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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:15 pm 
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Not sure it's been mentioned on here but got the below email on Fri 22nd in regards to 500 club options to eliminate the debt that causes the current cash flow challenges.

I would assume we would get reasonable uptake to achieve what we need to and hopefully move forward off the pitch.

Darlington FC wrote:
Dear 500 club member

When the 500 Club was launched in March 2015 its aim was to help fund our return to Darlington. By participating, alongside 324 other members, you played a very significant part in achieving that goal and just under a year ago we kicked off our first game at Blackwell Meadows. We couldn’t have done it without you – thank you.

Following on from the presentation on the way forward for our club on Monday December 11th at the Dolphin Centre we have been approached by several members of the 500 Club with offers of further support. After taking on board feedback and discussions with the Darlington FC Supporters Group we have formulated 3 options for members who wish to extend further support to our club to consider. What is important to remember is whatever option you choose or simply if you decide not to take up any, your current 500 Club membership is unaffected and will continue as normal.

As outlined in the presentation the club currently has around £65,000 of aged creditor debt. Managing this takes up a great deal of the directors’ time and energy. In order to place the football club on a more secure footing, and to focus on future growth, we aim to eliminate this by the end of February. Your offer of further support through the 500 Club will play a significant part in that.

In addition, we will shortly be launching an affiliate marketing drive that if the fans get behind, has the potential to generate significant revenue for the club. Keep your eyes on the official DFC website for more information.

We also recognise that we aren’t maximising our commercial revenues and have put in place an action plan especially around selling advertising boards. There are currently over 40 spaces left to fill at Blackwell Meadows and we hope to make inroads into that number over the coming weeks. We are also in talks with our headline sponsor about extending their shirt sponsorship into next season.

Removing the legacy debt will allow us to look at expanding the Board of Directors at the Football Club and enable us to concentrate on the strategies outlined in the presentation to grow additional revenue streams.
CEO, David Johnston: “This season has seen a significant amount of work undertaken by the fans in supporting our fund-raising activities and we are starting to bring the club under greater financial control. It is my ambition to deliver a profitable operating position by the end of the season and to also remove our legacy debt that was carried over from the previous season. This debt hampers our daily operation and places significant risk onto the business from a creditor perspective.

Your support as a 500 Club member could change this position and as a Board we will ensure that future budget planning is conducted in a more prudent manner to prevent reoccurrence. By supporting this initiative, it will go a long way to improving our financial sustainability and as ever any donation will be gratefully received.”

In addition to the options below with the construction of the new seated stand due to get underway in January 2018 we are able to offer any standing 500 Club members the opportunity to upgrade their membership to a seated ticket at the price of £40 per full season. You can choose your seat now and use it from the first game of the new seated stand - projected date Feb 24th, 2018.

500 Club options:

Option 1:
Donate the equivalent of one year’s season ticket price.
In return you will receive the following rewards next season:

4 x Buy One, Get One Free hospitality tickets for next season.
2 Ambassador vouchers - opportunity to purchase additional tickets (max 2 per game) at £5 each for two fixtures during the season.
Exclusive prize draw.

Option 2:
Extend your 500 Club membership by one year – price based on your age at September 1st of the year of your extension (2020 or 2021).
*Strictly limited to first 100 applicants.
In return you will receive the following rewards next season:
2 x Buy One, Get One Free hospitality tickets for next season.
2 Ambassador vouchers - opportunity to purchase additional tickets (max 2) at £5 each for two fixtures during the season.

Option 3:
Become a Gold 500 Club member. Extend your current 500 Club membership by 5 years out to 2025 / 2026. Price based on your age at September 1st of the year of your extension (2020 or 2021).
*Strictly limited to first 25 applicants.
In return you will receive the following rewards for each of the next 5 seasons:
4 x Buy One, Get One Free hospitality tickets per season.
2 Ambassador vouchers per season - opportunity to purchase additional tickets (max 2) at £5 each for two fixtures during the season.
Exclusive meet the manager / CEO evening once a season.

Prices for all the above options can be viewed on the Application Form below

http://darlingtonfootballclub.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/21st-December-500-club-application-form.pdf

You can either print this out and return it to Quaker Retail, or complete it electronically and return it via email to: 500club@darlingtonfc.org

The deadline for all applications is Saturday February 3rd, 2018.

