How clubs can manage their finances

The ability for a soccer club to control their finances is make or break for the long-term success both on and off the pitch.

For local level teams, it can make all the difference to have an adequate system in place.

Club staff have to think on a day-to-day basis about ways to improve their finances and in turn grow their income. It’s something that needs consistent maintenance, otherwise it can all get out of hand.

That’s why organisation is the ultimate key to success. The main thing to do is review finances at the end of each month. This is assessing all incomings and outgoings and checking if these are at typical levels.

Getting the club to have an account on its own will prevent errors or mix ups, which could happen if it’s a joint account with a board member.

When the financial year comes to an end, annual reports must be prepared by an accountant or checked by someone with relevant expertise.

Another aspect to the financial process is budgeting, both for short term and long term. Budgeting should take place on both a short term and long term basis. The short term budget would outline both daily, monthly and quarterly outgoing and incoming funds, while the long term budget shows funding for 3-5 years.

It’s important to keep it realistic, ensuring a club knows what they expect to spend. Being able to stay under budget means it can be revised for the following year. When formulating the budget, what was spent last year versus income will be taken into consideration. It will highlight where spending for supplies may need to be cut, or even negotiating for a better deal.

The club treasurer is normally the one in charge of maintaining the budget, but all senior figures at the club can look over it.

Gaining as much income as possible will point a club forward in the right direction. There are many factors which can contribute to income growth, with clubs encouraged to review the following areas to maximise their profit:

  • Membership and subscription fees.
  • Finding and sticking with key sponsors.
  • Fundraisers and events.
  • Commercial activities.
  • Acquiring grant funding.
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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Preston Lions FC President David Cvetkovski on National Second Tier: “The key is to surround yourself with the best people with a real passion”

Preston Lions FC recently held their Preston in Business (PIB) event for the 2024 season to show their appreciation for their dedicated sponsors, to network and get an insight into the future direction of the club and their inclusion in the National Second Tier (NST) – commencing in 2025.

Taking place at Mystique Bar and Lounge, the special keynote representative was none other than David Davutovic – the producer behind the famous Optus Sport documentaries and also a football presenter, with a range of coaches and leaders also on the footballing panel providing information for the men’s and women’s teams.

A panel of coaches and leaders also shared their views on what Preston fans can look forward to.

President David Cvetkovski introduced the audience to a captivating evening of insights and networking. He discussed the significance of the sponsors have on being the backbone of Preston Lions in the past and into the future, NST progress and the impact Preston Lions has on the broader community.

“To our sponsors, we are so grateful to what you do and for what you do because without you there is no club and that is the reality,” he said.

“Our sponsors have been the backbone of this club over the last 10 to 30 years and longer than that – we’ve got a sponsor who is coming up 44 years, that’s an amazing effort.”

2024 will be a massive year for Preston, who are ready among other teams for the highly anticipated NSD.

Cvetkovski spoke about the core values and the secret of how a club from NPL2 got to be one of the clubs to be involved in the NST next year.

“To have good relationships and strong attendances, the answer is pretty simple and there’s a philosophy that l like to keep,” he said.

“Whether in business or in the business of football, the key is to surround yourself with the best people with a real passion – we have the best people, respect each other, and make logical decisions with a shared vision.

“It’s passionate people who aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and stand by each other when the going gets tough, that’s my measure of people.”

Cvetkovski finished off his speech with a special message about how Preston is more than just a club with the influence they have in the community.

“We are a football club, but we are more than that – we have had to see the human side – the impact that this club has on the people and the broader community,” he said.

“With the passing of lifelong supporter Jason Milosevski and the way the club has wrapped their arms around from supporter groups, everyone at the club has been touched,” he said.

“This is the fabric of our club, these were Jason’s last words – ‘Preston is not just a club, it’s a way of life.”’

Preston Lions have commenced their VPL 1 season, ahead of a huge year for them.

Events such as these are the entrée to what we should expect from NST teams when the competition is up and running.

Lawrie McKinna: A true survivor

Since 1986, when he first appeared for Heidelberg United in the NSL, Lawrie McKinna, the current Sydney Olympic CEO, has seen it all in Australian football.

After playing stints with Apia and Blacktown City, he eventually teamed up with David Mitchell at Sydney United and Parramatta Power in coaching roles, followed by Northern Spirit in his own right.

When the A-League commenced in 2005, Mckinna was involved at Central Coast Mariners and eventually became mayor of Gosford.

