Aber director Crockett shares secrets of Aber’s financial health

THOMAS Crockett isn’t just an Aberystwyth Town director, he’s the Programme Editor and a die-hard Aberystwyth Town supporter and for the editorial piece (See page 21) The Courier spoke to him about the finances of Aber Town and how they stay afloat, in a world where football clubs seem to be  going out of business every week.

The first thing Crockett is eager to get across is that the club doesn’t spend money it hasn’t got, a theory that underpins the boards ethos on how to run the financial side of the team. This is the opposite to how most clubs are run, and one club chairman once exclaimed that you couldn’t create a proper budget for a football club because there are too many unknown factors. It is worth noting that the club that the chairman was in charge of then nearly went out of business and Crockett realises this.

“We hold monthly management accounts and have regular reports from our treasurer, Emyr James. We also have a marketing committee which has input from the students so we can cater for them and encourage them to come to more of the games, hence the student nights.”

He also revealed that manager Tomi Morgan is given a strict budget to adhere to, although once the budget is set he has the freedom to spend the wage budget how he liked.

The club as a whole, had a turnover of £250,000 last year which whilst that pails in comparison to larger clubs, such as T.N.S or Llanelli. Aber hasn’t had the benefit of European Football as both of those sides have in recent years, and even Llanelli in recent months have faced problems. Despite the turnover, the club makes a small loss each year, £7,000 last year, £1,000 two years ago and £10,000 three years ago. Once again, nothing compared to some of the ‘problem’ clubs.

Crockett said there were many reasons for their financial stability, paying tribute to 13 hard working directors, with everyone doing their bit, but their sources of income also provoked interest, in terms of how diverse their income is and how many sources they have.

“Our largest income tends to come from our sponsorship, with £73,000 last year coming from that. Almost all of them coming from local companies, and it is really great to see that the local community is supporting the club, and we’re always conscious of our connection between the club and the local area.

“We’re lucky enough to have 16 sources of income in terms of sponsorship and, the way I see, it is like a table. The more legs you have, the less it matters if something happens and you lose one. Whereas if you have a few legs, if you take one off the table will fall over.

“We get some money from Sgorio and the F.A.W each year but it’s not great, and income from gate receipts only accounted for 7% of our income last year, so you can see how important the sponsorship is. We’ve even gone as far as reducing the admission prices in some areas this year, to  try and get more fans through the gates and more people involved.”

He also expressed his disagreement with the attitude of some financial clubs in their attitudes to spending.

“Some clubs have been known to gamble against next year’s Europa League football income, and spend more in an aim to get that, if they don’t then they get into big trouble, as has been seen with some clubs in the Welsh Premier League in the last few years.

“The only club that do sustainably at the top level of this league are T.N.S and Bangor City. T.N.S have a sustainable venue at Park Hall which can bring in money, their pitch being plastic also means it can be rented out. The fact they are full-time means they are always going to be at the top end of this league, and the money they rake in from European football make it easily sustainable.

“Bangor have a good model for us to follow, their wage bill isn’t too high but their crowds are something we can aim for and, with that, their position in the league.”