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Chairman’s pre-Christmas update

Following the announcement on Thursday (17th December) by the Isthmian and Southern Leagues that there will be no league matches until the new year, the club’s board met to discuss the impact and ramifications. Chairman Paul Reed summarises the discussion and main outcomes of the meeting:

“A few weeks have passed since my last update and I wanted to start by repeating my sincere thanks to all Society Members and other supporters for their patience and understanding during these very difficult times. I know that there is still a strong feeling among many of you wanting to see Town back out on the pitch sooner rather than later, but of course health and safety is the overriding concern at the moment, as it has been for many months.

“The Society AGM will be going ahead via Zoom link on Thursday 21st January 2021 (7.30pm), and there will be ample opportunity for members to ask detailed questions about both on and off field issues. An agenda and joining instructions will be circulated direct to members separately.  In the meantime, although there was no clubs’ vote on this occasion, the board were fully supportive of the league decision to continue with the current pause, noting that there would be 14 days’ notice in advance of any resumption.

“In addition to acknowledging a duty of care for players, officials, volunteers and other supporters there were lengthy discussions about the club’s finances which, as I say, can be examined in greater detail at the AGM.  For now I think it is fair to say that the club can weather the storm of being mothballed, with little or no activity, again.  We do, however, have some significant challenges, primarily around sponsorship, loss of matchday income, lack of Butler’s Bar hire income and the urgent need to hear some news – which may be some weeks away – about government support manifesting itself in the form of grants rather than loans.  We also have some more immediate day-to-day issues to resolve such as problems with the heating at the stadium as well as slightly longer term issues around player retention and wages on the assumption that the season does recommence in some shape or other but extends into May or June, as seems likely.  There are of course also regular ongoing costs associated with the stadium, including cleaning, not least while St Panteleimon continue to play and the club’s academy continues to operate.

“We remain acutely aware that without regular income from generous monthly donations, and the #GoToTown scheme in particular, the club could not survive. Thank you all once again for your generosity and public spiritedness.  On season ticket purchases specifically, we are mindful that you haven’t exactly had a great deal of football to watch for your money so far this season! Although it is uncertain when, and in what format, the season will resume and it is therefore currently difficult to offer detailed refund options now, I can assure you all that that discussion will be had in due course once things become clearer. But, for now, if any season ticket holders would like to arrange a possible refund at this time please don’t hesitate to get in touch via : chairman@etfc.london

“I’d like to reiterate that the board, on behalf of all members and supporters, will continue to act in the best interests of the club, with a primary focus on the longer term in line with the club’s vision to be an inclusive club for all and a football and social centre for the community, with a range of teams playing at the highest sustainable levels possible. 

“Finally, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and the board to wish everyone connected with the club a Happy Christmas and a healthy new year – let’s all hope 2021 becomes the year of normality! Take care, everyone, and we’ll hopefully see you before too long.”

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