Credit crunch: Clubs face testing times

SOURCE: Banbury Gaurdian

WITH the credit crunch biting hard, leading clubs could be left out in the cold – quite literally – this winter.
Income from home games has hit clubs like Banbury United this winter but it’s the possibility of losing valuable sponsorship deals which could make or, in some cases, break them.

The area’s leading clubs including United, Banbury Cricket Club, Banbury Rugby Football Club and Brackley Town are all feeling the pinch.

But it was Banbury CC who lost the highest profile sponsor when Vodafone pulled the plug after more than a decade and chairman Martin Phillips says clubs need to be "realistic" if they are to avoid getting into financial difficulties.

"We had 12 years of fantastic sponsorship from Vodafone, for which we will always be grateful," said Phillips.

"It enabled us to bring in players like Neal Radford, Benji Hector and Paul Taylor. These players worked hard behind the scenes to put Banbury CC into a strong position on and off the field."

But it’s not just Banbury CC who have lost Vodafone’s sponsorship, they have also pulled out of sponsoring Manchester United, Ferrari and English cricket in general because of a change in policy.

But the Banbury chairman is confident his club can remain strong, on and off the field, and keep developing at White Post Road.

"I’ve pleasantly surprised because we’re in talks with a couple of companies concerning sponsorship, despite the credit crunch," he explained.

"We’re a lot stronger off the field because of the work which Paul Taylor and Benji Hector did in the last few seasons.

"But it’s still going to be difficult to fill the gaps left behind by Benji Hector and Paul Taylor, 700-plus runs and more than 50 wickets last season. We haven’t got the budget for a first class player at the moment but that could change.

"We have five extra coaches and we’ve got a new crop of youngsters coming through the system. Mark Austin did a cracking job as chairman of the youth section and Pete Scott is taking over from him."

On a wider scale, Phillips says clubs need to face up to the situation and work within their means. He also feels some players have taken too much out of sport and not put enough back in.

"These are changing times and we’ve got to cut our cloth accordingly, as have all clubs in any sport," added Phillips.

"We’ve got into a situation where there are too many people, not just in sport but in life in general, who want to be paid for everything they do. There is a lot of money going into clubs but how much of it stays in the sport?

"Clubs will have to get the balance right, between how much they pay out and how much is done on a voluntary basis. Clubs have got to be more realistic or else they will get into financial problems."

Kiwi Richard Brooks is joining Banbury this summer. The 25-year-old left-arm seamer will take over from Taylor, while Ian Tew is expected to return after playing for Weybridge. But Ryan Newhook and Jamie Noble have joined Bourton Vale.

Scroll to Top