Rob Urwin caught up with Ian (by e-mail) to ask a few questions.
If anyone has anything they would like to ask Ian, Liam or James please send your questions in to email@example.com and we will put them to the appropriate person.
Are you and the family well? Coping with the kids home all day?
Family are all good. Luckily Claire is a great cook!
As a lawyer (and thus a “key worker”) I am still at the moment in and out of the office to deal with Court Orders, deadlines etc but I am definitely spending much more time at home.
It is fair to say that after home schooling the girls for a day, firstly Claire is far more patient than me, and I have a far greater respect now for the girls teachers!
Other than that, we are playing a lot of hide and seek, and I win!
It is a very worrying time for everyone, both from a health side and footballing side, How do Southport Football Club stand in terms of the future?
First and foremost, I hope all our supporters and everyone associated with the Club are healthy and getting through this difficult time. If there is any way that James, Liam, Steven or I (or any one else at the club) can in any way help, then please do get in touch.
Football definitely comes second to ensuring everyone’s wellbeing and helping where we can.
In terms of the health of the Club and particularly the financial health, it is a difficult time for all concerned in our league and the National League generally.
By the time this is aired I would hope that some guidance has been forthcoming but as we stand at present very near to the end of March and some three weeks without football we have had no guidance from the powers that be at the National League as to whether the season is over, or “to be continued…” nor any assistance or guidance as to how we are to pay the staff or expenses with no income coming in.
Rumours abound on a daily basis as to the difficult decisions being taken by other clubs at our level, and the level above in relation to large pay cuts or even all players contracts being terminated.
I spoke on numerous occasions last summer about the importance of stabilising the club and living within our means. Fortunately, we have managed to achieve that. We have gone from a deficit of £500,000 last season (nearly £1million the year before) to nigh on breaking even this season.
This has taken a tremendous effort from everyone at the Club from James working every hour, Liam going over and above in respect of his helping Steve Brown on the commercial side and of course the volunteers who save the Club a fortune in salaries by giving up huge amounts of time on a daily basis.
To be taken alongside this is the huge success Claire, Maz and the rest of the hospitality, events and bar staff are having in promoting this side of the club.
All this has put us in a good stead to deal with the current difficulties and try to ensure as much as possible that all playing and non-playing staff receive their salaries regardless of whether assistance is coming or not from the National League. Without assistance, it will be difficult but as I indicated above we are now much better placed to pull through.
And some fans have stepped up and helped?
Yes, it is really humbling when fans are contributing their hard earned money to help in such unprecedented times. Paul (Newnham) has of course helped massively but each and every contribution makes our job that little easier and that little bit more rewarding.
I know from my post match service station chats with Paul how much the Club means to him but that can be said also for every fan who has dug deep and made a donation to the Club, big or small.
I was extremely disappointed to see comments made by two or three posters on Port Chat questioning whether James and Darren had, in accordance with an earlier tweet, actually rang around fans to check on their wellbeing.
I know how much time James and Darren, of their own accord and without my asking have “stepped up to the plate” in making sure, as much as they can, that they help as many people as possible in the Southport Community.
As I write this, James is about to start volunteering at the local hospital, whereas Darren has been making sure food and provisions are reaching those most in need. We are all fighting every hour to ensure the club pulls through and that we help as many people in the community so to criticise them on Port Chat left me astounded but fortunately they are in the minority, far outweighed by the appreciation shown on a daily basis by those who can see how much work is being put in by all involved, and who do their bit to contribute
What do you think should happen to the season and, would you be saying the same if we were 10 points clear at the top of the table?
I think it will be declared null and void. I really do feel for Kings Lynn and York, and clubs like Boston and Altrincham who have invested a lot of money in trying to get into the play offs but quite simply at this time there are things more important than football. I believe the only way forward is to ensure that everyone sticks to the guidance stay inside wherever possible and lets go again when everyone is healthy and we can concentrate on enjoying football again.
Do you think some clubs may never recover financially from Coronavirus?
Unfortunately at present I think that is a certainty unless the National League up their game and step in with some much needed financial assistance. They haven’t done so far and I am not hopeful but I really would love to be proven wrong. We have to take it all in context with people who are suffering or worse as a result of the coronavirus but it will be heart-breaking to a lot of clubs like South Shields who have thrown it all into this season only to have it snatched away from the
I really do hope every club comes through this.
Do you ever sit there and regret becoming involved?
6-0 down, away at Stockport County, with the home fans hurling abuse at us, as though being 6-0 down wasn’t bad enough! To be fair though, for every Stockport game, there is a Tranmere away game. That’s football, and that’s why we go week in, week out!