Date: 16th November 2018 at 6:30am
Written by:

Thank you to Lincoln City Vice-Chairman Roger Bates for answering questions from some of the members of Vital Lincoln City.

Roger Bates, who was appointed Vice-Chairman at the same time as Clive Nates was appointed Chairman, said the following for the article that was published on the Official Site when both appointments were announced:

“Having contributed to the running of the club in a number of ways over the past seven years, I feel honoured to have been chosen as Vice Chairman by the Board of Directors.

“The club has been on an exciting journey over the past couple of seasons and, working with Clive, the Executive Committee and the Board, the aim is to sustain our momentum and build upon that success by developing the club on and off the pitch.”

And now the for Q&A, which is on two pages! You can get to page two by clicking “Click here for the next page”, which can be found at the bottom of the article!

Given that any new stadium is likely to be some years away at the very least and that capacity will certainly be an issue if we are fortunate enough to be promoted this season. When are the club looking to make any decisions on the feasibility of the expansion of Sincil Bank be it temporary or permanent?

We are currently talking to consultants, and other experts in ground improvements, to identify possible options for increasing the capacity of Sincil Bank. We anticipate being able to decide whether to undertake any projects ahead of the 2019/20 season in the early part of next year.

Is it worth putting outstanding youth players on a full-time pro contract so the club can get a transfer fee rather than the paltry amounts on offer if one of the top clubs comes in and steals them from the youth set-up for peanuts in compensation?

If an Academy player is considered to have strong potential to become a first team player then we would discuss with the pro department management team whether to offer them a professional contract (as we did with Ellis Chapman).

Is the Deranged Ferret your finest literacy moment?

Almost certainly!

Following the change of Chairman, and also new people joining the Board, what is the current policy of LCFC regarding a Ground move to Beevor Street as opposed to the redevelopment of Sincil Bank. The previous Chairman seemed to be in favour of the Beevor Street option, is this still the case?

We are actively assessing two options: remaining at Sincil Bank or moving to the Western Growth Corridor. Until we understand all the facts and costs we are not in a position to decide on a preferred option. What we have said is that we have no plans to relocate outside the city boundary, are not actively seeking other options and will not do anything that leaves the club with unsustainable debt on its balance sheet or without having control of the stadium.

In the event of promotion what contingencies are being planned regarding investment into the squad?

We are consistently assessing and planning for the future based on a number of scenarios. We have recently welcomed several new investors to the football club and continue to explore opportunities for further investment, either from within the existing group of directors and investors or from new sources.

How many people are watching the Imps on iFollow overseas and here?

We have around 800 active users for games, either as international subscribers or UK-based audio-only services. In addition, for the games which have been streamed in the UK, we have had between 200-500 subscribers on a match-only pass.

How did the design for the home shirt come about? How much input did the club have and was this input done by committee? If so, was a bit of everyone’s suggestion catered for, hence the end product of how it looks now.

The shirt was designed working with the design team from Errea and informed by sample survey’s taken in the club shop. Fashion and shirt design is, of course, subjective, however, we do evaluate all major and minor decisions and of course, have taken on board the learning from this process.

Do we own our training ground? Or is it a long-term lease? if so for how long is the lease?

The Elite Performance Centre is on a long-term lease. Perhaps unsurprisingly, landowners with the quality of land we required to produce great playing surfaces are rarely keen to sell or would look for an unaffordable premium in their asking price. For this reason, and the significant benefits the Scampton site offered us, we decided that leasing was the preferred way forward for the club.

Can we expect an improvement in communication with Shareholders under the new set-up? We used to get a shareholder report and accounts available 5 months after the year end- in recent years it has been 9. This also compares unfavourably to the much-maligned Grimsby town FC who have theirs ready in 6 months after year-end. They also have more detailed reporting, as did we several years ago.

We are certainly keen to develop our communication strategies with all supporter groups, including shareholders. The annual financial statements will be made available after we have completed any business in the January transfer window, which will be around 7 months after year-end and approximately 2 weeks ahead of the AGM.

Who sets prices in the stadium catering? Can water & soft drinks be made much cheaper (£1 or less)? It would benefit families and likely boost sales & revenues.

The prices are set by the catering partners. We have taken on board your feedback and will review with our catering partners.

Do you expect the CEO to make sure the Club breaks even this year?

Ensuring a break-even situation for the current financial year is not one of our objectives. The board believes the club has a unique opportunity under Danny and Nicky to progress and has thus approved a growth strategy that looks at utilising surplus funds generated in the prior year as well additional funds contributed by new and existing investors. This strategy of investing in assets, systems and people will have a negative effect on the income statement in the immediate future. The only way the club would generate a profit in the current season would be through another lucrative FA Cup run.

Allocated or unallocated seating at away games?

We believe that unallocated seating at away games is easier for our supporters and we work with the host club to reach the best outcome for both parties. However, we respect the fact that the host club has the right to take the final decision.

One other thing to note is that if the host club takes an open unallocated seating policy, then the capacity has to be reduced by 10% from within the unallocated areas.

Could the Club please announce earlier when Away games will be pay on the day? I.e. is when it is patently obvious they will not sell out e.g. Cheltenham, Tranmere, Port Vale, Yeovil etc, etc.

This decision is set by the host club and we are simply the messenger. We do encourage the host club to provide as much information as possible, as early as possible. However, I understand that with our regular number of travelling fans, away clubs are reluctant to make this call too early as it could have a significant impact of their matchday hosting costs (i.e. policing charges).

Is it correct that you can no longer guarantee to keep the same season ticket seat next season by subscribing within the required purchase time? If so what was the thinking behind this?

No, this is incorrect.

Posted by Vital Lincoln City on Thursday, 15 November 2018

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