Not for the first time in recent years we find ourselves challenged by events that are completely beyond our control. However, as with the challenges we faced in 2014/15 and then again in 2017 and 2018, we will come through this and if we take the right approach, if we stick together, we will come out the other side a better club.
As most of you know, we are a 117 year old club, but what you mightn’t know is that North Shore is the only Sydney AFL Foundation club that still exists as a Premier Division club in its original form. There is a really good reason for this, it’s because over numerous generations North Shore people have hung together through every challenge they have faced, which is what we need to again now.
It is really important to note too, that while the start of the home and away season has been delayed, it has not been cancelled and we need to plan and prepare for a restart at the end of May.
Following the announcement of the shortened season, we have understandably received enquiries about registrations payments and rebates, so I’d like to provide some information about this.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that in reality our ‘season’ runs from November last year to September this year and not just for the home and away games. In addition, we incur costs throughout this whole period that are independent of whether or not we’ve played any games (ground hire, lights, AFL affiliation, insurance, merch, physio for pre-season and training, equipment, coaches etc).
It’s also important to note that a lot of our income is related in one way or another to playing games (ie rego, canteen, bar, sponsorship etc).
We are working to clarify the financial situation and we’ll have a better picture in a week or so’s time, but what we can say at this stage is that, we have a drop in income that is greater than our drop in costs.
Because we put virtually everything we make back into player development and to providing training and playing support and because the redevelopment of the ground drained our reserves, not playing games in 2020 will put a financial strain on the club.
By far the greatest shortfall we have on revenue at the moment relates to registration payments. Over 50% of players had paid at the end of last week, which is pretty good 3 weeks out from the start of the season, but the amount we are still to receive translates to something like $70,000. As you can hopefully see from the preceding information, we actually need those funds to enable the club to continue running. Losing games creates a deficit for us, not a surplus.
Additionally, I think most people would appreciate the fundamental inequity of around 50% of the club helping us through and 50% not contributing.
Putting it plainly, in this difficult time we need everyone’s help. So if you haven’t paid your rego yet, can you please pay it now to help keep the club moving forward and we will work with our sponsors, the council and the AFL to get the best outcome we can. Please contact Sam Jackson if you need to make arrangements for this.
If we do get contributions from everyone and if and it transpires that we can refund some of the registration payments, we will be in a position to do this fairly.
It is really disappointing and frustrating for us to be in this position after the fantastic work that everyone has done to position the club for a great year both on and off the field, but it is what it is now.
Our choice now is to either succumb to the negativity of disappointment and frustration, or to dig in, as our predecessors have done, and focus on what we can each do to create positive outcomes from this, for ourselves and for the club.
I think that choice is pretty simple. I will do everything I can to turn the negatives into positives and I hope everyone of you joins with me in this.
At this stage we don’t have any more information about the recommencement of the season than what has been published by the AFL, but please be assured that we will communicate immediately with you when that changes.
There will be further updates from the club in coming days.