Thank you to Lincoln City Director Greg Levine for answering these questions! CLICK HERE for Part Two!
Has the turnout for Wembley given you any clues regarding the size of the projected new stadium?
The stadium project is just one part of the ongoing plan for the betterment of the club. We are looking at all aspects going forward. The loyal support we have is tremendous, and of course, we want to ensure that we can accommodate as many supporters as possible. That said, we have to make sure that all decisions are financially responsible and do not compromise our objectives on the pitch.
Would it be right to say that the current boom in home attendances is significantly improving the club’s financial position further?
As I just mentioned, the number of supporters coming through the turnstiles at Sincil Bank has been really impressive for quite some time now. To average over 8,000 Imps watching each League Two game this season is really pleasing, to say the least. Naturally, this does have a positive impact on the finances at the club. More importantly, it’s impressive for everyone looking in such as new additions to the playing squad as well as to both current and potential new sponsors.
Is there any way the club can increase non-football income from the current facilities at Sincil Bank?
The Legends Lounge, which is being introduced next season, has been created as the current hospitality offering at the stadium is currently at it’s maximum. The new restaurant and facilities in the lounge will offer supporters something different to what is currently available. In a traditional stadium such as ours, it’s difficult to offer brand new facilities, but we are always exploring what is possible to maximise the use of the stadium to give our supporters and the people of Lincoln and Lincolnshire something that is beyond what happens on the field. I also see greater opportunities in the fan zone.
Estimates suggest the club could make around £700,000 from the Checkatrade Trophy run; has any thought been given to how that money will be used?
Any monies raised from the trophy run are of course part of the budget going forward, but any financial income from the competition forms part of a longer-term plan for the future too. We have to always ensure that the future of the club is secure.
Having worked with some massive global brands do you believe you may be able to steer a big sponsorship deal or 2 towards the imps? (Stadium – old and new!), stand and obviously shirt (we had Siemens once).
Sponsorships are something that are crucial to the club. We are proud to work with our partners and they are more than just ‘names’ to the football club and many of them are part of the wider Lincoln community. Sponsors buy into winning and professional brands. I am confident in the way Lincoln is evolving on and off the pitch that we will attract some very interesting partners as well as continuing to work with our existing sponsors. I have already had a few interested parties visit Sincil Bank.
Also if I hear correctly do you have good Premier League contacts for possible loanees to work with the Cowley’s as we progress upwards?
I am lucky to know a number of people across the footballing world. Like any board member, I will do what I can to assist in the process of adding to the wonderful squad of players we currently have at Lincoln FC. The management team (Danny and Nicky) leads the recruitment process. In my experience at McLaren, we were most successful when the decisions were made at the point of most knowledge and not hierarchy.
I also hear you may have good contacts for South African players. An area for us to exploit maybe?
Again much like I’ve just alluded to, the process of bringing players in can be assisted by board members, but decisions and discussions are led by Danny and Nicky. It’s about bringing in the right people as well as the right players wherever they may be based.
Have you had much spare time in your no doubt hectic life to see the Imps play, in particular away from Sincil Bank?
Yes, I just love watching the Imps. I went to Barnet, Crawley, Stevenage and Port Vale. It was wonderful to witness the amazing away support that the Lincoln boys receive at these games.
What inspired you to get involved with Lincoln City and when did you first become aware of the club?
I have a lifelong passion for the sport. My dear friend bought Valencia FC and I have stayed very close to their developments since he bought over the club. Since then I have always looked for the ideal opportunity to join a club where one can really make a difference. When my very close friend introduced me to Clive Nates and they asked if I wanted to get involved in Lincoln FC it was a simple “yes”. It was impossible to ignore what has happened at Lincoln City in the past few years.
How have you found your welcome to the club, have you had much chance to chat with the fans?
Everyone at the club has been very welcoming, the warmth shown to me by the staff, players and supporters has been a particular highlight for me. I was told before I arrived that Lincoln City is a club that is part of the community, and I can agree wholeheartedly with that. Having spent time in the fan zone before games I have laughed, joked and shared stories with so many fans. I doubt anyone knew I was on the board and everyone welcomed me in the most wonderful way.
Have you come and sat/stood with the fans at a match home or away yet? It’s something that Clive Nates has done (I had the pleasure of standing next to him at Gateshead away) and he seems to enjoy it. If you haven’t is it something you would consider doing?
I will be a regular in the stands. I love my football and enjoy it most surrounded by passionate fans, so in short, I have been in the fans end and will definitely be there again next season. I also enjoy singing, despite my voice.
Do you see your involvement with Lincoln City as a long-term venture?
I have been converted quickly into a real Imp fan. So the short answer is yes! The future of Lincoln City is something that really motivates me. I think we have many more exciting times ahead.
Had you looked at investing in another club before choosing Lincoln?
As I said sport previously is something which is a passion of mine, but it had to be the right opportunity with the right club that has a progressive ethos that aligns with my own. I always select challenger brands or businesses. They choose the road less travelled and challenge convention. I believe I’ve found that at this football club.
Given the usual pattern for investing in football usually seems to involve losing the investment how many people have questioned your decision (or even sanity!)?
That depends on what is the driving factors in the investment. The finances in football are widely discussed in the media around the world, especially at the highest levels but the people who know me will know exactly why I decided to move into the industry. I’m fiercely ambitious and I want to be able to utilise my business acumen to help drive Lincoln City forward.
Apart from providing chunks of them to new directors, little has been actively done recently to encourage further share purchases. The Club is riding the crest of a large wave, is it time to encourage more fans to purchase and extend the share ownership? This would increase capital revenues, particularly before some exciting capital projects commence.
Supporters can get involved with the club and assist the club by way of schemes such as the bond for the Elite Performance Centre. That is just one option for supporters to assist financially, while the board have secured the funding to develop the Centre, should the supporters pledge to the bond scheme it will allow the club to utilise the current funds to fund other projects.
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) June 2, 2018