Chairman White outlines impact of pandemic on Saints' finances

Chairman John White has outlined the challenges Saints have been facing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Tom Vickers
Monday, 1st June 2020, 1:07 pm
Updated Monday, 1st June 2020, 1:10 pm
Saints fans have been starved of rugby in recent months
Saints fans have been starved of rugby in recent months

And he has stressed that the club can come through one of the most difficult periods in its history.

With Covid-19 forcing rugby to shut down - the most recent Gallagher Premiership match was in March - Saints have had what White describes as 'a trickle' of income for the past few months.

Players and staff have taken a 25 per cent pay cut to help the club deal with the financial shortcomings, while the furlough scheme has been used at Franklin's Gardens.

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There is still little clarity around when rugby will return, and it still looks unlikely that fans will be allowed into stadiums when it does.

So how much of an effect is it having on Saints and how confident are they that they can weather the current storm?

"It's a hell of a challenge and although I don't want to sound complacent, we are still pretty well placed," White told Saints' online season ticket holders' forum.

"But we've had to take some unfortunate action with players and staff alike taking a 25 per cent pay cut.

"We are looking at other ways of financing this business going forward.

"You don't have to be a mathematician but I'll give you some numbers. Each month we would normally be getting an income of around £1.75million into the business and at the moment there's very little income and it's down to virtually a trickle.

"Our outgoings still, having taken the measures we have - and I do thank all the players and the staff - are about £1million a month.

"It is a big challenge, but we came into this very strongly, the performance was improving, we were really getting stuck into managing that five-year plan to get back to profits.

"But we're in this situation where we've got to watch things like a hawk.

"Capital expenditure has been stopped and we are looking at other methods of funding the business and I'm confident we'll get that.

"We will come out of this as strong as anybody.

"We own all our assets. You look at other clubs and they don't have the stadium, the car parking areas, we've got all of those assets that we own and we've got very little debt.

"We took some of the CVC money to pay off our overdraft and pay off some short-term loans, we've invested some of that and we've got quite a lot on deposit.

"But you don't have to be a mathematician to know that will run out and that money we have on deposit was already earmarked for working capital and capital expenditure over the next three years and now we've having to dig into that.

"It's the challenge we face and we speak regularly about how we come out of this.

"We remain positive because we can see a way through it, but it's going to be very tough,

"The longer we don't play and don't get crowds in our ground, the tougher that becomes so it's not a cakewalk but I'm positive and not complacent.

"It really is quite a challenge for us but we will come through it."