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Financial prudence should keep Maidenhead RFC out of trouble says chairman

Chairman Steve Bough has admitted Maidenhead RFC’s finances this year ‘don’t look too healthy’, but he says that financial prudence over the years and a support grant from Government means the club should be ok in the long term.

The club can just about swallow up the loss of between £35,000 and £50,000 this year and thankfully don’t have the problems of contracted players to contend with like many football clubs.

Money that’s been ‘whittled away’ over the years should tide them over for a period, while the club have been reopening the bar for senior/youth training and the recent ‘ready for rugby’ touch tournaments which is supplementing the coffers. Bough added that a hospitality grant for £25,000 received from Government last year had ‘been a life saver’.

“The finances this year obviously don’t look very healthy,” said Bough. “We’ve put a budget together running from September to August and it’s a bit of a guess-timation. We’ve put a worst-case scenario in, and our big hit has been the Saturday afternoon bar time.

“That pays for all the other bits and, if we’re lucky gives us a bit of profit but we’ll be looking at a loss this year of somewhere between £35,000 and £50,000. It’s somewhere on that scale when you don’t have the bar open and can’t rent out the club as much.

“Our members have been fantastic. We’ve delayed membership until the end of September, but we’ve said that we need them, and many have been coming forward to pay them early. People are also coming out of the woodwork to pay them. The cost of supplying new balls, ball sanitisers, PPE equipment, it all adds up, but we’ve said we’ll keep doing that until it’s not the norm anymore.

“Yes, it’s going to be painful, but we’ve whittled away little bits of money so we can survive this. Not for several seasons, however. We’ve been getting £500 across the bar when normally we’d be taking £2,000-5,000, but those little bits add up if we do it regularly. We’ve introduced table service. You sit at your table and order from a QR code and its waiter/waitress service. The stand is also segmented. With the staffing and the beer costs it’s not solving the overall financial pain, but it’s about the social involvement. We’re ok, we’re sensibly run, and everyone is on side. It’s not all doom and gloom.”

Bough’s hopeful the club will be able to avoid the financial hardship that might affect other clubs, possibly further up the pyramid.

“I think that’s likely for some clubs,” he said. “But we don’t have the expensive player contracts. If the players don’t have any matches, they won’t get paid. We’re not like the football clubs who have contracted players. When we went into lockdown we applied for and received the hospitality grant which was a life saver last season. It gave us some profit to move into this year and covered a lot of the costs.

“That was £25,000 from the Government and that was a saving grace which meant last year wasn’t so horrible.

“Will we get anymore? I don’t know to be honest. The Berkshire Executive have also been good. They’ve allocated more than a thousand pounds per club. But just let us get back to playing rugby and we’ll be fine.”

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