Tuesday, 9 January 2018

2018 starts here

Happy new year folks - welcome to 2018.

This isn’t quite the match-preview I though I’d be writing to herald a new Championship pre-season.

Originally it was going to mention the rich history of the Law Cup (first played May 7, 1921 in front of 6.000 spectators at The Athletic grounds: final score nil-nil); the ins, outs and cross-overs between us and Oldham (ex-Hornets Danny Bridge, Danny Rasool, Jack Holmes to the ‘yeds; ex Oldham’s Lewis Palfrey, Miles Greenwood, David Allen, Luke Adamson, Richard Lepori and Gary Middlehurst now at Hornets); and - of course - the return of the Ginger General Paul Crook to Spotland in ill-fitting red and white hoops (1,499 points for Hornets, equalling the 82 year club record).

Originally we were going to write about the excitement for one of the most keenly anticipated Law Cups for many a year.

But excitement for the new season has been tempered by the news that an unforeseen hole in Hornets finances due to the collapse of a key sponsor has led to a forced recalibration of the budget for 2018. It is fair to say that this is a concern for fans, but when a club operates on such fine financial margins as Hornets does, any shortfall or minor miscalculation can cause an immediate and damaging knock-on effect.

Whilst Hornets’ small management team (helped by supporter volunteers) burns the midnight oil balancing the books and managing the fall-out, it’s worth reminding fans that - as a members-owned club - we ‘owners’ also have a responsibility for helping address issues arising.

As a fan-owned club, top-down investment must come from the owners - that’s you and me (if you’re a member). The club has had a pretty good run as a fan-owned concern over the last 10 years: trophies lifted, finals won, promotion gained - but all of this creates an increasing financial burden and, as fans and owners, we have to find ways to help alleviate this.

There are some pretty straightforward ways: become a member on standing order, increase your level of membership, sponsor a player/game/matchball or chuck a couple of quid in the bucket collection - every little helps. But the immediate need is for more than a little. In an ideal world Hornets would find 90 benefactor fans who’d invest £500 in the team to cover the shortfall. But the world we live in is less than ideal. All we can do at TLCRF80mins - as fans, members and lovers of this club - is implore everyone to help out in whatever way they can (we’ll be sponsoring a matchball later in the year - and auctioning off the places round our table, so keep an eye open for that one).

Having struggled back from the dead to put our club in the Championship - against most odds and expectations - is a remarkable feat, but we can’t sit back and admire the achievement. Passive fan-ownership is ok for ongoing survival - it will give you relative success in League 1. But If we are to raise our game as a club and become an established Championship side, we need to find ways to raise enough cash to make that possible. And we can’t wear ‘the smallest budget in the league’ as a badge of underdog honour any more. There are teams here with ten-times our budget - and if we are to compete, we need a bit more financial firepower.

We know as well as anyone that Hornets don’t have a secret millionaire lurking amongst us, and we know that everyone is skint after Xmas - but our hard-working, battling, amazing little club needs our help.

As we never tire of saying - every penny raised helps make us stronger and more secure. Offers of Help/investment/donations to new Hornets CEO Steve Kerr on 01706 648004 - or DM us via Twitter @TLCRF80mins

See you Wednesday night.