I see the Southland Outdoor Stadium Trust made the papers again today. They’ve been regular attendees here, here, here and here. Yet no movement or action to resolve the massive pile of shit they are in.
No mention of the fact they are eight months overdue in submitting their latest set of financials to the Charities
Cot Case Commission, but here’s an interesting thing.
Many years ago, as I was muddling around auditing Poms who had never been audited before, a job came up as the grandly titled “vice president of marketing” at a division one Scottish football club in a small town (they had aspirations).
I applied, half-jokingly, and got an interview. I was shown around the grounds (which were very similar to Rugby Park) and told about the parlous state of their finances.
The one thing they did have going for them was that their local fans were fanatical. They would turn up to watch the first XI play each other if there was a ball involved.
I didn’t get the job, but on the train back to London I made a two-page list of revenue generating ideas and sent them to the club CEO.
This included things like renting the first XI’s changing room (similar to the Stags’ dressing room) to everyone from local stag parties through to local management teams wanting to hold a strategic planning day. The room held that sort of messianic thrall over the locals that this idea could have conservatively generated GBP10,000 in its first year of operation.
They could rent the main pitch for a summer five-a-side league. Normally only the club teams (two) were allowed on the hallowed turf, so this would go gangbusters and generate GBP2,000 in player fees (GBP2.50 per game) and three times that amount in bar takings while it was on.
During the football season, they could use their not insubstantial catering facilities to run a “pie and a pint” starting at 11am on matchdays which (based on the data they had from their under-valued food licensees) could generate conservatively GBP100,000 per football season.
They could rent their buildings to billboard companies and generate GBP60,000 per annum.
That’s GBP178,000 in easy money with costs running at around GBP40,000 if the pertinent contra deals were putting in place with suppliers – so, about GBP140,000 net.
They didn’t do it and hit bankruptcy a couple of years later. The vice-president of marketing did manage to sign a sponsorship deal with some building company that lasted as long as his tenure…one season.
They didn’t even attempt to generate new revenue or explore other avenues of funding offsets.
A bit like our old mates at Rugby Park. People are blaming the Southland Outdoor Stadium Trust trustees.
I don’t. They were only ever supposed to be there as part of the vehicle to get this enormous
white elephant community facility off Rugby Southland’s books.
The blame needs to be laid with the former Rugby Southland CEO who once again told many Rugby Southland board meetings (and highly likely SOST board meetings) that everything was tickety-boo.
Well, it’s not. As well as the liabilities of Rugby Park’s balance sheet, there’s also the not-insignificant matter of millions of dollars of deferred maintenance, not to mention earthquake strengthening.
As well as that, has anyone noticed that since we first brought this potential transfer to light back in about May 2011, Rugby Southland/SOST have generated nil extra revenue from the facility? They are waiting for the ratepayers to ride in and save them.
For the reasons of their assumption and laziness alone, this should not happen. Teach Rugby Southland a lesson. I would suggest that all SOST trustees who have not done so already resign now and leave this dirty little business with the instigators in the maroon and gold shirts.