Any queries please contact us:
email: 500club@darlingtonfc.org
Visit Quaker Retail at the Dolphin Centre, open Mon – Fri, 10am to 1pm or on home match days at Blackwell Meadows.
Telephone: 07488 564642 (during Quaker Retail opening hours)

Thank you
Darlington FC Directors:
David Johnston & John Tempest

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:34 am 
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It's just going to be a never ending cycle, people just can't afford to keep going to well to bail out the over spend year after year... Can they???


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:46 am 
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HarrytheQuaker wrote:
It's just going to be a never ending cycle, people just can't afford to keep going to well to bail out the over spend year after year... Can they???

Nothing changes does it.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:12 am 
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HarrytheQuaker wrote:
It's just going to be a never ending cycle, people just can't afford to keep going to well to bail out the over spend year after year... Can they???


I think you have a point/ Obviously some 500 club members are in a position to take up one of those options and a good few are not in a position to help. Unfortunately I come into the later group. Therefore the request for extra funds, falls on the few and there is no guarantee that this will be the last call for extra funding.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:08 am 
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As most of the 500 club members who contribute this time will be extending their season tickets, then they are getting something for their money. It's no different to buying a normal season ticket in close season, in reality - except they are buying further in advance.

As the maximum intake of season ticket extensions cannot exceed 125, it also means that going forward into future seasons past 2020/21 we will have a maximum of 125 people who have already paid, instead of the current 325.

So the club is being a bit clever here by restricting numbers. Any current ST extensions will plug the finance gap, but 200 500 club members will still expire in 2020 & 2021.

Of more concern is HOW we've ended up in cash flow trouble yet again? Especially considering that less than 1 year ago the board announced an 80k budget cut for this season as cash flow problems couldn't keep on happening. The budget cut was supposed to prevent this problem re-occurring yet we're still in the same boat, despite increasing gate prices by £2 and raising an extra 40k to be added to the playing budget!

I blame Gray for cranking up the pressure on the board for more money, hence the £2 gate increase + 40k boost the budget to make up his 80k shortfall - which he couldn't wait to waste on handing 2 good year contracts to the likes of Caton and Burgess. But gates have dropped due to poor performance so all the money which we promised Gray isn't there.

That's why the cunnt fucked off - because he knew he'd "maxed out the credit card" (the fucking fans) and there would be no extra funds to bring even more players in to solve his poor recruitment.

That's really pissed me off - we initially cut the budget trying to be responsible, then we bent over backwards to put the budget back to where it was to keep hold of him. This was done through fans financially putting even more money in through the gates and boost the budget - only for him to waste it within 5 minutes then cut and run.

It'll be interesting to see how much York let him spend before saying "enough".

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:26 am 
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I've got no real issue with permanently extending the 500 club year on year, that way it sorts our short term cash flow issues, and if/when we decide to stop the extensions we are likely to be in a much more stable position and can absorb the hit for a couple of seasons.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:35 am 
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Quakerz wrote:
As most of the 500 club members who contribute this time will be extending their season tickets, then they are getting something for their money. It's no different to buying a normal season ticket in close season, in reality - except they are buying further in advance.

As the maximum intake of season ticket extensions cannot exceed 125, it also means that going forward into future seasons past 2020/21 we will have a maximum of 125 people who have already paid, instead of the current 325.

So the club is being a bit clever here by restricting numbers. Any current ST extensions will plug the finance gap, but 200 500 club members will still expire in 2020 & 2021.

Of more concern is HOW we've ended up in cash flow trouble yet again? Especially considering that less than 1 year ago the board announced an 80k budget cut for this season as cash flow problems couldn't keep on happening. The budget cut was supposed to prevent this problem re-occurring yet we're still in the same boat, despite increasing gate prices by £2 and raising an extra 40k to be added to the playing budget!

I blame Gray for cranking up the pressure on the board for more money, hence the £2 gate increase + 40k boost the budget to make up his 80k shortfall - which he couldn't wait to waste on handing 2 good year contracts to the likes of Caton and Burgess. But gates have dropped due to poor performance so all the money which we promised Gray isn't there.

That's why the cunnt fucked off - because he knew he'd "maxed out the credit card" (the fucking fans) and there would be no extra funds to bring even more players in to solve his poor recruitment.

That's really pissed me off - we initially cut the budget trying to be responsible, then we bent over backwards to put the budget back to where it was to keep hold of him. This was done through fans financially putting even more money in through the gates and boost the budget - only for him to waste it within 5 minutes then cut and run.

