It feels like yesterday when we were writing our last Christmas/New Year newsletter and while we have all had a difficult year, we are only going to discuss the positives in our below message.
You will probably be asking yourself the usual questions at this time of year.
“Have we sponsors lined up for 2021?”, “Are we signing new players?” and “Is this club financially stable post Covid?”.
Thankfully we can say YES to all.
We are delighted to confirm that we have 80% of our sponsors confirmed for the 2021 season. At present there will be four new businesses coming on board with the club next season. All will be announced in January, and it is a brilliant achievement from everyone involved to have these deals completed before Christmas. Currently we are working on identifying a potential academy sponsor. Once this has been completed, we will have almost all of our main sponsorship deals agreed. If you know of anyone that we could consider for this, please let us know.
From a financial perspective our annual accounts have now been submitted to our club accountant and club auditors. Early indicators suggest that it has been a strong and stable financial performance from the club, bearing in mind the environment that we had to operate in (no match-night income etc). We project that our club debt has also been reduced once again. This is a testament to everyone who has contributed to this club over the past number of years. Our final financial annual accounts for 2020 will be finalised by the end of January ahead of licensing and will be available for review prior to our AGM in February.
We are presently working on a number of affiliations with clubs in the UK and Europe, and we have had positive talks with these clubs in recent months. These talks centre around areas such as academy best practices, coach education, friendlies and cross-border community and charity initiatives. We would hope that once talks progress further as expected, that we can make an official announcement in Q1/Q2 of 2021. Again, this is another exciting opportunity which would put our club and beautiful town on the map.
Our online club shop is thriving and has been a huge step in contributing to the success of the club. A significant amount of effort and commitment has been applied in making this a success and next year we will continue to develop and enhance this revenue stream which ultimately will be a key pillar to the club long term. This, in tandem with our newly launched website, shows the professionalism and standards we as a club want to implement going forward.
While we have lost our bar income for much of the year gone by, we cannot underestimate the cashflow it provides for the club. We would hope that in due course with a vaccine roll out our bar will reopen by mid-summer at the latest. As a board we felt there was an opportunity to pivot and add something new to to our bar and attract an increased customer base when the opportunity to re-open occurs. As you may have seen at our recent Christmas market we have created a new courtyard/beer garden with new heaters and projector for our sports events. We feel this will add great value in due course.
Our membership and season ticket sales have increased in comparison to the same time last year, again this is another positive aspect in response to the hard work that is being conducted. The newly launched Rambo’s Army has proved to be a very popular addition.
Our pitch in St Colman’s park is in fantastic condition thanks to the great work of our FAS team. This will make a substantial difference in due course.
On the field our U17 and U19 Academy teams returned to competitive League of Ireland action prior to the Christmas Break and did the club proud in completing their seasons. As a board we decided that we wanted our teams to return. We feel that we have a duty of care to players and as a football club our core belief should always be to provide players with an opportunity to play football. We are currently finalising plans for the 2021 season with academy director Ivan Bevan and will have several announcements in January/February regarding such.
Our first team under Stuart Ashton continues to form and develop, We have had consistent dialogue with all management during the off season to give us the best possible chance of success and improvement in 2021. The core and majority of last season’s squad will return next season. A number of new additions are due to be announced in January. It truly is an exciting year ahead for the club.
Our negotiations with the FAI in relation to our lease agreement are ongoing. While the process is a little slower than we had hoped for, we continue to prioritise this agreement. Currently the draft lease is with the FAI legal team and we would hope to have a further update in the new year.
While hampered in what community initiatives we could complete in the year gone by, we have had some great success stories. Rambo’s Christmas toy show run was a huge hit around Cobh. Our recent Christmas market went down extremely well. These two events provided significant goodwill and compliments from the local community and wider Cork region.
As you can see, we have been and continue to be extremely busy, but ultimately this has been a year of progress for the club.
We are building something special, there is a welcoming atmosphere when you enter St Colman’s Park, and our merchandise is now being worn in abundance throughout the area.
Our club, our community and our local businesses will benefit from a vibrant, energetic community-based League of Ireland football club.
This success is down to everyone who contributes to Cobh Ramblers Football Club in their own way. Ultimately there is no progress or accomplishment without sacrifice, and we will continue to do this in 2021.
We look forward to greeting you into St Colman’s Park again when the time arrives.
We hope you and your families had a great Christmas and wish you all a prosperous New Year.
The Board of Cobh Ramblers FC