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Scally sees ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

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GILLINGHAM chairman Paul Scally says he is confident about the club's financial future following the release of the 2004 accounts.


The accounts up to May 2004 show an operating profit of £104,412, a significant rise from last year's loss of £584,064.


The club's turnover leapt to £8,480,713 from £7,929,838 but after interest and taxes had been removed the club reported a loss of £354,145 – a significant improvement on last year's £965,697.


The improvement in revenue can be attributed to an increase in the use of the club's banqueting facilities at Priestfield and a huge cut in the wage bill.


The amount of full-time staff the club employ, not including match day staff, has fallen from 130 in 2003 to 116 last year. The club has 13 fewer players and 15 fewer coaches, ground staff and management but the commercial staff has risen from 32 to 43. To reflect the down-sizing, the club's wage bill has been slashed by around £1.4m.


In his statement in the report, Mr Scally said: "The club now clearly see light at the end of the tunnel.


"The problems of the collapse of the ITV Digital contract have been well documented, but the club is reaping the rewards of having invested this expected income in the construction of superb facilities producing alternative non-footballing revenue streams."


He added that the relocation of the club was still on the agenda and he would be making a statement on the plans in the first half of this year.


But there was some disappointing news from the club's report.


Gillingham's bank loans and overdraft have swelled by more than £800,000 from £6,812,227 to £7,676,148. And the club's total debt, which includes bank loans, overdrafts, hire purchase contracts, accruals and deferred income, now stands at £9,316,223 , up more than £700,000 from the 2003 figure.

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The end of the tunnel that he sees the light , is Dartford tunnel and the surrounding area of Ebbsfleet.


For all his faults he has dragged the Gills up from the depths. But it does look like he could be pushing them into oblivion and this is his last throw of the dice.


We should underestimate him at our peril.

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