In recent times, he was CEO at the Newcastle Jets until the opportunity arose two years ago to take the helm at Sydney Olympic.

It is no coincidence that Lawrie McKinna faces one of the greatest challenges of his career in preparing the club to be ready for the start of the National Second Division in the winter of 2025.

Fittingly, on Saturday January 13th, a challenge match commemorated the first NSL  match between Sydney Olympic and South Melbourne which was played on April 2nd, 1977 at the Sydney Sportsground.

It was a unique day for football as it was the first code in Australia to form a national competition.

Lawrie McKinna is well aware of the famous players who appeared on that day, notably Gary Meier and Joe Senkalski for Sydney Olympic and former Socceroos, Jack Reilly, Billy Rogers, Duncan Cummings, Jimmy Mackay and Peter Ollerton for South Melbourne.

In fact, it was Peter Ollerton who scored the two goals for South Melbourne to secure his team’s victory.

In this interview with Roger Sleeman, Lawrie McKinna discusses the current state of Australian football, his vision for the success of the National Second Division and the significance of the Sydney Olympic v South Melbourne clash.

ROGER SLEEMAN

Looking back over all those years you’ve been involved in the Australian game, how do you see its current state?

LAWRIE McKINNA

When I first played at Heidelberg in the NSL, there were big crowds but we played at poor stadiums like Connor Reserve and Sunshine Reserve in the winter. Furthermore, we played in ankles of mud which was very much like playing in Scotland.

The current A-League stadiums are top notch with good surfaces and part of the criteria for the B-League will be for this to be replicated.

One of the glaring weaknesses of the A-League is the lack of media as the other codes receive blanket coverage.

If the game is trying to entice more support there is no incentive for the general sporting fan to follow it so this must be addressed.

However, the success of the Matildas is well known and the Socceroos popularity has never been greater so these strengths have to be built on.

R.S.

Do you think the right people are running the game?

L.M.

I don’t even know who is running the game since Danny Townsend left the APL.

I’ve never seen Nick Garcia, the new APL CEO, because he’s never appeared on television.

There are very large staff numbers at the APL but they’re invisible people.

James Johnson, the FA CEO, is their spokesperson and at least people recognise him but there still isn’t enough exposure of the FA Management to the supporters.

R.S.

Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, Western United and Brisbane Roar are in survival mode.

Is this a satisfactory situation?

L.M.

This is not the only country in the world with financial problems so it’s a matter of getting the right owners who will commit for the long term.

However, it’s not a bottomless pit so better broadcast deals are required to bring money into the game.

R.S.

What do you see as the vision for the National Second Division and how can it integrate with the A-League?

L.M.

The admission of the first eight clubs is positive but a 12-club League is desirable.

We also need Adelaide, Brisbane and Tasmania to be represented to make it a truly national competition.

At the moment, a new television deal is being worked on to encompass the Matildas, Socceroos, Asian Cup and National Second Division and this was the major reason the new League was postponed until 2025.

R.S.

Will there be promotion from the B-League to the A-League?

L.M.

There won’t be for a number of years and the only way it could happen is if there is a bid for an A-League licence which would be in the vicinity of $10 million.

Eventually, there will be relegation from the B-League to the NPL and promotion upwards.

R.S.

Why should the B-League be more successful than the NPL?

L.M.

Simply, of the eight teams accepted for the B-League, seven of them were former, large NSL clubs who have strong community support and financial backing.

There’ll be more money spent to get better players into the League and also compensation will be provided to the clubs if an A-League club signs a player.

At the moment, there is virtually no compensation for the sale of NPL players to the A- League and if a player moves overseas , there’s usually a free transfer clause in their contract.

Also, contracts in the B-League will be for 2-3 years while in the current NPL they’re usually only for one year.

There’ll be more movement between NPL and the B-League with the aim to provide players with more games and opportunity which is one of the weaknesses of the current system.

R.S.

What is the main purpose of the match between Sydney Olympic and South Melbourne?

L.M.

Apart from recognising the famous match of April 2nd, 1977, we are attempting to reconnect the Olympic fans who haven’t identified with the game and the club since the end of the NSL.

At the Greek festival, I attended last weekend there was a lot of interest expressed about the B-League which resulted in some promising ticket sales for the match.

The venue at Netstrata Stadium is ideal and we intend to play our home matches there in 2025.

We also hope those former fans will bring their children to the games and create a new generation of supporters.

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