The new owners of YTFC have the chance and responsibility to build a football club that can progress up the leagues, provide great football to follow and inspire youth football across our area.
It has been a difficult few years as results going the wrong way have meant falling revenues in the lower leagues and emergency help for National League clubs was required when fans were not able to attend during the pandemic and I was instrumental in securing that national government loan scheme to stop the club from going under.
Without owner subsidies it has always been the case that business aspects of Yeovil Town have been required to support the club’s football. This was true in the Championship and it is true now.
Development of the ground is controversial for some but an opportunity to garner the income required to sustain a proper footballing structure as the club rebuilds. The club sought development for this purpose since 2014 but was continually knocked back by the Council until the Council got involved financially through the stadium sale and leaseback.
Football clubs are private businesses and the deals they do are for the parties to be responsible. However the arrangements since the end of last year ended up complicating the football at a crucial time and it is a shame the financing flexibility the Club got from its involvement with public bodies didn’t translate into on field success.
I am seeking a meeting with the new owners of the Club, and the questions I will be asking - similar to those I have been asking all the previous owners and parties they have looked at dealing with - include:
What is the footballing structure that you will be seeking to implement and who will you be working with to help deliver that?
What are the shares of operational and capital income from development that will accrue to the football club for the purposes of maintaining the footballing structure and the stadium and ground and staff? Will the Council or any related parties have any income share?
What is the nature of the income from development or operation of developed properties that will accrue to Yeovil town for its footballing purposes?
Will there be conference and entertainment facilities that can maximise income from the ground itself including for large scale events?
What accommodation facilities if any will be made available for visitors on site and what hospitality revenue might accrue for footballing purposes as a result?
What revenue is expected from these sources in each of the next five years, and what is the plan if they don’t materialise?
Have any sale and lease back liabilities or options been fully discharged and or exercised on completion of the purchase of Yeovil Town?
Have the pandemic loans been discharged as part of the purchase and is there any other debt outstanding?
Have any assurances been given by South Somerset District or Somerset Council as to different types or schemes of development being allowed?
Has Yeovil town Holdings Ltd itself been purchased or is there another structure that those interested in the future of the football club should be aware of?
What is the plan to develop youth football in Yeovil now that the club has lost Academy status and will you work with me to find ways of ensuring a thriving youth football scene in Yeovil?
What assurances can you give to the staff and team at Yeovil town about their security of employment?
What arrangements will you make to ensure that there is a high quality board of directors which can plan and execute for high quality football and high quality business off the pitch?
Will you commit to having at least one board director to represent the fans and at least one board director whose role is to work with that other director and fans to increase positive fan engagement using all available modern techniques?
Will you investigate and report on whether there have been any questionable practices in the past in respect of the Club’s dealings and will you ensure that there is full transparency of all dealings with Councils, third parties and other public bodies in the future?
Will you commit to regular Board reports that give information about the footballing and non-footballing business of the Club so that fans can be engaged on the basis of fact rather than rumour?
I very much hope that today turns the page on a successful new chapter for Yeovil Town Football Club and that we will all be able to get behind them.
To read more about Martin Hellier’s announcement click the link below: