Date: 28th August 2009 at 10:11pm
Written by:

AFC Bournemouth Chairman Eddie Mitchell has released the following statement…

The season has started and on the field AFC Bournemouth have had a great start with nine points already on the board – a much better position than last season`s minus 17-point start. Congratulations to Eddie Howe and the team on a fantastic start and long may it continue.

Off the pitch, we are working tirelessly to repair the damage we have either inherited or uncovered since taking control of the club.

I wish the supporters to know the facts and, after holding back until we were certain of the position, I feel we are now in a position to give you, the fans, a true picture.

Having met with the Football League on Tuesday at their offices in Preston, it was made clear to me during three hours of talks that the league`s position is there to make sure all the teams are competing on a level playing field and that they are unable to relax the embargo until such time as we have honoured all our outstanding creditors.

This is because when AFC Bournemouth came out of administration at the start of last season it was financially at an advantage in the sense that the club shed a large percentage of the debt at the time.

We were also told in a forceful manner that most other clubs have fulfilled their obligations and that AFC Bournemouth should start living within its means and face up to its responsibilities.

This brought us to the question of “hasn`t AFC Bournemouth been brought into line by way of the 17-point deduction at the start of season 2008/2009?” That was the case, but during last season AFC Bournemouth accumulated another £1million debt by living beyond its means yet again.

It was also confirmed that AFC Bournemouth was in the top six for the highest playing budget last season and the club was mismanaged considerably.

Loyalty to players and staff was not honoured. Two managers came and went and despite agreements, compensation is still outstanding. Tax was not paid to the tune of £400,000, rent on the stadium wasn`t paid – in fact a great deal of creditors weren`t paid, so where did the revenue go from last year? It appears down the drain.

And if it weren`t for Eddie Howe and his squad`s heroics, combined with myself, Neill (Blake), Jeff (Mostyn), Steve (Sly) and Adam (Murry) stepping in with a financial lifeline when we did, the club would have taken the same route. So until such time as we can put our house in order, the embargo will remain.

It was explained in detail that we are on the highest level of embargo and the next step down would allow us to have loan players. We need to show constantly improving monthly accounts, meet all football creditors` debts and pay our outstanding taxes while meeting our ongoing commitments. If, over a period of some months, we can achieve this then they would consider dropping us down to a lower level of embargo. If we can then continue to run and meet all other outstanding obligations, the Football League would consider dropping the embargo completely.

Since the new board has been in place we have paid circa £150,000 to HMRC for arrears, made the first CVA payment, met all current PAYE/NIC and VAT obligations, paid all current staff/players wages up to date, cleared a number of court judgements and agreed payment terms with the majority of aged creditors, while paying current creditors on time.

Yes it is bad news for you but it is news that must come out if we are to be honest.

I also feel it prudent to let the supporters know that we paid a very considerable amount of money to previous owners to stop the football club going back into administration and losing its league status.

I then provided a substantial additional sum of money towards what I have already mentioned above, paid HMRC and paid wages up to date and this I did because there was never, as previously mentioned in the press, any other interested parties, offers or deposits put into the club in the required timeframe to keep it afloat.

Without us stepping in when we did, the football club, on July 13 2009, would have been wound up in court and that`s the truth.

If we eventually get the embargo lifted and remain a force in this league this season, it will be down to the players we have, the board that`s in place and, most of all, you, the supporters.

I believe that if we continue these 5,000-6,000 gates and we can eat into the inherited debt, then it is my belief and the board`s we will survive, but we all must do our bit.

I am very new to the club but in the short space of time I have been (involved), it is obvious to me that we have great facilities, great staff off the pitch and a determined strong squad of players with great leadership.

I intend to make the coming season the start of a new era at the club. One that will put us on a sound financial footing and hopefully put us on the road to achieving success, not only in this league but in League One, where we rightfully belong.


Eddie Mitchell

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