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#1 Flaming balls

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:54 AM

The biggest single threat to the future of Barrow RFC at the present moment in time is the standard of the floodlights at Craven Park.

Installed in 1965, the existing system falls woefully short of the RFL standards for teams wishing to compete in the Championship in 2013. However, the RFL has granted Barrow a stay of execution so to speak and providing the floodlights have been brought up to the required standard by the end of 2013 then all will be well.

David Sharpe (Club Chairman): “As part of the regulations to play at a certain level of rugby, you have to have the appropriate level of floodlighting. Our floodlights are old and they don’t match the requirements, so they have given us until the end of the 2013 season to put the proper floodlights in place and that is what we are concentrating on.

“They (the RFL) have lux level requirements which we are not matching at the moment and the floodlights that are there are obviously past their sell-by date. We need new modern ones which will see us through into the future, with particular regard to potential TV coverage; that is one of the main things they needed for. It’s not just to make the playing surface brighter, but also it’s a requirement for the cameras.

“By the end of 2013, we have got to have these new floodlights in place. We are putting together different fundraising packages, but we will also be looking to the wider public as well.”

Back in 2009, then supporter, now director, Keith Nutter launched the Development Fund, a scheme which is run by supporters and every penny of which goes directly into improving the facilities at Craven Park. To date this income stream has funded the rebuilding of the collapsed Clive Street wall back in 2010 as well as several significant improvements on the ground – a new toilet block, an outside bar, a hot food outlet, a souvenir shop and refreshments bar on the grandstand side, replacement seating in the grandstand, the refurbishment of the upstairs room in the Lewthwaite Suite and numerous other smaller maintenance projects around the ground.

Keith Nutter (Media Director): “The importance of the Development Fund cannot be overstated. Since its inception three years ago the old ground has been improved significantly in terms of decent facilities for spectators and there are plans to do even more in terms of improving toilet facilities, etc right around the stadium. However, in 2013 the focus will very much be on using the money as part of the funding for a new floodlighting system.”

So far as the current lighting system is concerned, it seems that it is no longer in a fit state to patch it up year on year. The time has undoubtedly come to rip it out and install a new, modern, fit-for-purpose set of floodlights. Previous directors and indeed the current board, have analysed the lighting system and upgrading is not an option as the wiring, stanchions, light holders, etc are all in such a state of disrepair that refurbishment would be as costly as a new system.

With this in mind the club began to take steps to costing a new system late last year. Neil Martin obtained the necessary quotes from Agrilek (using a Musco lighting system) and his own company and the overall cost of a new system is going to be close to £100,000.

The bottom line is, given that there is always unforeseen work on projects such as this, Barrow RFC effectively need to raise £100,000 in the coming months to cover the cost of installing a new floodlighting system.

The club now has to establish how it is going to pay for this work.

Keith Nutter: “Not installing the lights is not an option as failure to do so will for certain result in the club’s relegation from the Championship at the end of 2013. If similar minimum standards were applied to Championship 1 then we wouldn’t be able to play in that league either!”

So how are the club going to raise the money?

It is hoped that the Development Fund will cover some of the cost. As it stands this fund raises approximately £1,000 a month through regular payments from supporters. However, all monies raised until the end of 2012 are already spoken for to pay off the balance for work undertaken as described above.

Keith Holt (Finance director): “At its current income level, in 2013 the Development Fund will yield £10,000 and this will be earmarked to go towards the cost of the new lights. However, I am confident that a concerted push to get more supporters interested in this (there are currently less than 100) could bring this figure to £25,000 in 2013. At the end of the day the supporters need to realise just how parlous our situation is. The financial side of the club is improving week on week but it is going to be impossible for us to service existing debts, keep a team on the pitch and install new lights. Even if the £25,000 figure is achieved (which is by no means guaranteed) there will be a shortfall of £75,000!!”

The club are also looking into the possibility of obtaining a grant towards the cost of the lights. Director Keith Nutter has been in discussions with the RFL’s Anthony Atherton about Grants and Anthony is going to advise the best way to go to maximise our chances of success. Anthony is involved with the RFL’s facilities trust fund and will advise if any monies can be obtained via that route.

