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Barber: Fans recognise challenges facing the club

Chief Executive Paul Barber has thanked the club’s season-ticket holders after confirming that only 5% had taken up the club’s offer of a three-month payment holiday.

By Bruce Talbot • 18 April 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman Paul Barber.

Even before the coronavirus crisis struck, 92% of season-ticket holders had renewed for next season.

He said, “We had 92% renew their tickets which is brilliant and is almost the same as last season when it was 93%.

“We are selling to fans on the waiting list and only 5% of our season-ticket holders have taken up the offer of a payment holiday because I think they recognise the financial challenges the club are facing at the moment and it is appreciated by [chairman] Tony Bloom, the board and everyone at the club.”

Barber confirmed that the club has no plans at present to furlough staff but he said that all external improvement projects, both at the stadium and the American Express Elite Performance Centre at Lancing, were on hold.

“We are trying to preserve as much cash as we can,” said Barber.  “Our priority is to preserve as many jobs and pay their salaries for as long as we can and avoid using the furlough scheme.

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Bloom and Barber Press Conference

“It is difficult because we are relying on Tony Bloom to pay every bill that comes in at the moment. There will come a point if this crisis continues for a long time when he won’t be able to keep picking up the bills 100%.

“It doesn’t sit comfortably for Premier League clubs to furlough staff but some haven’t got the choice because they haven’t got the profitability of Liverpool or owners like those at Manchester City. We have been very clear to our staff that this is something we cannot rule out entirely.

“But when things return to normal it will be important to get things back on track, like increasing the capacity of the stadium by installing more seats. We’re still selling season tickets for next season and we want to make sure we can get as many Albion fans into the Amex as we can.

“We’ve got a lot of work going on at the training ground to build a women’s and girls’ hub and to expand the existing high-performance facility which are designed to keep us at the top end in terms of facilities for a Premier League club. That will hopefully start up again soon but at the moment we have to keep all our expenditure down to a minimum.”

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