Staying Viable - Arbroath's enviable financial model

Last updated : 19 March 2009 By Fargone
Prudent Lichties buck recession with profit

WHILE MANY of Scotland's senior football club's are struggling to keep their books balanced in the face of the ongoing global recession, Arbroath FC appear to be bucking the trend and have just announced their third annual trading profit in a row.

At the club's annual general meeting, chairman John Christison revealed that they had a surplus of just under £42,000 for the year ending in May 2008 and that the interim figures for the current year were equally encouraging.

He told shareholders in what is now a limited company—Arbroath FC was, until relatively recently, a member-owned club—"at a time when many football clubs are experiencing financial difficulties, with some finding themselves in serious trouble, Arbroath FC continues to have a positive bank balance and continues to record a profit which is up again on the previous year.'

He added, "We are projecting another set of healthy accounts for this year as well."

The glowing financial report is all the more remarkable given that players' wages over the period increased by £20,000 to £153,000—much of the rise resulting from bonuses paid out for earning promotion to Division Two.

This was, however, more than balanced out by a rise in income from sponsorship, donations, advertising and hospitality from a modest £38,000 to over £96,000.

Mr Christison said, "We enjoyed a large increase in revenue from our new hospitality suite."

The club has also been awarded £40,000 in grant aid from the SFA towards the cost of upgrading Gayfield's dressing rooms and floodlights to bring them in line with UEFA standards.

On the playing side, manager John McGlashan told the shareholders that his side were still determined to consolidate their status in division two after winning promotion via the play-offs at the end of last season and that every effort would be made to avoid the play-off this time around.

Other fans reaction (from P&B)

Stevo (Brechin C)
Hats off to Arbroath, they've sacraficed quality on the pitch in order to sort out their finances over the course of the last 5 years of so. They've struggled majorly in the 2nd division and only finished in 4th place in the 3rd but they will be now reaping the rewards. If they consolodate their place in the division then I'm sure McGlashan will be given some money to play with in order to push Arbroath a bit higher next season.

I'm pretty sure we were in the black before Iain Campbell spunked all that money on experienced has-beens that came to the Glebe for one last pay cheque. Not to mention all the legal fees that we had to pay out whilst Campbell was trying to sue us for 'unfair dismissal', that really hit us hard. We spent a lot of money trying to stay in the 1st division but now we are suffering because of it.

We made a modest £4,000 profit last season which isn't much but always good to see after making a loss of over £70,000 the season before that. At the start of this campaign I believe we were in debt to the tune of £83,000. I think we might make an even better profit this season...we've recieved compensation from Shamrock for Michael O'Neill and apparently £30,000 for Gary Twigg. We'll also have our payments from Aberdeen for letting their reserves ruin our pitch during the week and if we get into the play-off's (fingers crossed) then we'll make a few bob off that as well.

AUFC1920 (Ayr U) Arbroath are ahead of their time.

Other clubs around the country will be looking to adopt their business model very, very soon. That is, if they can survive to do so.

I know it may be boring at times, but long term future is a very big strength, just ask all the Gretna fans!!!

If all teams did this, we would all still be here, and all find our sustainable levels (Killie in the 1st division, etc