Following the welcome decision of Stuart to remain as manager, the Board wanted to take the opportunity to update all Society members and supporters on the overall performance of the club at the end of another enjoyable and important season.
In our communications we want to remain fully transparent and clear about our performance, prospects, risks and opportunities. We have done well but the landscape of the game in Scotland remains challenging and material risks continue.
Significant progress must be made if we are to achieve our goal to be a fully sustainable fan-owned and community focused club.
On the Field Performance
Achieving a second place league finish and qualifying for Europe for the fifth time in six seasons was a tremendous result. We’d like to thank everyone involved with both the playing and backroom staff for their hard work during the season, which made this possible. We are sure everyone enjoyed the style of football and the competitive nature of the league.
Our Under 20s team went through a period of transition with a very young squad and a change of coach, with Gordon Young taking up his role as Academy Director and Jonatan Johansson taking control on a day-to-day basis.
After a challenging start to the campaign, the young players provided some real hope in the closing third of the season, remaining unbeaten in the last six matches and finishing the second half of the season with treble the points of the first. Jonatan and the club staff will work hard to develop and recruit players with the ultimate ambition of feeding the first-team squad.
Off Field Performance
Off the field we have re-structured our Commercial and Academy operations while continuing to expand our Community Trust. We believe that these three key areas are now extremely well placed to deliver value for the club, supporters, sponsors and other partners.
The ‘Well Society has made good progress during the year achieving important milestones of appointing a Board, making an initial share subscription and having two Directors appointed to the club board. Graham Barnstaple and Brian McCafferty are not only the representatives of the ‘Well Society but importantly play a full and active role in all club decision making.
Financially we benefited from finishing second in the league however the prize money was reduced due to the agreed redistribution of a proportion of the second place prize pot to all clubs in January.
We also achieved lower than expected cup and transfer income and like many other clubs, a drop in our SPL pay at the gate revenue, which for us was approximately 10%. This was partially offset by an increase in season ticket numbers.
Whilst the numbers have yet to be finalised, we expect the outcome for the season to be a low six figure loss. Putting this into a context that the regular supporter can easily understand, had we progressed one more round in the Scottish Cup, the club would be reporting a small profit. Equally had the gates at each home game been around 500 higher, we would have achieved a break-even position.
The financial position of the club was assisted by the initial share subscription from the Well Society of £150,000.
Whilst those funds now belong to the club, they currently sit ring fenced in a separate account with the intention that they will continue to be used only to cover short-term cashflow gaps if possible. All other funds raised by the Society continue to sit outside the club and there are no immediate plans for any additional ‘Well Society support in the short term.
We continue to operate without any assistance from either a bank or a benefactor and aim to run the club at break even. After covering the normal costs of running the club, all income generated is invested in the playing squad but the flip side is that when we suffer a reduction in our income, we have less to spend on players.
The club, in partnership with the Motherwell FC Community Trust, is working on a project that will hopefully see the development of an Employability and Sports Training Hub / Facility in North Lanarkshire.
Due to the expansion in the number and the breadth and depth of programmes being delivered by the Community Trust, particularly around youth unemployment, health and wellbeing and increased participation in sport, there is a requirement to develop new dedicated facilities for this extended programme delivery which will also be available to strategic and delivery partners as well as community groups.
The club and the Community Trust are proud to be leading this exciting project, which, if approved, will benefit local people for many years to come.
We are delighted to confirm that our principal club shirt sponsor, Cash Converters, have confirmed an extension which will see them remain as our main shirt sponsor through season 2013/14.
This has been a very positive and innovative partnership, which we hope will continue for at least another season and possibly beyond. Their commitment and support to the club has been first class and their contribution, through interesting and fun match day activities has been excellent to date.
Breathing Space are again confirmed as our back of shirt sponsors and Motorpoint have also confirmed their support again as our short sponsors for season 2013/14
The club are in the first year of a three-year partnership with Maxim Office Park to rename the South Stand to the Maxim Park Office Stand. This partnership is also supported through highly visible branding on the stand.
As most will know, there remains much uncertainty around the level of funding all clubs will receive from the Scottish Premier League (SPL) next season.
Last season, central funding from the SPL accounted for 34% of our total income. At the time of publishing, the SPL has no main sponsor for next season to replace the Clydesdale Bank, and the financial impact of any re-structure remains to be fully quantified. For budgeting purposes we are assuming a drop in central revenue for next season.
Conclusion – Continued Support Required
Against this background, it is vital that we are able to generate as much as possible from season tickets, through gate money, sponsorships and commercial revenue if we hope to retain and attract the quality of players we have become used to seeing at Fir Park over the last few season.
Absolutely key to this is season ticket income. We have worked hard to offer value for our season ticket holders and would ask all our supporters to either renew or seriously consider buying a season ticket for next season. Whilst other revenue streams are clearing important, the more money we are able to generate before the season begins, the more we have to invest in players.
We can also not over state how important the ‘Well Society is to the future of the club. We remain fully committed to transferring a controlling shareholding in the club to the Society but this can only be done once it has sufficient funding to be able to operate without risking the future of the club.
The Society currently has 1,164 members and has to date raised close to £420,000, 28% of the original target. Again we would ask all Motherwell fans to seriously consider joining. We believe this is the right model for club ownership in the long term and we will continue to work with the Society Board to do all we can to get to this outcome.
The Board would once again like to thank all who supported the club last year and look forward to welcoming everyone for the Europa and League campaigns in early August.
The Board of Directors of Motherwell FC