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MAGPIES: Community backing a must, says co-chairman Neal Butterworth
EVERY season is just as much of a challenge for clubs off the pitch as on it and that certainly rings true for Dorchester Town this term.
The Magpies start their first campaign under the joint majority ownership of Shaun Hearn and the Community Trust on Saturday.
This summer has been one of change at the Avenue with the club and its supporters having to come to terms with the fact that this season could be more testing than most.
But with a new board in place and the club operating with joint chairmen in Hearn and the trust’s Neal Butterworth, the focus is on working towards securing the Magpies’ long-term future.
“The aim is to achieve a sustainable business and have a club that, if not in profit, then is certainly breaking even by the end of the season,” said Butterworth.
“Being commercially successful as well is important and that includes attracting bigger crowds and getting the club out into the community.
“In terms of performance, it’s about doing as well as we can and hopefully it will be another exciting season for the supporters.
“It’s always going to be tricky balancing money coming in and money going out but as long as we can get the support of the community I see no reason at all why we can’t stay in the league we are in now.
“We are all here for the single purpose of running a club and running it at the best level we possibly can.
“People have to realise that we are going to give as much money to the playing budget as we can but it has to be within the context of ensuring we have a sustainable business.
“We’ve got a significantly reduced playing budget this season but from what I have seen so far we are going to be putting out a great team.”
He went on to add: “If we get a cup run like last season we will be fine.
“You can’t under-estimate how massively important it is to have something like that.
“But we all realise that we are not going to be guaranteed that again, although everyone would love it to happen.
“You’ve got to be realistic when you’re trying to run a sustainable club and you can’t gamble on som-ething like that happening this season.”
Butterworth is more than happy with the relationship between him and Hearn and is happy to see local businesses showing an interest in linking up with the club.
However, the bottom line, according to Butterworth, is that the new ownership structure won’t work if the fans and the wider community do not buy into the ultimate aim of full community ownership.
“We are still very dependent on the supporters attending matches and getting behind the club,” added Butterworth.
“We need to do everything we can to encourage more people to games and to get involved with the club.
“It’s going to be a long road and we are only at the start of a long process in turning this club around.
“We have had a few businesses come on board, which is excellent.
“The club is grateful to all our sponsors but we are always looking for more.
“Me and Shaun have got a good working relationship but we’re
under no illusions how far we’ve got to go.”
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