Bees United recognize the need for the directors of Brentford Football Club to urgently raise funds if the club is to secure both its immediate and its medium term future.
It is no secret that the club’s budget forecast for the season showed we would reach our overdraft limit early in the New Year, and although the financial state of affairs is better than forecast because we have exceeded expectations in the cup competitions, it would be wrong to pretend it is satisfactory.
When Bees United made its announcement in November of its plans for a new stadium at Lionel Road it caused great excitement amongst Brentford fans, but we feel it is only right to stress to all of you that the scheme is a long way from getting the go ahead, and in no way assists the club with its current financial situation. Of course, in an ideal world there would be no obstacles for us to overcome, but there are, and they need to be accepted by everyone.
The board of directors know there will be difficulties and have made it quite clear that their immediate attention is focused on securing the club’s financial position. Once they have done so, they will then give more attention to addressing the problems the club have regarding a new stadium. They also accept that supporters have no desire to move from Griffin Park until such time as a site for a new stadium is secured, but wherever the club play the board need to have confidence the club will survive in order that they can plan for the next two to three years.
Under the present circumstances it seems unlikely that a new stadium site will definitely be identified before the club reaches its overdraft limit, and if the club is then forced into receivership it will be unnecessary anyway. Bees United, through the fantastic fund raising efforts of the supporters, and particularly those people who have joined the Capital Loan Scheme, or who are making donations by standing order, are able to offer the club some level of financial assistance. Even so, we are not in a position to provide the kind of funding the club will need if it is to stay at Griffin Park for the next three years – or even next season!
The club’s financial requirements can only be met by further borrowings, and by the board continuing with their efforts to reach as close to a break even situation as possible by reducing the club’s outgoings. However, even reaching a break even trading position does not resolve the club’s financial problems as the interest on the current overdraft will still be hundreds of thousands of pounds every year, and will of course increase if we borrow more. The situation will become even worse if there is a rise in interest rates, and as most of you will know they are very low at the moment.
Even so, the club must make these further borrowings if it is to survive, but the board are unable to arrange any further loans at all whilst the Section 106 conditions on the development of Griffin Park. are in place. This means the club will be unable to continue trading sometime during the next few months, unless the situation changes.
The board of directors have given a pledge to secure sufficient funding to allow the club to continue playing at Griffin Park for three years if the Section 106 conditions have a similar time limit. The conditions which the board are particularly concerned about are those that require 50% of any development is for affordable housing, and a restriction on developing at Griffin Park at all until a new stadium site is secured. Bees United will support the board in its endeavours to change the conditions if it guarantees the club the funding it is seeking to continue trading at Griffin Park.