August 02, 2013

Making Savings


Some fiscal proposals by KT POOLIE


Many think it is their duty to right the perceived wrongs of their club. Often it’s not an explicit criticism of the current regime; it’s an indication the fans’ hope and excitement, their desire to see the club progress and their frustration over things they cannot control.

To me, there are some simple things we could do. And we should not be ashamed to look at examples around the country where clubs have identified shortcomings and made changes. Hartlepool may have hard-working, passionate and committed players, owners and staff. But is that enough? What we lack is creativity, imagination, a spark of genius – and not just on the pitch.

Clubs are suffering with the economic climate and the ever-changing fair play rules; indeed the chairman has written several articles explaining the financial issues facing all clubs. So let’s look at what other clubs have done during the summer to address the problem. Following their example and identifying small changes might just allow the manager to bring in that one player he needs.

" Don’t try it if you are one of the little clubs - you’ll be seen as ‘a valiant but poorly run organisation who won’t be missed’"Waste
I don’t mean cutting down on staff, after all every job is crucial to the economy, but surely there are areas of waste we can eliminate. Look at Arsenal, this year they have decided not to renew the annual redecorating contract for their 30 square metre trophy room. Wasted money, saved.

Sunderland too has identified surplus. Now that Titus Bramble is gone, they have moved quickly to redeploy all the ball boys working above row QQ – the ball is rarely kicked so high now. Looking to the medium term, Paulo has plans to avoid translation costs by employing only Italian players. Little things, but big savings.

Budgeting
Liverpool is located on the wrong side of the country for games in Europe so they save on expensive flight tickets by playing for fifth position only. Similarly, Newcastle arranges their end of season party in February- venues are always cheaper in midwinter – why wait until May?

Sponsorship
 Choosing the right business partner is essential. A controversial sponsor will alienate some players, meaning you can leave them behind on the pre-season trip to Portugal. And this saving is boosted by any fine the club can hand out for refusal to wear the shirt.

Leave your troubles behind you
Blue Sky thinking allowed one club to stay in their division last year. Following a rent row at their white elephant stadium, they took the bold decision to simply walk away and ground-share with a near neighbour. Fans will put up with a seventy mile round trip every home match in return for another season in a higher division.

Note: The press will be sympathetic to the unfortunate ex-Premier League giant. After all they are ‘a famous old club who has fallen below their natural level’. Don’t try it if you are one of the little clubs - you’ll be seen as ‘a valiant but poorly run organisation who won’t be missed’ and will find yourself fined and relegated several divisions.

Creative Accounting
Tax evasion is all the rage. Not tax avoidance - that’s clearly wrong. A little-known loophole allows organisations to re-direct 90% of their income through their in-stadia coffee kiosk franchise. Clubs offer a ewe’s milk, half double decaffeinated half-caf, with every season ticket. Known as the SaveBucks initiative, the club’s tax bill is immediately reduced to zero under clause 17.3b of the Exchange Gains and Losses Regulations (offsetting the costs of overseas coffee bean production) – see your tax adviser for details.

Pools are too late for this scheme, of course. The league is negotiating its own deal with HMRC. All clubs will be forced to install coffee experience kiosks and hand over the tax benefits to the management committee.

So there you have it, my suggestions for managing our budget. I’m sure with the right focus groups and public consultation there are many more opportunities. The point is it takes more than hard-work, loyalty and passion to be a club owner in the current climate. So come on Pools, get your thinking caps on! Show some creativity, imagination and genius and we could be flying up the league in 2013/14.