 key players for the spine of the team who would bring the physical presence we lacked at Wembley we could challenge again for next season. In the 15/16 season the reported financial figures are that the club lost £9.8m. Since that time a considerable amount of money has been spent on the team in both transfer fees and wages; that money has been drawn from increased ticket prices etc and from your own investment. Fans will view the current situation both from the history of where we have been and where we are now. May 2016 was the high point. Currently we lie 17th in the table, facing a relegation dog-fight on the back of 1 win in 15 with ten first team players out injured, many of them for the foreseeable future it would seem. So, before they answer your questions fans may like a bit more information on the following:

1.What was the financial loss for the 2016/17 year?

2.What is the projected financial position of the 2017/18 year?

3.Where does this leave the club with regards to FFP rules for 2018/19?

4.Will we have to reduce costs and/or increase day to day income and investment to stay within FFP rules in 2018/19? If so, by how much?

5.How does our income compare to that of other clubs in the Championship?

6. How does our wage bill compare to that of other clubs in the Championship?

7. In the light of recent experience what confidence can fans have that there will be a more effective player recruitment process so that money spent delivers corresponding value on the pitch?

8.What has been learnt from the player injury problems that we have suffered in the 16/17 and 17/18 seasons and what will change in order to ensure it is not repeated?

The financial information in points 1-4 should be available as I understand that FL clubs have to submit 3 year financial information (15/16, 16/17 and projection for 17/18) by 1st March 2018. That information would help fans to understand the loss for each year, the loss that has been covered by cash injection from yourself and they would be able to reconcile that with the costs that they have been meeting through ticket prices. They would then be able to make a decision on whether to support a reduction in prices, in stability, or in an increase knowing what the wider impact might be on the club. At the Fans Forum you said that you believed we would be ok with FFP this season but would possibly face difficulties next season, this information would help quantify that difficulty. The information sought in points 5 and 6 would help fans understand our relative position regarding other Championship clubs. And the views on points 7 and 8 would help fans have confidence that any further investment to be funded by increased prices is more likely than not to deliver a positive impact.

My intention is to seek an informed and thoughtful conversation on these critical matters that affect the club, I hope that you are able to look upon this request positively and are able and willing to reply to the numbered points as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

 

Steve Walmsley

 

Katrien Miere, CEO SWFC

 

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23.06.2018
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