Chair of CFU Trust Board, Robert Osbourn, said: “CFU welcomes the open and honest statement issued by the Club today alongside the figures. However, the financial losses announced by the Club today are truly shocking and United fans will regard the losses as a damning indictment of those responsible for running the football club over the past few years, including the periods concerned. CFU is disappointed that the Club’s statement does not include an apology to fans.”
“Having been instrumental, in calling for a full audit, in common with other shareholders, CFU takes no pleasure in seeing the outcome, but feels vindicated in having pressed the club to have a more in-depth financial examination than had occurred for a number of years.”
“CFU remains very grateful to Paul Barry for his continued investment that, clearly, is what is keeping the Club afloat at the moment.”
“CFU recognises, however, that a new Board is now in place and that it is working hard to bring in new revenues and fresh investment and we look forward to learning more about the plans the Club has to that end at the forthcoming shareholders meeting. CFU will offer the Board any support we can in getting the Club back on to a sound footing.”
Accounts can be seen here via the link https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/00482197/filing-history
CLUB STATEMENT - 2017-18 ACCOUNTS FILED
“The Club has now filed its annual accounts at Companies House. The accounts were audited by Price Bailey. They show a loss of £834,830 for last season and a restated reported loss for the year ended June 2017 of £882,691. The previous reported loss for the prior year was £693,687.
For transparency we are publishing everything today so all shareholders and fans can see the full picture. The accounts will be sent separately to all shareholders in the usual way and a date in early May will be confirmed in due course for the Shareholders Meeting, where we will obviously discuss the financial performance in more detail. We will make sure as many of the Board are there as possible.
Before then - and on behalf of the whole Board - Shaun Grady (Director of Business) adds the following for supporters:
First there is no hiding away from the fact these are significant losses. We are acutely aware it paints a disappointing financial picture. The fact that many other clubs at our level are experiencing very similar positions does not make the losses any easier to swallow. Without question the finances of lower league football are tough and getting tougher. Any Club at this level needs sustained investment if it is to survive yet alone thrive.
Everyone at the Club is enormously grateful for Paul Barry’s support. As majority shareholder his investment has been critical in the past and it has without question helped us through recent seasons. Every fan at the Club owes him a huge debt. He doesn’t have to do it but has done so consistently because he loves the Club and it is no exaggeration to say that the Club would not be here without him.
It is however unrealistic to expect him to continue to meet losses of this nature indefinitely. So as a Club that means two things. First we need to look at other potential investment sources and control costs to help secure our long term future - and all the Board have been very active over recent months in trying to secure new funding.
It would not be sensible to give a running commentary but talks are continuing with a number of potential new partners. Everyone at the Club should remain confident that we can secure the funding we need over the medium term. Cambridge United has a lot to offer and as we know from our conversations the global brand of the City and the University are also significant assets for us a Club.
We also obviously need to look at costs. The audit has highlighted significant failings in the Club’s financial processes. These have now been strengthened and put right over recent months which means we now have much more timely and reliable management information than the Board had previously. We will look carefully at our cost base for next year but no one should think there are simple solutions. We do need to cultivate different revenue streams - and the business side of the Club is for example an important source of income. And alongside that, we are committed to maintaining a competitive playing budget for the future - recognising that there are still five games and fifteen points left to play for this season.
Finally we want all fans to know that as a Board we are working hard to put things right and move the Club forward. Mistakes have been made in the past and we obviously hold up our hands accepting our part in them. Statements were also made in good faith which perhaps created a false sense of our financial position which we should have challenged and tested more. As stated earlier our previous financial systems developed over many years were not adequate for a £5m turnover business.
We also know that as members of the Board we are the custodians of a Club that means a lot to the supporters, shareholders, the City, the community and many thousands of people. It means a huge amount to all of us as well and, working with Paul, we will do everything we can to make sure the Club moves forward on and off the pitch."