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Vanarama Conference Premiership


Gulls players on less than minimum wage

It has been claimed that some Torquay United players were signed on contracts below the minimum wage.   Earlier in the year Gulls players were reportedly earning an average of £375 a week, still below the average for the Conference.

Torquay has been in financial difficulties since it was taken over by a consortium of local businessmen. The club is in danger of being relegated from the National League.

Big losses at Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green Rovers racked up losses of £2.9m last year and have accumulated debts of £5.4m.   They are bankrolled by their wealthy green industrialist owner, Dale Vince, formerly a New Age traveller.  The players are forbidden to eat red meat and red meat products are banned at the ground which means that high quality veggie burgers are on offer.

Takeover bid at Woking

A takeover bid is in the offing at Woking.   A consortium of lounge members led by a local businessman is interested in taking over.  In the year to 31 May the Cards posted losses of £437,000.  Finances have been tight there for some time.   The club is currently mid-table in the National League.

Majority shareholder Peter Jordan, who has pumped £1.5m into the club, is believed to have resigned from the board.

Gulls could close

Torquay United could be forced to close.   One problem is that attendances have been falling.  Only 1,558 watched their home game against Guiseley, 250 less than their break even figure of 1,800.

Financial position at Kidderminster improving

The dire financial position at Kidderminster Harriers is improving, but the club is far from being out of the woods.   The playing budget has been slashed by 50 per cent.

The difficulty for a club in this sort of situation is that it can get into a spiral of decline from which it is difficult to recover.   Results suffer, the club gets relegated and attendances fall, making recovery difficult. Cup runs, which can provide valuable revenue and publicity, become less likely.

Torquay takeover completed

The takeover of Torquay United by a consortium of 10 local businessmen led by former striker Dean Edwards has at last been completed. Because of the uncertainty, only 57 season tickets have been sold for next season.

Ashley Gateshead rumours denied

Rumours that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley was interested in buying Gateshead have been denied.   The notion was that the Conference side would be used to develop young Magpies players, but that could be achieved anyway through a link up.

Five potential buyers have come forward, including ones from Texas and the south of France.  Current chairman Graham Wood has put £10m in the club over the last ten years.

Gateshead FC for sale

Gateshead owner Brian Wood has put the club up for sale.   He has bankrolled his home town club for the past nine years but has not been able to achieve his ambition of returning them to the Football League after an absence of 55 years.   At the age of 71, he feels it is time to call it a day.

Bristol Rovers sue Sainsbury's

As Bristol Rovers prepare for a play-off final that could return them to the Football League after one season, they are also appearing in the High Court to sue Sainsbury's.

The supermarket chain was going to bulldoze the Memorial Ground to build a supermarket.   However, with the changes in the retail sector, they have pulled out of the scheme.   They claim that it is because they are unhappy with conditions in the planning permission that restrict the number of trucks that can deliver at night.

New stadium plans could boost Imps

Former Football League clubs find the Conference something of a challenge.   There is only one automatic promotion place with one promotion place being awarded through the lottery of play offs.  The revenue of clubs is hit badly while they have to try and adjust their budgets.   Hereford United went under and are being reborn as a phoenix club.