KEITH Smart, a retired businessman, gives an insight into his first three months as a director of Stalybridge Celtic.
Keith, a former senior manager for a subsidiary of The Transamerica Corporation, looks after the day-to-day financial operations.
He said: “I first watched Stalybridge Celtic play as a little boy in the early 1960s and was smitten. I’ve followed their fortunes ever since, through thick and thin, and everything in between.
“In September, I was appointed to the club’s board of directors, a very proud day. My brief was to oversee and manage the financial aspects of the club.
“People could be forgiven for thinking that these days, all levels of football are awash with money.
“After all we are constantly being bombarded by stories of multi-million pound salaries, hundred million pound shirt deals and billion pound television deals.
“That may be the case at the top, but sadly none of those millions drift down to the Evo-Stik League, premier division.
“Every pound we spend we have to strive extremely hard to earn.
“The average supporter at our level of football perhaps imagines that their club simply has to pay a manager and a squad of players and that the gate money alone will foot the bill.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. There are a thousand and one other costs involved in running a football club and gate receipts only pays for a fraction of them.
“At Stalybridge Celtic we are very keen on getting local businesses involved with the club in a variety of ways.
“We offer lots of sponsorship opportunities to promote local companies, from an advert in our matchday programme, to a perimeter board around the pitch.
“Companies entertain their clients and treat their staff via one of our fantastic pre-match, four course meal packages in our 60-seater sponsors’ lounge, and then watch the match.
“In addition, we can offer larger sponsorship deals, such as shirt sponsorship or stand sponsorship.
“All these activities help to bring crucial income into the football club, but it’s a constant challenge to find clients and make businesses aware of what we can offer them.
“This is not made any easier due to the fact that the relevance of our level of football is constantly being undermined by the total dominance of the Premier League and football on television generally. But thankfully, there are companies who see the value of both supporting their local club and getting a benefit to themselves in different ways.
“Having made the transfer from ‘Terrace to Boardroom’, what has my first three months told me?
“It’s certainly made me understand running a football club is a much more complicated business than I ever imagined.
“But fundamentally it’s made me realise how much I love this football club, and how much I want to contribute to making it better than I found it.”