Statement from the Chair

Sefton park CC finds itself in an extremely serious position at this time. We have had a particularly difficult financial year, resulting in a loss of some £7000, and our reserves have declined to a point where cash flow has become a problem. We will need all the support we can get from our loyal members over the coming months.

This situation has arisen due to exceptional expenditures over the last 12 months. We have invested heavily in the new ground, to the extent of about £5000 beyond that originally budgeted. This expenditure will not of course be repeated but it has undermined our reserves. Within the Pavilion we also made special capital investments in kitchen improvements of about £4000, in support of our projected business needs in the area. In retrospect we have clearly over stretched ourselves and this year must see stringent cost control measures. I ask for your understanding of this.

The Management Board itself has been under extreme pressure. Early last year Robbie Robins resigned and Jean Wharton generously agreed to take on the Treasurer role as a temporary measure until we could find a replacement. Alas this did not materialise but I pay tribute to Jean's efforts to hold the reins. At the time of writing we have no person to fill this post - a crisis in the present circumstances. In addition the Club is indebted to the efforts of Tom Hughes, the House Chairman. However, Tom has been in ill health in recent months and we wish him a speedy and full recovery. Our president, John Morgan, volunteered as a stand-in Secretary to relieve Jean of some tasks. However, I must emphasise that our board is unable to function at full efficiency at this time. I hope very much for some more volunteers to help out with these pressing demands.

Professional cricketers have again caused wide differences in views within the Club. Last season we spent a record amount on this outlay and it seems doubtful that this can continue long term without a major sponsor. We are however on the verge of committing ourselves to similar expenditure in 2004 - perhaps for the very last time.

Our catering activities have had a mixed year, but I must pay tribute to Janet Evans for her efforts, especially under sometimes very difficult circumstances. However, we have decided by mutual agreement not to renew this contract in April. The Board is now about to place a new contract for all catering and it is vital that Club members give this their full support.

Finally a word on our Club Manager, Dave Cunningham. Our financial difficulties would have been far worse without his enormous efforts and abilities - this year was an all-time record in the bar turnover and the atmosphere he has brought to the clubhouse is first class. Some members may be lulled into complacency by these apparent good times - I hope you will now realise that we face a dangerous future.

Mike Poole