Lincoln City’s board of directors have pledged to fund the equity gap created by the current pandemic in an honest and open address to Imps’ supporters.
With fans not being allowed back into stadiums in the foreseeable future, the existence of the football club could be cast into doubt, as it will be for many up and down the country. These are worrying times indeed and yet somehow, chairman Clive Nates has managed to make the email sent to season ticket holders this morning both helpful, empathetic and fear-allaying.
“As a board, we have pledged further equity funding to assist the Club in bridging the gap financially until supporters are able to return,” wrote Clive.
“Whilst the funds are not unlimited, the board is fully committed to supporting the Club through this tough period. With this in mind, and whilst we acknowledge that this model is not sustainable long term, we need everyone to pull in the same direction to get through the tough period ahead.”
The key here is a non-sustainable model in the long term; the board cannot continue to plug the gap for the long term but have been able to deliver a degree of security in the short term. That may allay some fears fans might have about our ability to see out the season, for example. Other club chairmen may not have the means to support their team, and some might not have the inclination.
The statement came as part of a wider address to season ticket holders regarding their current tickets. I’m sure, if you are a season ticket holder, you will have seen the email, but if not be sure to check junk folders and the like, as that’s where mine pops up.
The three choices on offer are:
- To continue to get the iFollow codes for £10 per game, and a credit for the rest of the match value of your ticket on a pro-rata basis. A full-price adult ticket will be around £5 per game credit, money which can be used against next season’s ticket, or on other promotional items, rather tantalisingly described as ‘money can’t buy’ items. As a collector that excited me…
- The second option is a credit for the full value of the ticket, without the iFollow codes. That is designed to suit families who have multiple season tickets, but only require one iFollow pass. the credit can then be used in the same way as option one.
- Full refund of all outstanding money on a pro-rata basis.
The feedback on the announcement seems to be largely positive, offering a spread of options for the needs of different groups. At this stage, there should be no virtue signalling on social media from those able to leave money in, and I wouldn’t expect to see negative comments for whole families who that pull their money out. Personally, the decision is one I think is best conducted in private, and left at that.
However, what I would say is that the club have clearly thought this through long and hard, but Clive’s words around equity funding should not breed complacency. Just because we have a group of people who will be able to help the club through a challenging time does not mean we can sit back and relax, nor that we should expect a striker to replace Callum Morton, for example. What it does do, hopefully, is put people’s mind’s at ease about the immediate future and perhaps give some a good night’s sleep.
We are lucky to have Clive and the rest of the board in charge of our club and certainly should never take them for granted,