You may recall that CFU undertook to collect questions from members and the wider fanbase, to be posed on their behalf for answer at the CUFC Shareholder's Meeting which is scheduled for 30th April). Robert Osbourn, CFU Chair, has sent the list of questions received to the Club this week, so that officials have sufficient time to consider the answers.
The questions are reproduced below.
1 Has Paul Barry increased his stake in the club, as there has been no official acknowledgement to that effect?
2 Is the Manchester United money still ring fenced? If not, when and how did this change?
3 At the 2017 Shareholders meeting, in March, the Finance Director predicted a small surplus for the current year (2016/17). What occurred between that prediction being issued and reported on and the actual turnout at the end of June being a loss of nearly £700,000, even though there had been additional inputs by Directors?
4 What has changed from last year where we were predicting a break even position or small surplus in operating profits?
5 When Messrs Grady and Daniels were interviewed on the radio in December, following the departure of Mr Doggett, they refuted speculation that the Club was facing losses in the region of £600k. We now know this speculation was not far from the truth. Did these Directors mislead fans and shareholders?
6 In the Directors report, the club says it expects “to show a small loss this season [2017-18]”. Does this take account of monies received from the sales of Will Norris and Luke Berry, or are these excluded?
7 Has the Board implemented any cost reductions or identified increased net income, to help ensure the aim of breaking even in 2018-19?
8 Has any money been ring-fenced for redevelopment?
9 Was a business plan for the school holiday programme prepared and approved by the Board of Directors in advance of its start date? How was its progress monitored and by whom. At what point was the Board informed that its budget would not be achieved?
10 The annual report says that the Board will take a more day-to-day role in the running of the club in future. I assume this monitoring role previously fell to the now-departed CEO, so does the Board accept this is a damning assessment of both his performance and that of the Board itself in not picking up on the spiralling costs in-year?
11 Does the Board accept that the 16-17 operating loss (£694k), when compared to the 15-16 loss (£387k), appears even worse when one considers (a) that 15-16 included £170k expenditure relating to the departure of Richard Money and (b) that 16-17 includes £250k FAC revenue and a £195k increase in external funding?
12 The CUFC website “Who’s Who” section lists 32 members of staff (excluding Board members). Of the 32 people listed, 25 have job titles that include “Chief”, “Head”, and “Manager” etc. Is it possible for a company the size of CUFC to financially sustain so many senior roles (eg Luton have 14 and Mansfield have 12)? Why is it that CUFC has all these senior roles, when other clubs in the league seem to be able to manager greater success with fewer senior staff? What is the wage bill for these staff as a % of turnover?
13 Does the club plan to carry on with the excess staff levels or will they try and live within its means?
14 What is the budget for backroom staff, compared with the playing budget?
15 Youth set up appears to cost the club £120k - why is this and when are we going to see a return for home grown players sold?
16 What unbudgeted costs were incurred for the stadium and pitch maintenance and what was the amount of that additional cost?
17 How much is spent on non-first-team personnel?
18 Let every penny of every transaction made by the club be available for scrutiny by CFU. No hiding behind so-called ‘confidentiality’ and commercial sensitivity rubbish. Let our fans group know exactly the +/- in our accounts.
19 On what date did the CUFC Board vote to set up a company for the China Project?
20 According to Companies House, a new Company - CAMBRIDGE UNITED CHINA COLLABORATIONS LIMITED - was incorporated in November 2017. CUFC Ltd appears to have invested £300,000 in this venture. Please could the board give some indication of the business case for this investment? When can we expect a return on the investment? In light of the significant losses recently revealed in the last FY's accounts was it really sensible to commit £300,000 to this venture? Jez George is listed as a Director. What is the structure of the Board of this new company?
21 Does Jeremy George still have a role at the club? Does he draw any income from the club? If he is CEO, what does he do day-to-day, with Ben Strang in charge of Football Operations, Nick Fairbairn in charge of Partnerships, for instance?
22 Why has the club changed reporting accountants to KPMG this year? Is there any cost implication for the change?
23 How does one qualify to be a CUFC director? Does it depend on expertise, investment or democracy ...... that kind of thing?
24 Is the board going to review its misguided policy regarding concessions in Main Stand Blocks C & D? This has resulted in angering many long term fans who have financially supported the Club through difficult times for many years. Instead of producing additional income (at the expense of alienating many loyal fans, some of which have not renewed their season tickets) I suspect this commercial decision has back-fired. In order to reunite all those affected and to get fans back on side, will the board reverse this ill-thought out policy? Irrespective of a “price suitable for everyone somewhere in the ground” all fans have their favourite communal area bonded over many years.
25 How many shares does each board member own?
26 Will the Club make it a pre-requisite of the new first team coach to give academy graduates and young players more opportunities in the Football League?
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