BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS ATTEND GENERAL MEETING
Cambridge United's General Meeting between the Board of Directors and shareholders took place at the Abbey Stadium on Monday evening.
The formal business was completed by Chairman Dave Doggett, who also informed the Shareholders of two appointments to the Board. Steve Chamberlain, Director of Integration for Sepura, joins as Finance Director and Christoph Loch, Director of Cambridge Judge Business School has also joined the existing directors Renford Sargent and Graham Daniels.
Meanwhile, Director and former Chairman Terry Baker and Fans Elected Director Colin Proctor retired from the Board, whilst Vice Chairman Eddie Clark was also re-elected.
Dave Doggett commented: "Terry has been a Director of Cambridge United on and off for a number of years and during that period has devoted a lot of time and money to this club, but has now decided it is the right time to step down and retire.
"Likewise Colin's contribution during his six years as the Fans Elected Director has been remarkable. He has now reached the end of his cycle and has been an excellent representative for the supporters during that time. On behalf of everyone at the football club, I thank both Terry and Colin for their contribution."
The Cambridge United Chairman also reported a £1.3 million profit for 2014/15, which was the result of the club's FA Cup run, although it also showed a structural break even result if this income was excluded.
Doggett also confirmed where the £1.3 million profit had been spent; one third to cover historic cash flow deficits, one third for capital investment and one third had been set aside for the potential redevelopment of the Abbey Stadium.
He explained that 2014/15 had been a transitional year, where the club had moved from a Football Conference club to a Football League club, and that the year also brought a significant change in roles, with Jez George appointed as Chief Executive and taking over the operation of the club. He added that the club had become a more professional organisation during the second half of the year, with the implementation of an infrastructure and the appointment of staff across the business.
Doggett said: "We should all be proud of what has been achieved and the progress of the whole club over the last three years."
"The scale of work that the club does within the community and beyond, can be identified by the growing number of families and youngsters that come to the Abbey Stadium every match day."
In the second half of the evening, Jez George gave an overview of the football club and the four distinctive aspects of the business; first team football, the Academy, the youth development/community sport programme and the business operation.
He revealed the club now turns over £4.5-5m/year and highlighted huge growth in commercial revenue, retail and the outreach on social media. He also explained the scale of the club's community engagement through the ever expanding youth development and community programmes, which now includes several new initiatives giving opportunities to boys and girls of all ages and abilities.
The U's CEO stated that many parts of the business are in the early stages of their potential growth and will enhance prospective revenues in the future. George highlighted how far the club has progressed and what it has been achieved, but outlined the opportunity to grow further and the necessity to continue developing.
He said: "The importance of continuing to grow every aspect of the club is key, which includes increasing the outreach of the Youth Development and Community Sport programme, enhancing the business operations and growing the fan base.
"We are aiming to increase the financial strength of the football club, so that Cambridge United is capable of competing at the top end of League Two, with aspirations for promotion into League One and the ability to consolidate at that level.
“Everything is geared to sustainable success on the pitch, but that will only be achieved consistently through the continued expansion of the business. We will only ever spend what we earn, so the key to being able to invest in the team is that we need to develop more revenue streams.
“We also have a number of very talented young players within our academy, so developing home grown first team players, remains a real aim and focus.”
George went on to describe the financial difference now evident from League One to the Championship and therefore the requirement for a significantly redeveloped stadium to create sufficient additional revenue streams for any aspiration to that level being realistic.
He also emphasised the need for training facilities to enhance the work within the community, which already provides opportunities for several thousand youngsters every year, and to achieve Category 2 status for the Academy.
Community Trust Manager, Danny Kerrigan, concluded the evening with a presentation on the work in targeting specific groups and projects, including the development of a disability sport programme.
Kerrigan also emphasised the contribution of the first team players in delivering key messages within schools and highlighted the way in which the Trust is inextricably linked to the club and works closely at every level for the benefit of the local community.