Read the Chairman's column from today's Matchday ProgrammeToday is the third League game of the season with the fixture at Leyton Orient postponed due to the closure of the M11. I am informed that the extra hours on the coach parked on the motorway for Russ/Neale and the rest of the squad was good for team building! The game will now take place on Tuesday 16th October 2012.
As you are all too aware we have had an indifferent start to what promised to be (and still does) an interesting season. The loss at Crewe in the Carling Cup came as a shock to all, the Swindon game was one to savour but once again (as on TV last season) the away game at Notts County left a lot to be desired. It is now up to the current squad of players to start earning their keep, as it were, and perform to the potential we (and Neale) know they can. With another home game against Carlisle next Saturday, we have the opportunity to secure six home points.
With regards to the size of squad you are no doubt aware of the new Football League salary capping rules which put restrictions on how much a club can spend on player's wages based on a reduced percentage of income a club receives. The result of this, and due to reduced HUFC Season Ticket income, projected income to the Club and reduced corporate sponsorship, is that HUFC has now reached the percent allowed to spend on players.
If the Club now requires loan or permanent players it has to seek FL approval and must increase its income or reduce costs. As this column has mentioned before the Club is in favour of such economic restrictions but of course clubs need flexibility and one thing which is not flexible is the current version of the players' Contract of Employment, which is set in stone (possibly in the late stoneage) by the PFA. I think the dissection of that needs to be next on the FL agenda. Until that becomes more flexible, clubs will struggle to compete if they have limited income and cannot reduce their player costs when necessary.
One thing that is amazing is that the clubs who go in to administration can still spend money and bring in loan players (e.g. Portsmouth) yet HUFC cannot. Hopefully one day someone at the FL will encompass the whole problem of football finance and not just tinker with sections of it.
Speaking of tinkering, the Club still awaits progress on obtaining the Ground Lease as part of the possible re-development of the area around Victoria Park. We hope things start to gain momentum now that the summer break is over. There has been a lot of work done around the ground in the close season for which we thank the ground staff. This included the high level painting of the HCFE and Smith & Graham Stands and the painting of all kiosks, toilets and turnstiles. The Victoria Lounge, Centenary Lounge and PFS rooms have been redecorated, as have the Executive Boxes and also the Dressing rooms.
Although, as noted above, season ticket sales are down this season, the Club and owners would like to thank all of you who purchased them and also thank all our sponsors who have renewed their various sponsorships with us this season.
During the league football summer break we have lost a few players and gained some new faces (and we wish them all well) and we hope you, the fans, had a good summer - and enjoyed the Olympics and the rain!
So now it's back to school for some and back to work for others (including our players!). Let's hope the coming months are successful to all.
Enjoy today's match as we welcome everyone associated with Scunthorpe United to Victoria Park.