Who are Millbrook Football Club?
Millbrook AFC was formed in 1888 and is one of the oldest football clubs in Cornwall. Since 1980 when the club joined the South Western League there have been some great players and teams that have graced Jenkins Park (formally Mill Park) in the black and white stripes in days that included FA Vase fixtures and Senior Cup finals. It remains a club that many people have a strong affiliation with all around the County despite it falling from the top level of Peninsula football 10 years ago.
Recently there have been a lot of changes in a very short space of time at Millbrook AFC. Since the summer of 2016 this has included new personnel in the clubhouse, the pitch, the dugout and more recently the Committee. The club has been struggling against financial problems for over a decade which became too much for a committe dwindling in numbers and support. Attempts have been made in the last few years to control and repay these debts and although there have been periods of stability, a lack of business experience has led to costly mistakes. The recent changes to the Committee (January 2017) had to be made to quite simply try and save the club from financial ruin. We are trying desperatley hard to do this although we face incredible obstacles in our path.
We have great plans for the club benefitting the local community including:
- A growing Youth set up for young footballers every Saturday morning run by local volunteers
- Links with both primary schools in the area to use the facility
- Opening the clubhouse for anyone who wants to use it for functions and other events.
On the pitch, we have two adult teams and our first team has more local links than it has had for years and are having a successful season in SWPL Div 1 West and reaching the quarter finals of the Cornwall Senior Cup. As you may have seen from our Facebook page since the summer Jenkins Park has seen extensive ground improvements by making the stand safe again thanks to sponsorship and local business support.
So what's wrong?
Unfortunatley off the pitch we have inherited what can only be described as a financial mess. We now have a new Chairman and Treasurer of the club (installed in January 2017) with local links to the village and the expertise to help save it. Alongside these, there is a team of strong committee members who have been working hard for months only to discover the seriousness of the issues. It has become evident that Millbrook AFC has not been controlled properly over the years and we now face the consequences of that. However, our interests are not in the past and why it is like this, our sole focus is the future and solving these problems. The club has upwards of £30,000 debt that has been built up over the years and we are trying our hardest to chip away at this bit by bit.
The knockout punch...
On 12th January 2017 we received confirmation of an individual bill that exceeds £9,000. Not only is this another one for the long list of creditors but it is one that demands a 50% upfront payment and following monthly payments of hundreds of pounds that we simply do not have. If the bill is not paid then it will be more than likely that the club will be closed.
What are we asking for?
In a nutshell we are asking for support.
We understand that you have not got the club into the mess it is in, but neither have we - we are simply trying to save it!
Our aim is to raise the funds needed to pay off this most recent bill that we have inherited. If we can get this new creditor off of our back then we really do have a fighting chance of accelerating our plans and returning the club to the place it used to be - the hub of the community. We want to rebuild a club that the village and community can be proud of and is an asset to the league and local football. We are optimistic about our plans for the clubs future but we are also realistic that this recent bill is a fatal threat to the clubs existence.
This is not just an easy way out for us. We have already held fundraising veterans games with Plymouth Argyle, Christmas Raffles, and board advertising. We have big plans for similar events at Easter and throughout the rest of the year. The players and committee have already pledged substantial donations to go towards the upfront payment of the £9,000 bill. Any kind of pledge can help us pay off the immediate threat from this and will let us focus on the more manageable long term debts as a club - ones that are already under control.
We have an open forum at Millbrook AFC on Friday 27th January at 7.30pm when more details will be presented to attendees, questions can be answered and the vision for the future can be shown. We are frustrated and appalled at the financial situation we have taken on but we are extremely passionate about the club and are desperate to get things right. We hope you feel the same way and want to support our ideas and we are extremely grateful for any donation you want to give.
We look forward to seeing anyone who attends on Friday 27th January.
Mark Pratten & Mackenzie Brown