David Sharpe: We will be applying for grants and donations via the web will be set-up. We have a lot of out-of-town supporters and we want them to be able to help as well. It’s absolutely vital we get this work done. All fundraising will be run in conjunction with the Development Fund to ensure it is ring-fenced for the lights. It will NOT be spent on anything else other than the purpose for which fans have donated it. We will be looking to build the development fund up to go towards the floodlighting. You can already see the difference the fund has made. You travel to a lot of other grounds, particularly in these past 12 months, and you come back to Craven Park and you think how lucky we are. It’s an excellent stadium, and we are working on it all the time. Allan Park is the stadium director and he is continuously doing small improvements, which individually people might not notice, but which collectively make a big difference. We are always improving things, making the facilities better and it is looking better all the time.”

Keith Nutter: “To raise £100,000 (or £2,000 a week for the next twelve months) is a massive, massive task but we cannot, we must not let it daunt us because in this instance failure is not an option. We are looking into numerous possible sources of income and a range of ways to raise the money. Negotiations with various parties are ongoing and hopefully at least some of these will prove beneficial. One source of funding will be a club Vice Presidents’ scheme which is to be launched shortly. These ten-year packages will cost £3,000 each and if sold successfully they alone could well pay for the floodlights. The success of this scheme cannot be predicted though at this stage.”

If every supporter who travelled to Warrington pledged just £2 a week for the next twelve months then that alone would pay for the new floodlights.

Donations from those already in the development Fund range from a few pounds a month up to £120 a month from one contributor. Details of the Development Fund are available on the club website or from the Rugby Shop at Scott Street.

#2 red box

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 04:22 PM

The ground specifications which were set down for Championship and Championship 1 clubs were created when the Championship featured on Sky on a Thursday. (and it was identified from the start that Barrow were the club who feel short as regards flood lights)
The increase in the lux requirement refects the improvement of tv coverage with HD and 3D.
The Championship clubs do not receive any meaningful (if any) money from the present providers of the television coverage.
The situation has changed with Sky no longer covering the lower grades of rugby league and, in my view, the ground specifications should reflect this.
Basically Barrow are being asked to spend £100k on floodlights which wil be used to broadcast home games changed to a Thursday night that results in a loss of income as a result. It is a no win, no win situation.
From what I have read in the press the powers that be at Red Hall are not being as stringent with regards to Super League club grounds because they appreciate the present financial difficulties everybody is facing.
Surely they should be asked why do we need the lights and who gets the benefit - guide lines can be changed and this is one that the RFL and Ralph Rimmer in particular need to re-visit.
Don't forgot Barrow has a ground it can play on at anytime apart from in the dark, there are other clubs who cannot play on their designated home pitch for weeks at a time because of conflicts with soccer and other users but they meet the criteria!
The flood lights have need replacing for years but with the club now playing games on a Sunday afternoon to spend the money on them at present does not represent any sort of return on the investment.
Come on RFL you know it makes sense!!!!!!

#3 morty

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 09:01 PM

sense and the RFL are in a different universe never mind on the same planet

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#4 Sempur

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 09:17 PM

Tonights Supporters Club Meeting

There were 12 people who turned up tonight including 4 board members to help and discuss ways to raise funds for the floodlights, pretty disappointing in my view.
However those who did turn up were enthusiastic and helpful in the ideas which were put forward.
I will collate all the notes from the meeting and post as soon as I can.

I think our biggest barrier in raising the money needed for the new floodlights is apathy from our own supporters or would anyone like to disagree?

Yes I know it was bad weather, trick or treat blah blah.........no excuse
Whoso sheds his blood with me on this field shall be my brother - Henry V

#5 thundergaz

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 09:23 PM

The worst thing is for you guys is you will spend 100k on floodlights and you will only be on tv twice not including the NRC but even with the NRC 100k for 3 games a year is really bad IMO and also with more teams in our league some teams may only get on the TV once through out the season so it looks a bit steep IMO about time the RFL took their heads out of their bums and looked around instead of sat behind a desk and dictating things.

Edited by thundergaz, 31 October 2012 - 09:25 PM.

#6 UnclesUndies

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:41 PM

Is Holker Street an option?
Not ideal for the CP traditionalists, but could be a short term solution if a deal could be struck with BAFC, it would also buy more time to get the necessary funds together.
No harm in asking.

