Dear fellow supporters,
This week we launched an exciting new season ticket package, and while many of you have applauded the initiative and signed up with enthusiasm, others have raised some questions and of course it’s only right that you, as members of the country’s number one fan-owned club, do so.
The days of football fans simply turning up and watching their team once a fortnight, leaving all concerns of finance and balancing the books to a rich owner, are over. There are far too many cases of clubs in crisis to mention, and the stark reality is that football has changed. There isn’t a vast pool of money out there, especially in the first division, and while we’d all like lower prices and a better product, we have to face up to reality and do our best with what we’ve got.
Last season we emerged from administration still saddled with debt which we’ll not pay off for another 15 months or so. We received a cash boost post-admin last May from the Supporters’ Society, Business Trust and the Colvin family totalling £300,000, as well as further cash injections for shares from the Society, DBBT and individuals over the course of this season which combine to almost another £100,000.
To continue paying off our legacy of debt, and putting a team on the park which can compete for the title and promotion to the SPL, we need substantial funding again this year and as the majority shareholders, the Supporters’ Society, have already committed to raising £70,000 mostly funded by Gold and Platinum members.
We also launched the DFC 50 Bond scheme with an initial £100,000 committed in writing and then announced at our last Q&A, and in trying to be transparent and refute some ill-informed rumours it was announced when this was banked a fortnight ago. The bonds have proven extremely popular, with a further £25,000 committed on the day of launch, and many other notes of interest which the CEO and commercial department are working hard to secure.
In this climate, to receive so many applications for bonds at £5,000 a piece is fantastic, and with around 500 members paying either £10 or £100 a month for the Society’s membership schemes, that’s also a vital source of revenue and we are extremely grateful to those fans who have the means for supporting all these initiatives.
But while we realise times are tough, we need to ask all fans – in other words, the club’s owners! – to help us out as well. After freezing season ticket prices for three years despite a VAT increase and our well-documented financial problems, the board concluded that an increase was necessary except for juveniles. However, by offsetting this with a host of value-added deals which combine to give around £1000 back for every £297 paid, we believe that fans are actually getting far more value for money than ever before.
The real value for money the fans are getting is a club still in existence and a competitive team on the park. That doesn’t happen without making a few sacrifices, and you, the fans, have made it clear that while you’re keen for us to bring in external investment, you also want to ensure YOUR say in the destiny of YOUR club. And that means supporting us financially through your attendance and commitment to a season ticket if possible.
We’ve got 1,800 people paying a pound a week for the Dee Promotions Lottery, but a few years ago that number was 5,000, and we’d like those who can to sign up for that as well. So whether it’s a Gold membership, a weekly lottery, paying at the gate or buying a season ticket, we need you to do what you can while we try our best to get out of this division and back where we belong.
This season we had 6 home games out of 18 where crowds dropped off dramatically as, without the prospect of a play-off, these games were perceived as meaningless by some fans. Unfortunately that meant that for a third of the season, our gate income was well below budget, and that’s had a significant knock-on effect. That’s another reason we need to ask all Dundee fans to share the pain and take up a season ticket if you can, so we can actually budget based on income we are sure of.
We can’t afford to give the manager a budget, and then end up unable to pay the wages because the funds aren’t there, so if we don’t sell as many tickets as last year then the budgeted spend will have to go down in line with the budgeted income. That should come as no surprise to anyone. Therefore, we need the fans to give us their incredible support and commitment once again. We, the board, give our commitment to look for every possible revenue stream, and put a team on the park which will challenge to get back to the SPL.
While we can’t please everyone all of the time, we’re confident that the packages on offer represent unprecedented value for money…with more benefits to be added, and all at little or no cost to the club. We’re trying to change how we operate as a club and get back on an even keel, not just putting our hand out for more money from the fans, but giving a lot back in return. It’s YOUR club and with your support we can be successful on the park and off it.
Yours in trust,
Director, Dundee Football Club
Director, Dundee FC Supporters’ Society