Yeovil Town Commercial Manager Dave Linney spoke to BBC Somerset presenter Emma Britton on Friday 8th August 2014, ahead of the start of the 2014-15 season.
[NB: Just prior to the interview, the BBC played an audio clip from a representative of Sheffield Hallam University, who stated that Yeovil Town's relegation from the Championship to League One would result in a drop in 'central' league funding, ranging from "A guaranteed #4.5 million in the Championship, dropping to a guaranteed #325,000 in League One" - that clip was used as a lead-in to the actual interview.]
EB: That's a big drop in money, isn't it - a massive drop.
DL: It really is - it's quite frightening when you look at the figures. But yes he's right in what he's saying in that it's a substantial drop in income, and we've had to cut our cloth accordingly, of course.
EB: Would you have set aside any of that money and squirrelled it away for preparation of the potential of the drop and the return to League One?
DL: Well I don't get involved with the finances too much with the Directors, but yes I believe that there was some set aside for a rainy day. But hopefully we don't have to dip into it too much, and hopefully we can get a good start tomorrow.
EB: And what about commercially? How does the club prepare for coming down a league - even though you've been there before, and you had one season in the Championship, are any of the preparations commercially different - ticket prices, season ticket prices or what you sell in the club shop - what changes do you have to make?
DL: There's no significant changes. The season ticket prices did go up slightly, but we're really pleased with how they've gone. We've sold over 2,500 season tickets, compared with League One from two years ago, which was 1,900.
EB: That's brilliant, isn't it?
DL: That is great, and as you rightly put in your bit before I came on air, I didn't hear any negative remarks about us going down. Everybody enjoyed the ride and hopefully we'll have a chance to be in the right half of the league this year to compete.
EB: What about the growth of the stadium and of the club? I remember just after relegation was confirmed, one of the things that Gary Johnson was saying was that the club needs to think bigger and be bigger. That's really hard to do when you haven't got that big money coming in.
DL: Yes, that's very true, but we do have ambition. You have to have controlled ambition. Gary, Terry and Darren have put a squad together - they've been given the remit by the directors to but that squad together to hopefully compete at the right end again. We're not going to say that we're going to go straight back up because that's foolish, and it will bite you on the bum if you're not careful. But we hope to be in the right part of that league, and that will bring in extra income and hopefully give us the funds to push on.
EB: Just one quick question on the season tickets - a supporter on Twitter says "Is it a good idea to put the prices up when the club has gone down?" - reflecting in the numbers that have taken it up, it doesn't sound as if it has bothered people, but what was the decision to put it up?
DL: I think people forget that the season before, we were hovering around the play-offs and we gave an early bird season ticket offer where they could have it at League One prices if we got into the Championship, and of course we did get into the Championship. A lot of people took that on, and so they had it very very cheap for that Championship year. So we didn't really put the prices up for the Championship. So things go up, and all of the utility prices go up around us, but our ticket prices didn't go up for two or three seasons. So we have to come in line, and we're still quite cheap compared to a lot of clubs in our vicinity - Exeter City for one. We do compete with prices, that's for sure.
EB: What about footfall through the gates for on-the-day ticket purchasing? Do you expect to see a drop in that now that have come from the Championship? The Championship attracts some extra fans - maybe some fair-weather fans, or some football snobs - dare I say it! Are you expecting the football to drop for the on-the-day receipts?
DL: I think so - again I think it would be foolish not to look at that. Our season ticket base has gone up to 2,500 compared to the 1,900. So it will compromise on a few of the walk-ups. But the best marketing tool that we have is out there on the pitch, and when you start winning games, then it brings people to the games, and that's what we're hoping will happen. Gary has assembled a squad of 22 or 23 players, which is unprecedented at this time of the season for most teams. So we're trying to get the momentum early. We don't want to chase our tails too early. So we're trying to get this momentum. We're hoping for a decent 4,500 or 5,000 crowd tomorrow (against Doncaster) and we'll work to keep those coming in each week.
EB: How long have you been there Dave? You mentioned last night (at a club Sponsors evening) that you'd been here longer than the Chairman.
DL: I've been associated with Yeovil since 1983, which is 31 years. I've actually been the Commercial Manager now for the last 13 years. So I've seen a lot of good times of course, with the last 12 years seeing us going into the Football League, but I've also seen the demise when we went into the Vauxhall-Opel (Isthmian) League many years ago. So I have seen both sides of the spectrum, and this I've got to say is unprecedented and fantastic.
EB: Any message for the fans as you approach the new season?
DL: Well, let's come up there and support Gary. We hope to have a decent season, and I'm not just saying that to bring people in. We're confident that the squad that's been assembled is going to be competing at the right half of the league. We just need the supporters to come through the gate, to give us some extra cash to perhaps get a bigger squad and then push on during the second half of the season. So let's get behind the lads and hope for a good result tomorrow.
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