It'll be interesting to see how much York let him spend before saying "enough".
No it's ok, he was just working within the budget he was given.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

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We will be playing at the arena again next season - fact.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:44 am 
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I've no real issue with this offer - as long as we start budgeting properly (and the fact that we will be cutting the budget next season and have a manager who is more amenable to that should help). To those complaining - if you have better ideas for clearing the debt then I'm sure the club will be delighted to hear them

I'm looking forwards to hearing more about the affiliate marketing scheme

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:48 am 
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Spyman wrote:
No it's ok, he was just working within the budget he was given.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk


In theory he was, whether he should have been allowed that budget is a different matter.

Think Johnston admitted himself that it has took him a few months to understand the business itself and wasn't aware that we had carried the debt over from last year (which we were told at a fans forum would be cleared).

Johnston seems to have a much better handle on things now and from my understanding is wanting to work more collaboratively and open up the books to DFCSG a lot more, with them being involved in budget setting.

Not sure though what has happened to the AGM and accounts that went out last year, I haven't heard or seen anything come out.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:52 am 
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Darlo_Pete wrote:
HarrytheQuaker wrote:
It's just going to be a never ending cycle, people just can't afford to keep going to well to bail out the over spend year after year... Can they???


I think you have a point/ Obviously some 500 club members are in a position to take up one of those options and a good few are not in a position to help. Unfortunately I come into the later group. Therefore the request for extra funds, falls on the few and there is no guarantee that this will be the last call for extra funding.


As mentioned below it's only about 1/3 of the 500 club who the club are looking for them to take something up, and in most options get something worth the cash they are being put forward. Just because you are in a position not to support isn't a reason to be negative and of course it is unlikely to be the last time the owners of the club are asked for funding, not many clubs run where the owner doesn't fund them.

All of this was explained at the forum so it shouldn't be any surprise to anyone unless we are expecting the directors to put 50k now and continue spending time dealing with creditors when we want them to ramp up commercial activity.

Logically this makes total sense and for those that can afford it they lock on football at a possibly cheaper price than it will be.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:58 am 
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The 500 club has served its purpose very well and these fans deserve plaudits for putting their money where their mouths were, Unfortunately the MG regime became complacent about being able to go to this 'well' to feed his spending habit and kept returning, which was in effect deferring the debts (at the same time increasing it).

The time has come to draw a line under the scheme and look towards other options to service the debt and the ongoing expense of running the club. Also, given the potential Sports Village, it would be better to wait until these plans have firmed up before we decide on further improvements to BM.

People's financial circumstances do change over time, so any options need to be more flexible. Limiting the offers to the 500 club members is restricting our options, so what about opening up the offer on the new seats to existing standing season ticket holders? Likewise, the hospitality ideas seem to be expanding nicely and yes, we should be open to all ideas. Well done Directors and 500 club members :thumbup: :thumbup:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:01 am 
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al_quaker wrote:
I've no real issue with this offer - as long as we start budgeting properly (and the fact that we will be cutting the budget next season and have a manager who is more amenable to that should help). To those complaining - if you have better ideas for clearing the debt then I'm sure the club will be delighted to hear them

I'm looking forwards to hearing more about the affiliate marketing scheme


Unfortunately if we want to achieve at least the same status we had 6 years ago then I believe the only way to go is encouraging more outside input. We will never be a club capable of remaining totally fan owned as it has its limits and we are clearly draining those fans who have already put a he'll of a lot in.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:07 am 
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real_darlo_85 wrote:
al_quaker wrote:
I've no real issue with this offer - as long as we start budgeting properly (and the fact that we will be cutting the budget next season and have a manager who is more amenable to that should help). To those complaining - if you have better ideas for clearing the debt then I'm sure the club will be delighted to hear them

I'm looking forwards to hearing more about the affiliate marketing scheme


Unfortunately if we want to achieve at least the same status we had 6 years ago then I believe the only way to go is encouraging more outside input. We will never be a club capable of remaining totally fan owned as it has its limits and we are clearly draining those fans who have already put a he'll of a lot in.

Quite possibly, although we have a competitive budget for this league (not for a title challenge, but for a playoff challenge) under fan ownership, and that's without maximising our revenue.

If someone knows a suitable private investor I'm sure the board would be very happy to talk to them. As there appears to be nobody (suitable) out there, we either give up or try our best to grow as much as we can.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:14 am 
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jjljks wrote:
The 500 club has served its purpose very well and these fans deserve plaudits for putting their money where their mouths were, Unfortunately the MG regime became complacent about being able to go to this 'well' to feed his spending habit and kept returning, which was in effect deferring the debts (at the same time increasing it).

