Trading Profit announced for the year...CHAIRMAN, Jeff Bonser, has today issued the following Statement:
"On behalf of the Board of Directors I am pleased to present the annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 May 2013.
"I am delighted once again to be able to announce a trading profit for the year, this time of £23,000. I believe this represents a significant achievement when you consider the findings of the latest Annual Review of Football Finance Report, published by Deloitte in June 2013, which established that the average net loss for a League One club in 2011/12 was £2.4m.
"It is also worthy of note that this profit was achieved despite a fall in Central Television Revenues of 26% as a direct result of a reduction in The Football League’s new TV deal with SKY. Consequently the Club had to adjust and reduce its ‘Player Budget’ by a similar amount to compensate and this was done in a controlled and constructive manner.
"It was a significant year for the Club on-the-field as the first-team recorded their highest League finish since season 2003/04 and achieved their highest points total in League One since the League was rebranded back in 2004. Both were accomplished on the back of one of the smallest playing budgets in the division and the smallest the Club has operated with in many years.
"During the year, the Club unveiled it’s ‘Football Philosophy’ which defined the way in which we wanted our teams to play, a style that would be adopted from the Academy up. This had three key characteristics:
• A possession base game; encouraging a fluid style of play:
• A team characterised by hard work and embracing a team ethic; and
• A policy of bringing young talent through the Academy system already schooled in the other aspects of the philosophy.
"The foundations were laid by Team Manager, Dean Smith, and his Management Team and it is particularly pleasing to see that this started to ‘bed-in’ and we reaped the rewards during the season. Despite a ‘sticky patch’ before Christmas, where the team stuck to their beliefs and the new philosophy, overall the season must be regarded as a success and seen as a stepping-stone to future years.
"The underlying ambition behind the Philosophy was, and always has been, to achieve not only a return to The Championship, but to sustain Championship football thereafter. The Philosophy implemented last season has borne some early fruit and it is great that the supporters have embraced this wholeheartedly. It is still early days but the initial signs are promising, long may it continue.
"At Academy level the Club continues to go from strength-to-strength. Having attained EPPP Category 3 Academy Status during the season the significant increase of investment in expertise, facilities, sports science and equipment, puts us at the cutting edge of technology and ideally positioned to maximise the return on that investment for years to come.
"As a result, first-year professional contracts were offered to starlets Danny Griffiths, Reece Flanagan, Jake Heath, Matthew Preston and Liam Roberts, which is a clear indication of not only the success of the Club’s Academy but also of its importance to our future.
"We have continued to enjoy fantastic support from all of our Sponsors and Commercial Partners, both old and new, off-the-field. Accordingly, I would like to place on record my personal thanks to the organisations and individuals who have continued to support the Club during these difficult financial times.
"In particular I would like to thank outgoing ‘Front of Shirt Sponsors SR Timber, welcome back CAT Communications as new ‘Front of Shirt’ Sponsors and welcome on board long-term Commercial Partners Dains LLP as ‘Back of Shirt Sponsors’. A special mention is also deserved for the ongoing contribution of Banks’s Brewery, ABS (Burton) Limited, Tile Choice, Sign Specialists and Walsall Housing Group. We simply could not operate without such generous support.
"Once again I would like to pay tribute to the work of the Community Team whose activities enrich the lives of thousands of people in the borough of Walsall and as always I would like to place on record my thanks to my Board colleagues and the staff at the Banks’s Stadium for their continued hard work and enthusiasm.
"This year has also seen the end of an era on two fronts. Firstly, in the Commercial Department Roy Whalley has finally ‘downed his pencil’ in an official capacity and secondly, in the Community Department, Mick Kearns has finally ‘hung up his boots'. I regard both as close personal friends and both are Club Legends in their own right who will be hard to replace. However, I am pleased to say that both will remain involved with the Club. Roy will continue as a Director whilst Mick takes on the role of Matchday Host.
"Finally, on behalf of everyone at Walsall Football Club, I would once again like to say a big thank you to our supporters for their continued loyalty and commitment to the Club, and to assure them that all of our efforts and hard work are focused on continuing to give them a team and a Club to be proud of."
The full Directors’ Report and Financial Statements are available to download here...
The Annual General Meeting for Shareholders will take place in The Swifts Lounge at the Banks’s Stadium at 9:00am on Monday, 18 November 2013.