Club update from Craig Hemmings – News

Craig Hemmings has provided the following update for backers:

As we enter the international respite, we are rapidly approaching the one-year anniversary of Mr. Hemings’ death.

We are aware of our fans wanting an update on a number of issues within the club, so I thought it would be appropriate to brief everyone on a number of key topics.

budget

The budget for each football season is decided between the Hemmings family and the management of PNE. The budget was approved well in advance of the new season to allow line managers responsible for day-to-day operations the ability to plan ahead.

While preparing this season’s budget, it was acknowledged that we were moving too many players last season and had some of the burden from costs associated with changes to the football management team and backroom staff. Covid also put additional pressure on the amount of money we were spending just to keep the club going.

For this season, the club has budgeted and moved early in the transfer market to bring in the players selected by the football management team. We also took the opportunity to transfer some players to other clubs that were still under contract, but the manager felt there was no role to play, and some contracts were terminated early. Both cost us money to get it done.

The budget has not changed at any time since the finalization of this season’s budget.

While the thrill of signings on transfer deadline day is admittedly to be expected, getting your act on early is, essentially, getting the players you want at the right price. It’s no secret that we would have ideally liked one or two other players, and we’ve already turned down a huge offer from one of our competitors for one of our players, which, had we taken it, would have freed up even more money. The reason we refused this offer was that the manager did not feel that there were players we could get and he could have made us stronger if we had taken the money offered.

Once the budget is set, it is the Football Department, working with the PNE Executive team, that decides how the money will be spent.

There is a clear determination to build a team that can compete at the end of the tournament and eventually deliver a promotion. In fact, it doesn’t happen in one window and it may take Ryan and his team two or three windows before he settles on his perfect side.

Would the football management team and CEO want a bigger budget? I’m sure they will but constantly increasing the financial shortfall the Hemmings are facing is not an option. Other clubs have gone down this path and fallen into financial difficulties, including management. We will not allow that.

While this is a conscious decision, I would like to dispel the myth that Mr Hemmings left instructions to reduce, fade or stop the club’s funding. I first attended games in Deepdale with my parents in the early 1970s. Me, my brothers and my sister are regular players in every home game and I attend most of the matches away from home. We hope to do this for many years to come both as owners and just as fans.

Premier League and Parachute Payments

After commenting on our budget process, it’s worth commenting on the bigger picture.

The way central media money is being paid creates huge challenges for those of us in the tournament trying to compete. It costs us around £24m each year to keep working. To achieve this, we receive approximately £2.3m from season tickets and another £7.3m in total from the Premier League and Premier League. After other income streams, this leaves my family with an annual shortfall of around £12m which we have to put up at the club every season.

At any given time, there are between three to nine clubs that have ‘umbrella’ payments in the Premier League. In addition to receiving at least £105m for being in the Premier League in any given season, relegated clubs receive up to another £95m paid over three years. Against this back drop we are trying to put together a team to compete and of course there are quite a few league clubs whose income far exceeds our income and who are likewise trying to beat us in promotion.

Extensive discussions are currently underway between the government, the FA, the Premier League and the English Football League in an effort to have a ‘more equitable’ distribution of funds across the English football pyramid system (PL as well as the three English Premier Leagues) such that the disparity is between those with and without paying Parachute can be made easier and give us all a bigger share of the money in the game.

Peter Ridsdale, director of the PNE, was elected last year by other championship clubs to take a seat on the EFL Board (he is now also a member of The Professional Game Board (PGB) which is FA, PL and EFL) and he is working with his fellow EFL teammates to try Find a workable solution. It is extremely important to have one of our managers around that table and with Peter’s experience in football over many years, including being a former PL and Director of the FA Board of Directors, we hope this experience contributes to a resolution on the redistribution. Found in the very near future.

academy

People often comment on our academy and its relative success or failure in bringing young players to our first team.

There are four Academy classes and ours is Class Three.. Class One is reserved for those who are either in the Premier League or who have been there and requires millions of pounds to be put into those academies each season. We aspire to move to Grade 2 but for this to happen, at a minimum, we need an acceptable standard for an all-weather indoor facility. There is no one anywhere in Preston, but we are in discussions to see if this is something we can build alongside other sporting bodies in the city.

Our Academy under Nick Harrison continues to do an outstanding job, and up to eleven alumni of the Academy are currently benefiting from professional contracts with us. Some of these players are currently gaining first-team football experience on loan, and four of them recently had first-team experience with us in the first rounds of the Carabao Cup.

For Academy graduates to have the opportunity to thrive in a first-team environment, you need a football management team that is willing to give them the opportunity. Fortunately with Ryan, Mike Marsh and Paul Gallagher, we have a manager and coaches ready to do just that.

Deepdale and Euxton training ground

While some feel that facilities are less important than the quality of the team, it is essential in attracting and retaining the right players that our facilities are of good quality. Deepdale has been rebuilt into a state-of-the-art stadium that would honor Premier League football and our Under-18 Academy has moved from UCLAN to their own facility in Springfields.

Two years ago we were able to purchase the training ground in Euxton, formerly the home of both Bolton and Wigan, and with a decent investment since the acquisition, Euxton is a facility that any major football team would be proud to own.

future property

Sometimes in football there is always a rowdy minority regardless of the constancy of ownership, looking for the next wealthy owner with a bigger checkbook.

While I was born and raised in Preston and am proud of the state of the club under my family’s tutelage, we would never stand in our way if anyone approached us and could show the finances to take us to the next step. A change of ownership can be a force for good and sometimes it isn’t but only time will tell. Earlier this year, we had discussions with a party that claimed to have the ability to buy and invest to move the club forward.

Fortunately, we were able to determine soon enough that in this case it just wouldn’t work. When and if the next interested party comes, we will work with them and if it can be shown that they can indeed move the club forward, we will be the first to stand aside and wish them the best for the future.

Finally

The purpose of this note was to explain, reassure, and demonstrate that we hear what is being said. I’d like to thank each and every one of our fans for investing in the record number of season tickets sold and attendance so far this season. Other areas being rolled out are being addressed by our backer representatives including gadget supply, retail store, fan zone and restaurants and there will be a series of other announcements soon.

While not everyone will necessarily agree or be happy with what you have indicated, I can assure that as long as my family owns PNE, we will continue to invest and support in the amount of millions of pounds each season. We have a clear strategy and vision for the club, and I repeat once again that when the next big checkbook comes along, we will be the first to wish them well.

thanks for your support.

Craig Hemmings

September 22 2022