The time has come to draw a line under the scheme and look towards other options to service the debt and the ongoing expense of running the club. Also, given the potential Sports Village, it would be better to wait until these plans have firmed up before we decide on further improvements to BM.

People's financial circumstances do change over time, so any options need to be more flexible. Limiting the offers to the 500 club members is restricting our options, so what about opening up the offer on the new seats to existing standing season ticket holders? Likewise, the hospitality ideas seem to be expanding nicely and yes, we should be open to all ideas. Well done Directors and 500 club members :thumbup: :thumbup:


We have had two separate call outs for people to sign up for 500 club deals and put around 1k forward, 325 have taken this up. I can see why the club have directly gone to these people first as the likelihood is they will be the ones with the means and willingness to go again. That won't work 100% for everyone but makes it easy for the club to manage and also means next season we don't have an increase of the 325 which would affect next years budget.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:04 pm 
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Do we know who is owed this £65k?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:08 pm 
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Darlo-and-Back wrote:
Do we know who is owed this £65k?


Different creditors I believe, the debt is continuously recycled by paying people when you can etc. Johnston advised the age of the debt has reduced quite substantially recently.

Basically the debt is constantly being turned over but this is what is occupying a lot of the boards time rather than spending time looking for commercial opportunities or other things more positive for the club.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:57 pm 
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It's all a bit disheartening, kicking the can down the road isn't it...

I know we have to do something, but another five years of the 500 club... Until it's out of the way, our budget will continue to suffer / we'll need other ways to make up the shortfall.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:00 pm 
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H1987 wrote:
It's all a bit disheartening, kicking the can down the road isn't it...

I know we have to do something, but another five years of the 500 club... Until it's out of the way, our budget will continue to suffer / we'll need other ways to make up the shortfall.


Quite the opposite for me, as long as Johnston is good to his word this is another piece of resolving the constant financial challenges we have had as we have either overspent or spent every penny possible every season.

It doesn't reduce our finances currently and buys us some time to look into increasing commercial and maybe looking at growing our own income, seems a sensible move to restrict the numbers also ensuring you are only kicking a bit of the can down the road rather than all.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:09 pm 
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H1987 wrote:
It's all a bit disheartening, kicking the can down the road isn't it...

I know we have to do something, but another five years of the 500 club... Until it's out of the way, our budget will continue to suffer / we'll need other ways to make up the shortfall.


Not really, this time there is a limit to the amount of extensions allowed which means that all we're doing is spreading the pain over a longer period of time. Over 2/3 of the 500 club memberships will end at the same time as now.

Also, not all 500 club members are extending, some are making a donation of the cost of a season ticket and will, in all probability, start buying season tickets at the time the current memberships run out.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:10 pm 
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super_les_mcjannet wrote:
Darlo-and-Back wrote:
Do we know who is owed this £65k?


Different creditors I believe, the debt is continuously recycled by paying people when you can etc. Johnston advised the age of the debt has reduced quite substantially recently.

Basically the debt is constantly being turned over but this is what is occupying a lot of the boards time rather than spending time looking for commercial opportunities or other things more positive for the club.


Could this be why we are not getting the level of corporate sponsorship and commercial support.
We are seen as a toxic brand constantly in debt struggling to pay off creditors, not the sort of organisation you would want to be associated with.
Debt needs paying off quickly and don't just involve the 500 club members. we have had fundraising initiatives for 'Boost Gray's Ego' sorry budget, 'Raise The Roof', why not another to 'Lower The Debt'. I'd be in.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:38 pm 
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banktopp wrote:
super_les_mcjannet wrote:
Darlo-and-Back wrote:
Do we know who is owed this £65k?


Different creditors I believe, the debt is continuously recycled by paying people when you can etc. Johnston advised the age of the debt has reduced quite substantially recently.

Basically the debt is constantly being turned over but this is what is occupying a lot of the boards time rather than spending time looking for commercial opportunities or other things more positive for the club.


Could this be why we are not getting the level of corporate sponsorship and commercial support.
We are seen as a toxic brand constantly in debt struggling to pay off creditors, not the sort of organisation you would want to be associated with.
Debt needs paying off quickly and don't just involve the 500 club members. we have had fundraising initiatives for 'Boost Gray's Ego' sorry budget, 'Raise The Roof', why not another to 'Lower The Debt'. I'd be in.


