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Chairman's Notes

24th August 2010

Chairman's Notes You will have seen a lot of media coverage in the last two weeks about top management changes at the Club, with claims and counter-claims. I don't want to pre-empt the shareholders' meeting on September 28th but some things need clarifying now.

Woking FC lost a considerable amount of money each year after I took over in 2002, but the viability of the Club was never in question, as before the start of each financial year I agreed to underwrite all the losses, whatever they would be. As a result the Club was always able to pay its staff, players and suppliers.

Whatever the speculation on fans' web sites, when I finally stepped down before last season, ALL the debt was removed from the Club's books and it was able to start afresh with some £60K in the bank. Not much for a football club but it was in the black, unlike many of its competitors.

I was assured by the Board that any losses the Club made would be covered by the Directors and that is largely what happened last year.

This year those losses have been escalating and a prudent budget quickly produced in the last two weeks by James Aughterson, who has returned at my request, showed a budgeted loss of £195K.

It was beyond the ability of the Directors to underwrite such losses and, therefore, the Club would have been unable to pay its bills. So any claim you may have read elsewhere that losses were bigger under my chairmanship is a red herring!

The point is that we were ALWAYS in a position to pay our bills then, and this time the Board decided that they could not.

At first sight this second rescue of the Club gives feelings of déjà vu, but in one key respect it is very different. This time the plan is to come out of this financial year with a clear idea of how to run Woking FC viably. There is no 'slash and burn' policy but we have to examine every cost carefully and explore every revenue-generating opportunity.

This will involve a receptiveness to new ideas, which has not always been our strongest point, weighed down as we sometimes are with our 120 years of history.

We stand by those commitments Woking FC has made this year but, whatever the resulting budget, we can and must strive to get the best possible results on the pitch from it.

Being a chairman at a football club is a tough job: for a start, although outsiders don't realise it, you are really the Chief Executive and so you have ultimate responsibility for everything including, with the Finance Director, the finances.

Every chairman at WFC has made mistakes - and I definitely include myself in that - and it's nearly always down to optimism. You are surrounded by passionate people who tell you how they think things are going to be, rather than how they really are - and it's highly infectious.

That's great and part of what watching a football club should be about. I'm naturally an optimist too but with this particular tall challenge of making financial sense out of the Club, our role is going to be very hard-nosed but providing the opportunity to test new ideas. It's going to be a lot of hard work but I'm quietly confident that we will end up finding a satisfactory solution.

- Chris Ingram
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