The CAST financial year came to an end on May 31st and we have started preparing our accounts for external examination and presentation to members at the AGM which will be held in the autumn. We thought it would be a good time to give some background on CAST's finances.
The subscription for membership of CAST was set at £5 per annum when the Trust was founded in December 2012. It has remained at that rate ever since. It equates to just under 10p per week.
During its first three years CAST membership grew to about 1000 where it settled until 2020. That membership level produced a net income (after PayPal fees) in the region of £4700 per annum. The major expenditure during those years was in producing a magazine called Trust News which was distributed free to fans at The Valley. Trust News was a source of information and campaigning and also promoted CAST to a wider audience.
The CAST board were conscious of the desirability of building up a reserve but other fixed costs such as insurance, Survey Monkey subscription, MailChimp costs, postage, travel and general administration meant that annual surpluses were minimal.
Full membership increased to 2600 in 2020 as supporters realised that the ESI “shenanigans” represented a genuine threat to the future of the club. The board considered the implications of the resultant increase in revenue and resolved to ensure that a fighting fund be created in case CAST had to take the lead in establishing a fan-ownership model (“Our Club”) if the club were to enter administration. £2400 was spent in the 2020/21 financial year merely to gain initial legal advice. Thomas Sandgaard’s purchase of the club meant that this needed to go no further at the time but the importance of having immediate access to emergency funds for legal, financial and other professional advice had become very apparent.
Increased membership has brought about a related increase in administration and communication costs but the increase in revenue has also allowed CAST to be more creative in its aim “to protect, preserve and promote Charlton Athletic Football Club for this and future generations.”
In the last three years we have been able to introduce “extra” projects:
- Regular Zoom webinars at which members can put questions to the owner and senior staff.
- The CAST Ticketbank through which members can make nominations for match tickets for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to attend.
- Sponsorship of MOD-mag so that the club has an independent fanzine
- Subsidy of coach travel to an away match in memory of Seb Lewis
- Sponsorship towards the cost of an event to celebrate thirty years back at The Valley (Oct 2022)
- An annual award to an outstanding under 16 player in memory of former CAST chair Steve Clarke
- Commissioning of a mosaic of Seb Lewis and a mural to celebrate the return to The Valley
- Funding towards improving equipment for match commentaries for partly sighted fans
- Membership competitions
In purely financial terms breakdown of the destination of the annual £5 subscription is roughly as follows:
Administration and management (including annual report): £ 2.10
“Extra” Projects (as above) £ 1.60
Fighting fund £ 1.30
In non-financial terms membership of CAST offers members (among other things):
- To be represented in meetings with the club owner and senior staff.
- Opportunities to communicate directly with owner and senior staff
- Representation with politicians and football legislators at the highest level (in particular with regard to the Fan-led review of football governance)
- Representation at the RB Greenwich / CAFC Safety Advisory Group
- Weekly bulletin of well-researched articles about CAFC and wider football issues
- Advocacy with club staff where appropriate