The negative of many years surrounding Darlo will be part of it but not really specifically this, Johnston said he has neglected the commercial side a lot more than he had wished, whilst also working on club stuff more than he expected.

Below looks set to bring around 55k/60k as a rough guess then remove VAT so probably about 46k/50k to the club, this I would assume will remove the majority of the debt and the constant pressure of paying this off.

I would say the club probably don't want to open the buckets up to remove debt due to the further negative image, rather than fans just renewing long term Season Tickets.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:41 pm 
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The problem here is that there is only a small group of people available or want to put money into the club, ie 500 club and share investors, we are going to these people once again, but I believe they will come forward once again, a remarkable bunch of people who deserves a massive thank you


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:22 pm 
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As already alluded to a couple of times in previous posts, would also like to see some kind of regular "donation" scheme for those outside of the 500 Club membership. The emphasis being on "donation", therefore ensuring VAT is not required to be paid and the full amount goes to the club. I presume the forum example of DD for £40pm (or variable amounts - for the avoidance of doubt) was one such potential scheme?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:58 pm 
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Quakerz wrote:
I blame Gray for cranking up the pressure on the board for more money, hence the £2 gate increase + 40k boost the budget to make up his 80k shortfall - which he couldn't wait to waste on handing 2 good year contracts to the likes of Caton and Burgess. But gates have dropped due to poor performance so all the money which we promised Gray isn't there.

That's why the cunnt fucked off - because he knew he'd "maxed out the credit card" (the fucking fans) and there would be no extra funds to bring even more players in to solve his poor recruitment.


Not only 'maxed out the credit card" (fans) but insulted them as well - at the infamous forum where he blathered on about how embarrassing it was with the buckets and donations and all that! I could go on but won't ...............

The 500 club members should all be applauded :clap: and as these latest ideas seem to be voluntary they can choose whether or not to help out again. Also I like the way it's pitched, as in no dreaded VAT.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:16 pm 
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The structure of this initiative is clever as it accessing funding, but allows the 500 club to taper down over a couple of years.

A thoughtful move, which I hope, as Quaker Pete has already said, is followed by a donation initiate for non-500 club members.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:53 pm 
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Beano wrote:
The structure of this initiative is clever as it accessing funding, but allows the 500 club to taper down over a couple of years.

A thoughtful move, which I hope, as Quaker Pete has already said, is followed by a donation initiate for non-500 club members.


Anyone can make a donation at any time to the club using the same bank account that is accepting the 500 club member donations. The club have targeted the 500 club holders but if anyone who isn’t a member wants to make a donation then fire away


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:02 pm 
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If the club is to be asking for funds to repay debt it’s important we are given a clear picture as to the true cash position, are we being asked to fund:

1. Delayed cashflow due to postponed games,
2. Debts to individuals who helped the club previously
3. Debts to contractors from the ground improvements

Or is it a mix. It’s not appropriate to be tapping up for funds without an explanation as to what the funds are for.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:18 pm 
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I’m sure when the accounts are published at the AGM that will be clear. At the moment the club is offering fans the chance to extend season tickets in order to structure and consolidate the debt position not tapping everyone up to clear the debt. The outcome will be the same in that a certain amount of current debt will be paid down but it’s the club managing it through operationally


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:27 pm
Posts: 47
Team Supported: Darlington
al_quaker wrote:
I've no real issue with this offer - as long as we start budgeting properly (and the fact that we will be cutting the budget next season and have a manager who is more amenable to that should help). To those complaining - if you have better ideas for clearing the debt then I'm sure the club will be delighted to hear them

I'm looking forwards to hearing more about the affiliate marketing scheme


The only way is to focus on 'BIG CUP RUNS'. Lincoln did this last year and are on a better financial footing because of this alone. An FA cup run to the 3th round and get Liverpool @ Anfield should solve it. That should be the focus to clear debt rather than pinch from Peter to pay Paul.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:24 pm
Posts: 90
Team Supported: Darlington
divas wrote:
I’m sure when the accounts are published at the AGM that will be clear. At the moment the club is offering fans the chance to extend season tickets in order to structure and consolidate the debt position not tapping everyone up to clear the debt. The outcome will be the same in that a certain amount of current debt will be paid down but it’s the club managing it through operationally


The published accounts certainly won’t show cashflow problems due to postponed games. It’s time for transparency, the club wants funds and it should be clear what the monies are being used for. We are fan owned after all so why would the board seek to avoid transparency?


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