#7 Plan of Attack

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 11:30 AM

I believe they are having problems with the state of thier floodlights as well. (Any AFC fan who knows better feel free to enlighten me on this)

#8 red box

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:51 AM

I have it from a good source that the AFC lights would not meet the criteria.
I am still of the firm opinion we should be going to the RFL and asking WHY?
It is of no benefit to the club.
Challenge them in the press if need be as I am sure the vast majority of the rugby league world would regard it as a folly to spend such money for no reward. It simply doesn't make sense unless we get money from the broadcasters or Sky take the games back..

#9 soss

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:50 PM

Where do you think 40% of barrows income comes from?

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#10 Eastie

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:51 PM

We get nothing from Sky now and we get very little from premier sports. Can't see if changing this coming season

#11 soss

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:36 PM

I'm sorry but where do you think the RFL get most of their money from. Did it fall off the back of a stobart lorry...I think not!

The fox running with the hounds

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#12 red box

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:45 AM

I know what we get off Sky.
But we get the square rooot of nothing from the present broadcasters of Championship rugby which is why I have argued that we shouldn't need to undertake this expensive route unless/until those that put money into the game (i.e. Sky) start broadcasting our level of the game.
At present we are being asked to do it for a broadcaster who pays us nothing - can that be right.
As I've said above the ground specs. were drawn up when Sky showcased the Championship on a Thursday, now that they don't I feel there is a very valid case for re-visiting those specifications.
Dave Sear

#13 soss

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:40 PM

I understand what your saying Dave but the dispersible funding Barrow receive is all tied to the RFL income. The only income they have at the moment is international/grand final ticket sales, rentals, bank account interest and tv rights. I know there are other incomes but these are the major benefactors.
The RFL are told to provide adequate lighting by the tv companies at each venue as part of the deal. This cost must be absorbed by the clubs involved in the televised divisions as it can not be done by the RFL. We are given monies by the RFL to invest in the club, some of which is conditional and the rest is to be spent improving the Club as a whole. The RFL are doing nothing wrong in saying we must reach a certain criteria to play in a certain division as Barrows income and the income of the RFL depends on it.

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When you are in deep trouble, say nothing, and try to look as though you know what you're doing


#14 red box

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:10 PM

Without dragging this on forever.
SKY were the company who laid down the rules for what lights were required - at that time Sky broadcasted our games.
They do not do so now so will hardly be upset if we don't have suitable lights. The money from the RFL is from Sky and equates(or did so) to the equivalent of one S.L. clubs share distributed amongst all the Championship clubs.
Premier sports do NOT pay anything for the rights to broadcast games to either the RFL or the clubs affected.
We should be asking the RFL why we should be spending money simply to broadcast games which are played on a Thursday night and adversely affect the clubs revenue streams because of the time/date of the game - when we or the RFL receive NO FINANCIAL BENEFIT.
I cannot think of a moral or business reason that the RFL can put forward for making the club spend this money.

#15 the man

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:19 PM

I can think of a moral one in that on gloomy nights the spectators can't see the action properly

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#16 soss

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

Dave debate is a good thing and i dont think we are dragging it out. we just differ in opinion, nothing wrong with that.
Whether Premier sports pay the RFL or not has no bearing on the RFL insisting that we improve our lighting. They give barrow the monthly dispersibles and have a right to insist how these are spent. Without going into details on here you know how these are distributed through the club and if that means we are pushed to improve our facilities then surely that clan only be a good thing for the club. If we can not raise these funds either by cutbacks in how we spend the dispersible income and fundraising are we not doing something wrong? Remember this is not a new issue suddenly thrust upon us. We have had plenty of warning regarding this issue over the past 3 seasons.
We should turn this into a positive..how often is Askams ground used purely because of the floodlights and how often early season have people been walking out of games complaining about the lights. If they are to be renewed (and they need to be) why not comply with the RFL requirements. Would this not be a step closer for the preparation of a super league application. A dream I know but we still need to move forward to that goal and this would be another step forward for the club not a step back.
After 3 years of being told by the RFL we are now in a position of trying to fund 100k in one season instead of aiming for 33k per season. Is that the fault of the RFL?

The fox running with the hounds

When you are in deep trouble, say nothing, and try to look as though you know what you're doing