IRISH LEAGUE: Portadown call to arms after directors admit club future at risk

Shamrock Park.
Shamrock Park.

Portadown directors have confirmed the future of the club remains at risk due to financial pressures.

Representatives of the Board of Directors highlighted a weekly deficit of around £5,000 and how ongoing debts such as historical loans could force the club to fold by the end of the season.

However, the call to arms was met with a positive response within the packed Shamrock Park boardroom and a second meeting has been scheduled within a month to update fans on progress.

Directors established a commitment to honour existing wages to players and the management team until the end of the current Bluefin Sport Championship campaign.

“Our weekly wage costs have been reduced by two-thirds compared to last season and a number of the historical debts have been addressed,” said the Board of Directors in a joint statement. “However, when you realise the weekly costs mount to around £6,000 and an average home gate may only leave you with over £350 profit, it is clear we need additional income streams.

“As a club in the Championship but with Premiership-level costs we are facing annual bills such as £22,000 rates and £12,000 apiece for insurance then electric and heating.

“We have plans in place and it was extremely encouraging to hear fans present at the meeting put forward suggestions to help.

“It is an ongoing process and we are in negotiations at present to find a resolution to the issue of the historical debts.

“If certain key problems can be solved over the next few weeks then we can move forward.

“This is a community club and one which has benefited in the past and continues to benefit from individuals from a wide range of areas willing to put in personal money to help Portadown.

“A legacy of that is historical debt which restricts our current options but everyone involved has the best interests of Portadown at heart and talks continue.”

Portadown have held discussions with Crusaders in search of suggestions following the Belfast club’s success in rebuilding from similar problems.

“We have had some excellent ideas from Crusaders so far and there is no doubt that following that community-led model is the way forward,” confirmed the directors. “The feedback from the meeting was a great step forward in that direction and we will explore all avenues towards protecting the future of the club.

“We, as custodians of the club, feel it would be unethical to ask supporters or our friends in the business community to contribute significant sums under the present circumstances until the historical debts can be addressed.

“But fans can show support in the short term towards the club shop, internal fund-raising projects and the We Are Ports supporters’ scheme.

“No-one is hiding away from the difficulties we face but there is a determination from everyone to move forward.”