As we mentioned last Friday, the purpose of this statement is to outline the way ahead for this coming season which will be unlike anything we have ever faced. If you havenâ€™t read Fridayâ€™s statement, we would strongly encourage it.
I mentioned on Friday a huge amount of detailed work has gone into ensuring that we have a plan to be sustainable and also give Dowse a competitive budget. Once we have that foundation we will look to push on further.
We donâ€™t have a benefactor, but we do have some things which, in the long term, will be more valuable. We have a hugely committed base of fans and volunteers, a brilliant community presence, a great management team and core of players and a hard-working and committed Board.
Our plan for the coming year is threefold:-
As we mentioned capacity will be severely restricted as we follow the 85 pages of COVID instructions to start the season on October 3rd. Alongside this, our bar, food and hospitality income will be slashed at the start of the season. At this moment we have no idea whether capacity will be 500 or 2500 but are working on an estimate of 1100 which will be 50% of our average attendance last year. The decision on capacity is out of our hands.
Until we know the details we cannot give exact prices but we can give an idea of the direction of travel. Here are some of the headlines
â€¢ The ground on a matchday will be a cashless environment â€“ all tickets will be purchased beforehand and any other transactions will be card only
â€¢ We will not initially be issuing season tickets. The majority of National League teams have not advertised season tickets and the National League has now strongly advised its clubs not to do so.
â€¢ Unless our capacity is set ridiculously low we will not be adopting an adult price only policy as some clubs have done. With our family ethos, this would be counter to our values
â€¢ Unfortunately, all guest and complimentary tickets will be stopped unless essential. With limited capacity, we have to make each space count.
â€¢ Matchday prices at the start of the season may well be higher simply to face economic realities. As capacity hopefully increases towards normal during the season we will look to introduce loyalty offers, half-season tickets etc. Our focus is loyal supporters and we are therefore considering a membership fee which would give supporters priority access to book match tickets. We would discount the cost of this scheme to existing season ticket holders.
â€¢ There will be other changes in that a paper programme is unlikely to be produced but we will have an online version for each game. The online design actually gives a lot of new possibilities in design and function.
To reach the playing budget target the Football Club and the Cards Trust, working in partnership, have set a fundraising target of Â£150,000 for the season drawing on the support of fans and the local community. To put this in perspective if 1,500 supporters were able to contribute Â£100 (or Â£10 a month) each between now and the end of the season we would reach the target. We know itâ€™s not that simple and while some will be able to do more others of you will be facing your own challenges. However, we know that when we pull together, we can make a huge difference.
We envisage hundreds and, perhaps thousands getting involved with regular donations and fundraising initiatives. For example, Woking FC ladies are doing a sponsored cycle ride at the end of the month to raise funds for the playing budget.
Of course, most of us canâ€™t contribute huge sums, but we can all do our bit as best as we are able. One easy way to contribute one-off donations will be through the donate button on the main Club Shop website. If you organise a fundraising initiative or simply want to make a contribution it's very quick and simple. 100%, everything donated will go towards the total and there will be regular progress updates to keep us all informed.
Whilst we donâ€™t need all the Â£150,000 immediately the first few weeks are important to get a sense of the response and to build up an income flow throughout the season and beyond - so please do make a contribution early on if you are able to.
In this respect, regular contributions each month are really important for us and you can arrange this from Â£10 per month upwards in two ways, either through the Club Shop website or through the Cards Trustâ€™s well-established Boost the Budget scheme; details of which are on the Trust website.
An email to firstname.lastname@example.org highlighting how much you would be aiming to contribute over the season will also be helpful as a guide to the overall response. At our end, we will be pushing every community door possible for additional contributions.
If you already contribute to the Boost the Budget scheme, why not consider increasing your monthly contribution? The Trust Board will be meeting soon and will highlight the ways this can be done. Together we are confident of reaching our target and, hopefully, outstripping it!
Thirdly this season we will maximise the impact of volunteers and, beyond specialist roles, will look to fill most matchday roles with volunteer help. We are so grateful to those who do so much on our behalf and save the club thousands. For example, Bob Raikes designs the programme as a volunteer, saves us at least Â£3000 (Â£15000 if you take commercial rates) and also won the award for the best programme. Andy Turner and Martine Allen cover the PA and save us Â£2500; the cleaning team after games saves us thousands. Volunteers hosting the hospitality lounge saves us over Â£4000 and a small group clean the offices during the week. Of course, the Video team save us thousands and produce a brilliant and professional set of highlights for each match. There are many more and we are very grateful to each one of you.
We will produce a list of more volunteering options, particularly for match days. Be warned a lot of the jobs arenâ€™t very glamorous but they are very valuable! Again, together we make a difference and itâ€™s what Woking FC and club football are all about.
We will have regular updates and the next event of this type will be questioned and answer in some form or other
So, as we prepare to start the season you can be sure of 3 things:-
Firstly, we will treat your money and support with the utmost care and work to safeguard the club
Secondly, we will squeeze as much of our budget into the playing squad as is humanly possible. Our aim is to at least match last seasonâ€™s weekly budget and hopefully, exceed it.
Thirdly, as we have always seen, Dowse will use the playing budget carefully and brilliantly to build the squad
Woking FC is second to none at pulling together and to us, this is not a season to simply tread water or make it through. We want to push on and believe if we all do our part great things can happen.