Not much more that you can say than that, in the light of the budget figures sent out to members in advance of the AGM.
£187K is a sizeable loss for a small club and is mainly down to a deficit of £44,000 in gate receipts and £30,000 in commercial income. In the current economic climate both figures are understandable of course. Last summer saw most county clubs suffer from poor weather and the lure of televised World Cup matches, while companies who may previously have been disposed to sponsor the county in various ways were themselves feeling the pinch.
The good news is that there has been an impressive rise in commercial income, while the previous statement from Keith Loring about the club's finances (see earlier blog post, February 19) has to be considered as part of a bigger, more encouraging picture. The signings of Robin Peterson, Loots Bosman and Charl Langeveldt last season were an attempt to make the side competitive. To some extent it succeeded, but it was at a cost and playing expenses were £130,000 higher than the previous year. Add in the fact that we lose ECB money whenever Wayne Madsen, Chesney Hughes and Greg Smith play in non-T20 matches and there is an obvious drain on resources should that state of affairs continue.
This season won't be as bad, of course. Peterson has gone, along with Graham Wagg, another of the highest earners. We've also released two senior bowlers in Ian Hunter and Tom Lungley and replaced them with younger, hopefully fitter and contributing players who may be less expensive in Mark Turner and Tony Palladino. There could well be major savings across the board in that little lot. Meanwhile the signings of Usman Khawaja and Martin Guptill probably cost around what we were paying Chris Rogers.
As pointed out by a contributor on IMWT, today's figures illustrate why we couldn't offer Chris Rogers terms to match those on offer at Middlesex, while Graham Wagg's terms at Glamorgan were way outside Derbyshire's compass. Indeed, Wagg would need to turn in Sobers-like performances every week to justify those terms and will surely be expected to in Wales. The way things are going it could be his last big contract as few counties will be able to afford such offers without commensurate contributions on a regular basis.
Derbyshire can certainly ill-afford to carry staff members through injury and as the season progresses it will be interesting to see if team selection is based increasingly on fiscal issues than on performance. Last year Messrs Wagg, Lungley, Clare and Hunter played barely a season's worth of cricket between them and Morris will hope for improved fitness and luck from his new recruits.
While logic suggests that our top six to start the season could well be Madsen, Hughes, Khawaja, Park, Durston and Smith, John Morris knows that the club would get no ECB money for any of them, as they are either too old or non-qualified. The pressure to play Daniel Redfern and Paul Borrington could build without doubt and much will depend on results as to the team selections as the season progresses. Nor will we get money for Matt Lineker as he is too old, but the prolific league player could still force his way in with weight of runs in the Seconds.
Logic suggests we go with our strongest side, of course and playing two youngsters would mean that two senior players on senior player salaries would be in the Seconds, something of a luxury we could ill-afford. In short, John Morris has an onerous task and responsibility and I just hope that Don Amott and Keith Loring give him carte blanche to play his strongest team as far as possible.
What it means, of course, is that the importance of Andrew Harris' role in bringing through youngsters is highlighted in ten feet-high neon lettering. If three or four members of your strongest side also happen to bring in ECB money it would be party time. In the medium term that is our likely strategy, but hopefully we now have a playing staff within budget.
If that staff can start to win a few matches, we could still be in a better position than many of our counterparts.
At least it's not millions...