Firstly, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your fantastic support throughout the 2019/20 campaign.
Football is facing an uncertain future, particularly for part-time non-league clubs like Blyth Spartans.
Similar to clubs up and down the country, our season was cut short after the last match away to Brackley Town on March 7.
What compounded the financial situation for us was that the last home game at which income was generated was against Altrincham on February 15.
This meant that wages were continued to be paid despite there being no income, putting severe pressure on funding.
The National League has now officially suspended football with no certainty as to when it will restart, again putting severe pressure on the finances of the club. Overhead bills for gas, electricity, telephone etc, still have to be paid.
The Executive Committee is under severe pressure to keep the club afloat but is determined to ensure that we continue to fly the flag for the town of Blyth and Northumberland.
The club has received generous donations from supporters – including a cheque for £200 from a lifelong fan and 1899 Club members who have donated their winnings back to the club. For that, we are extremely grateful.
The club recognises that season ticket holders have not been able to watch the matches that they paid for. How best to address this situation is being discussed by the Executive Committee.
With regards to the management of the first-team, the season did not finish the way that had been anticipated with the team floundering second bottom of the league and the departure of the manager.
I am pleased to say that we are now addressing matters for next season, whenever that might be and have appointed Michael Nelson as the new manager.
Micky has a wealth of experience at all levels of football. He has already started work on the squad he would like for next season.
He is aware that the budget he has to work with is significantly lower than previous seasons because of the severe financial situation that exists.
To survive, we will need the continued support of all our regular fans and business sponsors. We will be communicating with sponsors over the coming weeks but it will be difficult to engage until we have some certainty as to when matches will commence.
Pre-season friendlies are a good source of early income but it is highly likely that with a late start these might be reduced.
It is highly likely that the season will be compressed, with a late start and two games a week being played. This again will not be good for revenue, since midweek games are naturally not as well-attended as Saturday games. Both these factors will have a severe impact on income.
Notwithstanding the football club’s situation, our social club is facing the same situation. The social club had a full diary of bookings in spring and over the summer, as you will be aware these all had to be cancelled.
Please continue to keep you and your families healthy by following separation guidelines and we look forward to seeing you all at some time in the future.
We will try to keep you informed on a regular basis as more certainty develops.
Chairman of Blyth Spartans