HEREFORD FC have announced that the club made a ‘bigger than expected’ loss last year.

The club held their AGM on Thursday when this year’s financial figures for the year ending May 2022 were discussed, with the exact loss yet to be officially announced.

Speaking on behalf of the club’s board, Hereford chairman Jon Hale said that the club went over their playing budget but also had other factors which contributed towards the loss.

In a statement released to fans he said: “As a board of directors we are clear that last season was financially very disappointing, with a loss bigger than we had anticipated, which is in part due to situations that could not have been predicted.

“Many different factors contributed to the loss, including increased match day costs (security/medical/pitch), staffing infrastructure improvements, a first year of taking the bars in house with associated costs, and a loss on matchday programmes. Coupled with this we saw shortfalls on sponsorship alongside matchday revenue and facility sales.

We did go over-budget on the playing side due to injuries above and beyond the contingency we had in place, and also through a desire to support the Manager achieve a play-off spot. However, this overspend was not huge.”

Hale added that the club are working ‘tirelessly’ to make it sustainable while also supporting the playing side as much as possible.

This season the club have been boosted by a successful FA Cup run which generated a big income from the televised Portsmouth match.

Hale added: “While last year’s loss is disappointing, the overall financial picture this year is positive. We expect to be reporting a profit in our next accounts, which will be very welcome news to all supporters, shareholders, sponsors and Directors.

“There can be no doubt it is hard work to keep the ship steady, with so many variables in the football industry against which you are instantly rated. The annual budgeting process is fraught with difficult decisions and predictions, many of which can fluctuate in their eventualities at the drop of a hat, and we are now in that period of the year where we make those key forecasts which will determine important funding pots for next season – critically the playing budget.

“We do appreciate it is frustrating for supporters when things don’t go well on the pitch, and positive results are clearly what we all want. As directors, we have never hidden away from criticism, which often comes from people who want greater investment in the team. We cannot just provide that because our finances won’t allow it, even though at times, as fans, we might like to.

“However, when we can, we do increase the playing budget in line with above-budget revenue. Josh (Gowling) has been able to bring in a couple of new faces recently as a result of us doing exactly that, but he knows and respects that we have to be prudent and a certain amount of ‘outs’ before the ‘ins’ is what this level is all about.

The directors of our football club give up their free time and expertise for the club we love on a voluntary basis, and rest assured it gets to us just as much you when things don’t go well on the pitch. This can quickly lead to a downturn in attendances, bar sales, programme sales, shop turnover, sponsorships, commercial ventures and general interest in the club – all of which waves a red flag in our faces, naturally, as we have wider responsibilities to consider than normal match-going fans.

“The club was built on safe foundations, and while we may not get every decision right in everyone’s eyes, we are committed to ensuring Hereford FC continues to build in the right direction. Therefore, it is particularly pleasing to again be talking about possible play-off opportunities if we can keep winning games. Be in no doubt that the directors want on-field success as much as every other supporter of this fabulous club.”

Hale also stressed that volunteers are a ‘key part’ to operating a whole range of the jobs involved at the club.