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COLERAINE fans are determined to rise to the challenge of putting a successful team out on the Showgrounds pitch.

On Saturday board members filled the fans in on the need for the CFC Challenge and how the projected shortfall for the season has come about.

And the fans once again proved their worth by backing the plan 100% and initiating several fundraising projects from now until the end of the season. And it was also revealed that in the two weeks since the challenge was launched the club has brought in £10,000.

“This is the only game in town and it’s one we have to win,” said director Willie McNabb.

“However, this is not a knee jerk reaction or intended to cause panic.

“We as a board have always been up front and honest and we are being proactive to the situation not reactive because there’s no way we want to revisit the scenario we found ourselves in back in 2005.

“Our priority has and always will be to put a talented, successful and competitive team out on the pitch.

“We all expect the players to do their bit on the pitch, but it’s up to us to do our bit off it by providing the financial support for them to deliver.

“Our costs are in line with our budget, but our revenue streams have been reduced in three key areas - attendances, sponsorship and prize money.

“In relation to attendances we are predicting a shortfall of £14,500.

“Attendance figures can blur the picture as it’s all about paying customers through the gates. At Coleraine we have a 50/50 split on those paying £10 and those paying £6 so fans are paying an £8 average to watch our home games.

“Out of the £8 we have to pay VAT which means we are actually getting £6.70 with £1.30 going to HMRC.

“We also have a regular number of non-paying fans (Under-11s, Academy players, guests etc) who are included in the attendance figure. So we’ve worked out on averages we are 80-100 paying fans down this season.

“Away support is also down dramatically which has a big bearing on things too.

“The recession has really impacted on our sponsorship. This is a very difficult time for businesses and we have found it very hard to try and bring sponsorship into the club due to the financial climate.

“The days of receiving £1,000 for match sponsorship are long gone. The Directors had to sponsor the recent game against Distillery and there are still several more games from now until the end of the season which we need sponsors for.

“Pitchside advertising has also been hit with some companies not renewing, some asking for a reduction and unfortunately some no longer in business.

“We have approach a lot of local and national businesses without success as marketing is low down on their list of priorities at present.

“Our main sponsors remain totally committed to the club. However, Club President Andy Magowan of TBF Thompson, has said he will step aside if we were able to attract a shirt sponsor who would be willing to put in more money, with Andy still offering to maintain his financial support to the club too.

“We all know the local game has suffered a big hit in terms of its own sponsorship. The Irish Cup is still without a sponsor and we reckon overall it will be down £100,000, and we are projecting a £11,000 to ourselves.

“This is based on us budgeting on the team getting to a semi final, quarter final and finishing in the top six.

“Over the years we always treated fans through the gates and sponsorship as a fairly fluid thing, but we felt prize money would always be secure.

“Running costs for the season are around £420,000. You would be surprised at the scale of some of the things we have to pay for.

“”Rates and water come in at around £26,000 per year. We have started work on looking in to supplying our own water which could save us around £10,000.

“Energy costs are another £22,000 and match day costs weigh in at around £20,000 for officials, St John’s Ambulance and security.

“The stadium requires a lot of maintenance and with Health and Safety regulations we are looking at around £15,000 per year. Our rent is £10,000 which is very modest and our landlords are very good to us helping us with a lot of projects around the ground.”

Willie praised the fans’ efforts to date and called on them to continue to back the club on and off the pitch.

“The supporters as always have stepped up to the plate, but it’s important that we push on now,” he said.

“There are some very encouraging ideas coming forward which we will be hoping to implement over the next few weeks. We will also be holding bucket collections at all the home games until the end of the season.

“Business on the pitch is continuing though and our home game against Ballinamallard United this Saturday is massive for several reasons.

“Obviously we will have revenge on our minds after the last game against them a couple of weeks ago. But this is also a massive game in terms of top six qualification.

“So I’d appeal to the fans to get out in numbers and get behind Oran and the lads. And if you know anyone who hasn’t been to The Showgrounds in a while or has maybe never been then invite them along.”