I wanted to write my own “note to the accounts”, following publication of our 2018-19 Annual Accounts. The club has yet again made a profit through running the business in a sustainable fashion while achieving success on the park (a very difficult thing in the world of football). I do think it’s important that everyone connected with the club fully understands them, and the ongoing challenges we face, challenges we will overcome together in the months ahead.
These accounts reflect a huge amount of hard work and commitment by our team, both on and off the pitch. It’s been a while since anything approaching this level of financial success was recorded by the club, and it is testament to the efforts of too many people to name individually. Our players, staff, fans, sponsors and lenders are owed a huge debt of gratitude.
We only achieved these phenomenal results with the support and backing of our long-standing creditors. Since the year end, we made further repayments to them from the profits. In return, we have agreed a substantial debt cancellation arrangement with one of them. But we still have underlying historical debt. While we will endeavour to pay this off over the coming seasons, you can rest assured it will not be to the detriment of the club.
We were on track for another very successful season. Finishing in the top six of the Premiership would have seen us return an even better set of results. Then along came COVID-19 and like so many others, including you, our plans hit a wall. As always, our loyal fans and sponsors have been incredible in the face of adversity. Sponsorship commitments have continued, and the response to the operational fund appeal has been overwhelming.
Like every other club in Scotland and beyond, we are having to dramatically re-assess what we would like to achieve, against the harsh practical realities of life. The game in Scotland is currently suspended. It is a very fluid situation, and anyone claiming to be able to predict the outcome is simply not living in the real world. Our success in recent years is built on taking a pragmatic approach, and we will survive by applying the same pragmatism to every decision we take.
The toughest of those challenges and decisions may still lie ahead of us all.
We have guaranteed our players and staff that we will meet their wages in full meantime. However, that in itself is a very fluid situation and it would be financial suicide to entertain the idea that this is sustainable indefinitely. What we can guarantee every single supporter is that we will always put the club first.
The club, as well as many of you personally and commercially, is facing a period of uncertainty. I have every confidence in our business model, and so I have today provided a six-figure sum to the club as an interest free contingency fund to assist in underwriting any unforeseen consequences of the current pandemic.
I have always believed Livingston is a community club. Our success is inextricably linked to yours. The challenges for all of us have only just begun. Together, we are better placed to survive these new daily challenges. Together, we will make this journey. And together, we will survive to be stronger.
As a club, we would like to thank every single one of you, supporters, sponsors, appeal fund subscribers and employees. You have all pulled together, and I am immensely proud and humbled to be the Chairman of your football club.
I want to personally wish every single one of you and your families health and happiness in the days and weeks ahead.
Robert L Wilson