This interview in now reiterated on Ceefax page 394 today.
We are now at the crossroads of our long term future in the Conference.
It is looking likely that both Canvey and Weymouth with be promoted this year, who have cash and fanbase respectively.
Assuming we stay up, and the 3 most likey to go down are Leigh, Northwich and Margate, the prospects for us in 2004/5 look quite bleak.Yet another season will loom with us scrabbling around as relegation candidates.
We cannot get better players in as
a) We are not full time and
b)We do not have the fanbase nor the funds to go full time.
In order to achieve a we need to up the crowds and increase revenue. How?
By my reckonning, with our average attendance looking artound 1200, our income through the turnstiles is expected to be (roughly) 1200 x 21 games x £10. = £252,000 (I know season ticket holders are less, but I have ingnored the seated fans to cover this.)
Rhe cost of running full time I would envisage (and I am not privy to Full time conference salaries)to be something like this :
15 players x £28000 = £420,000
Manager and coach = £60,000
Total wage for full timers = £480,000.
This leaves a shortfall of approx £230,000, which equates to about 1000 paying fans per home game.
The question of how to get an extra 1000 through the turnstiles is one that needs to be very quickly and seriously asddressed at boasrd level.
Failure to do so will lead to our eventual decline in the same way as Dover and Welling.
It has already be seen almost without exception the only successful teams in the Conference are full time, and I believe this is our next urgent task.
Appoint a full time Marketing/publicity manager, give him a sponsored Fleet car, set up a small shop in Gravesend town centre and really push hard for the extra support by visiting schools and businesses in the area.
Well meaning supporters tried last summer (and worked very hard) but to no avail.
We need to adopt a more professional outlook or all our efforts will lead inevitably to relegation and mediocrity.