Eastbourne Borough board take unusual step to help cashflow issue - full statement

Priory Lane
Priory Lane

Eastbourne Borough has taken the unusual step of asking fans, supporters and partners to help them with their cashflow issue.

The club parted company with manager Lee Bradbury and announced the club appeal to help with the financial situation. An early exit from the FA Cup, withdrawal of promised funds from an investor and no home games in October have been a perfect storm for the Priory Lane club.

This is the full statement by Borough’s CIC Board

“Help us bridge the gap!” Today the Board of Eastbourne Borough FC has taken the unusual step of issuing an urgent invitation to supporters, sponsors and partners. A combination of no Saturday matches for the whole of October, an early exit from the FA Cup and the withdrawal of promised funds from an investor earlier in the summer has left the Club with a short-term cash-flow issue.

We stress that this is short term, and that the longer future of the Club is not in doubt. But the Board needs to raise an estimated £40,000 to cover the shortfall created by the above “perfect storm” of events, in order to keep the current playing squad together until the Christmas period, by which time we anticipate that the critical cash flow will have receded.

As both Langney Sports and Eastbourne Borough, we have always been woven into the fabric of this town and this community. We are just like you. We want to continue our wonderful work in the community, whether in local schools, in the provision of football for 400 boys and girls and those less physically abled, or our Owlets nursery, or provision for our elderly citizens, largely without the help of grant funding. Now, just this once, we ask you – businesses and individuals – to help us to Bridge the Borough Gap!

This is more than a begging bowl. It is a fresh partnership, which can benefit all sides. Please consider any or all of these options:

- the purchase of shares. The Club has approximately 800,000 £1 shares available for purchase and on which 35% tax relief can be claimed.

- donations through bucket collections at future home games

- sponsoring matches, players, stands or indeed the entire stadium

- getting your friends down to Priory Lane more regularly, taking advantage of new ticket deals on offer or bringing the family down for Sunday lunch in our excellent Full Thyme restaurant.

- six-month or twelve-month loans, interest-free and with guaranteed repayment.

Interim Board Chairman, David Blackmore added, “This is the tightest financial situation the club has faced, possibly ever, and certainly since the League’s ill-fated Setanta sponsorship deal a decade ago. We are certain that we enjoy widespread goodwill throughout the town. All we need is for supporters and sponsors to turn that goodwill into tangible support.

“We have a reputation for careful management and steady financial planning. But it is no secret that a major investor withdrew his promised financial support for the club, just a few weeks after Lee and his assistant Shaun Gale were appointed and their budget fixed – at a level designed to compete in the top half of the table. The Board is as ambitious for success as every supporter, and remains so. But the timing could not have been worse. Without the anticipated investment we have battled on, hand to mouth, over the last two or three months. But we are hit with the perfect storm: a budgetary black hole, the FA Cup exit and the lack of any home games in October.”

Blackmore continued: “We are this week making savings to the playing and managerial budgets, but the simple reality is that to keep the core of the current playing squad together, we urgently need to build that bridge through to Christmas. December and January are usually good months for the club’s cash-flow. Let’s all help to gain the breathing space.

“The Directors are working incredibly hard to raise funds for the club and many of them have personally helped the club financially. Priory Lane buzzes with activities. We will always, always give more than we take. We are at your heart, and we have your needs at heart. Remember we were the National League Community Club of the Year in 2018. We have some of the best facilities in non-league football.

"The 3G pitch has helped us to build our youth and community activities and it is more than contributing positively to the finances of the club. We have exciting plans to expand these offerings including a new academy, an elite youth coaching programme and revamped holiday courses, which will all help create much needed income but these things take time to get right.

“So the medium and long term are bright. We have values, we have energy, we have belief. We have an unshakeable commitment to this town. Eastbourne Borough proudly carries the town’s name far and wide. Priory Lane will be a hub of your community for years and decades to come. It is simply the short term that we need to tackle.”

David and football chairman John Bonar, on behalf of the whole Board, plan a Q&A – date to be announced shortly – to answer any questions or concerns from supporters. “We will be as transparent and open as possible,” said Bonar. “We are football people just like you. Catch us in person or, to sign up for shares or other help great or small, send us a mail on chairman@ebfc.co.uk “

Potential sponsors and business advertisers can contact commercial manager Guy Pearson on guy@ebfc.co.uk