Town’s Chief Executive issues the Club’s monthly update
- An update from Chief Executive Mark Devlin
- Latest of the monthly updates from the Board
- CEO discusses Season Card renewals, transfers and more
Thanks for taking the time to read the latest monthly update from the Board. I hope you and your families are keeping well and are enjoying the European Championship now it’s in full swing!
A lot has happened since our Chairman, Phil Hodgkinson, issued our latest update via his interview with BBC Radio Leeds in May, so I’ll get straight to it.
On the football front, we’ve had a busy start to our planning for the new season with the pending arrival of five new players in Matty Pearson, Jordan Rhodes, Lee Nicholls, Ollie Turton and Josh Ruffels. The Chairman was clear in our aim to recruit in those positions early in the window and it is a big positive that they will get as much time as possible under Carlos in pre-season. When you believe your strength is in your coaching programme, it’s key to give the players as much time as possible to adapt to our style of play.
There’s still work to do on shaping our squad for the new season, and I predict there will be further ins and outs before the window closes. That isn’t something we should fear; players come and go at every football club, and it is our job to ensure we give Carlos and the staff the best players we can to take this Club forward.
It’s equally important to manage the players you have in the building, and to that end we have made several improved contract offers to key players this summer. As a Club, we want to avoid players entering the final year of their contract as we move forward, as you clearly lose value and negotiating power when that happens. It’s not always possible, but we’ve taken steps towards that goal over the last month, making some very attractive and competitive offers. If they are not accepted, we must consider our options and how we move forward.
Clearly player trading – in and out – is a key matter for every Sky Bet Championship club, and we are no different. Our latest accounts, which were made public this month, highlighted the role that player trading has in mitigating operational losses. We must always strike the balance between our financial footing, keeping our best players at the Club where possible and achieving our targets on the pitch.
Despite the effect that the pandemic had on the 2019/20 finances – and that effect will be greater in the 2020/21 accounts – we still achieved our stated goal of reducing the Club’s debt level. That will continue as we move forward; it is important to our long-term sustainability. However, as I’ve said before, we believe we can do that whilst improving our competitiveness on the field – not to the detriment of our performance.
We had a wonderful reaction to the home kit launch last week, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the families of the 1922 FA Cup winning team for coming down and helping us with the launch. Kit design is one of the most subjective matters at every club year-on-year, but I’ve been informed that this is the most overwhelmingly positive reaction we’ve ever seen. That is exactly what we want, obviously, and the early pre-order numbers are hugely encouraging. Thank you to everyone who has ordered their shirt and training wear so far.
Over the last 10 days we’ve had our bi-monthly meeting with supporters via the ‘All Together Town’ panel, where the Chairman was able to join us and directly update supporters on several matters. The notes of that meeting are HERE, if you want more detail, but I thought it was very constructive.
We followed that up by meeting some of our hospitality and commercial customers at the John Smith’s Stadium, and that was similarly useful. It has been a long time since we’ve had the opportunity to speak to that group due to the pandemic, and it was great to see people in person again.
I cannot wait until we can see all of you back at the John Smith’s Stadium in the new season. Like you, I watched the latest update from the Prime Minister and the subsequent decision to delay the final stage of lifting lockdown restrictions until 19 July, but I want to be clear – we are still planning towards full stadium capacity being allowed for the first home game of the 2021/22 Sky Bet Championship season.
I fully appreciate that the last day for renewals at the current price is Wednesday 30 June, which falls before Monday 19 July. I want any supporter who is nervous about renewing in that environment to be at ease. If the worst happens and we have restrictions on numbers in 2021/22, and subsequently a Season Card holder cannot attend a game due to limited capacity, we will issue a pro-rata refund for the game missed
We’re as confident as we can be that won’t be an issue, but it’s important to emphasise that is the case.
We need from 30 June to the start of August to process seat moves requested by supporters and to prepare for the numbers we should expect, so we do not envisage moving the deadline. You can still renew after that date, but you may lose your seat.
As you might expect, renewals have really picked up as the deadline approaches, and we have taken the decision to extend the Ticket Office’s opening hours to facilitate any supporters who prefer to come down in person and to deal with the increased numbers. However, we’d always encourage you to renew online if possible; it’s the simplest way.
Thanks to every single Town fan for their continued support. We can’t wait to see you back at Our Home, and Your Home, for the 2021/22 campaign.