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Hereford United chairman David Keyte gives his View from Edgar Street
1:00pm Thursday 14th February 2013 in Sport
WE are approaching that time of the season when your glass is either half-full or half-empty.
Postponements can either put you too far behind the leading pack or give your injuries time to recover.
What is certain is that the exceptional weather has disrupted any flow and continuity that we have been seeking.
Last weekend the players earned three valuable points away at Braintree Town, but the rain continues to threaten future fixtures.
While it is mathematically possible to reach the play-off positions in the league we will be giving it our best shot.
Realistically, we need to double our points tally from 27 matches over the remaining 19 fixtures in order to reach 77/78 points and then hope one or two of the leading clubs dip a little.
Understandably, the frustrations felt by the supporters after five or six seasons of poor home results; relegation from the Football League and the general adverse financial climate has caused many to cry ‘enough is enough’.
Yet, those who attend regularly know that the current squad of players has the potential to produce exciting, flowing football, if we can get a run going and some dry pitches to perform on.
Relegation has come at a cost. The response to our appeal for help has been fantastic and supporters, both local and from far afield, rallied around the club to raise £50-£55,000 before Christmas.
A good FA Cup run, central to Hereford United’s finances over the years, aided by the live TV match at Cheltenham Town enabled us to bank a further £170,000. The remaining shortfall of approximately £350,000 has been covered by the board of directors.
It’s clearly not a viable business model. Further cost reductions will filter through the system before the start of the next season, notably the conclusion of the remaining seven Football League contracts which take up 50 per cent of the player budget.
Perhaps the most important off-pitch signing for the club has been the appointment of Bob Pritchard as a non-executive director.
Bob brings a wealth of experience from the property development world and has accepted a brief to secure the development of each end of the football ground. With the Cattle Market project now showing at least a 75 per cent take up, our own possibilities have at last started to brighten.
It is proposed that the two 30-year leases on the ground be surrendered and replaced by three new leases to cover (i) the football club facilities including the pitch; (ii) the Blackfriars End and (iii) the Merton Meadow End.
Each of the two ends can be developed separately with 250-year leases, if approved by council planners.
Current expectation is for commercial use at the Blackfriars End and residential development of the Meadow End.
The football-related facilities will include terracing squared off to the goal-lines and ideally provide a 2,000 capacity at each end. Target deadlines are for the revised leases to be concluded in three months and interested developers to be ascertained within six months.
Bob will be attempting to achieve the best value for each area of land on offer, and will be providing regular updates.
We continue to work hard as a board of directors to secure the long term future of the football club. Above all, like all our loyal supporters, we seek success on the pitch and have great hopes that Martin Foyle will bring that success in the near future.
Meanwhile, I thank all those who have supported the club over the years and particularly through these recent testing times.