Fans-tastic effort may save Bracknell BeesBy Alan Manicom
May 18, 2009
Big-hearted Bracknell Bees fans have raised £15,000 of the £20,000 needed to save the club from going under.
Katie Eleftheriou and Stuart Robinson made an impassioned appeal on Friday, revealing they had been given until mid-day today to raise the necessary funds to compete next season.
And with the target now within reach, the pair have announced that the deadline will now be extended until early this evening.
Eleftheriou and Robinson originally felt that the financial pressures in the current economic climate were too great for them to continue to run the Bees.
But following the withdrawal of a local businessman from negotiations to take over the operating licence at the Hive, the pair had a change of heart.
They were always reluctant to appeal directly to fans for donations, and instead canvassed the local business community and wealthy individuals for sponsorship.
But after coming up with less than £10,000 of the estimated £30,000 costs, Eleftheriou and Robinson decided the intervention from the loyal fanbase was the only way the Bees can continue to ice.
In a statement released last night, Eleftheriou and Robinson said: “Firstly can we just say a massive ‘Thank You’ to all who have contacted us.
“The volume of responses has been overwhelming, with an amazing 113 individual pledges received to date.
“We are awe-struck at the level of contact, particularly heart-warming are the pledges and messages of support received from fans of other clubs around the country as well as those from Bees fans determined to see the club survive in the EPL.
“At the moment, though, we are still some way short of the sum needed to have confidence to start the season (in excess of £20,000).
“Originally, we mentioned a deadline of lunchtime on Monday, but to help us try to reach our tough decision, we will still be happy to accept pledges up to the early evening.
“Hopefully, at the rate at which we’re receiving messages, we still have plenty of time to reach the amount needed.
“At the same time, we are still pursuing every sponsorship lead available, but ultimately our decision will have to revolve upon our ethos of only starting the season if we know we will easily finish it within existing funds, projected cash flow and budgets.
“It is vital for everyone (including the wonderful people who are pledging money) that there is absolutely minimal risk involved or all this effort will be in vain.
“Our biggest worry has always been protecting our levels of season-ticket sales and match-night attendances in the current economic climate.
“If they dip, we will have a problem and this time, we don’t have the luxury of a resource available to underwrite a potential end-of-season loss. Once we know where we stand, we’ll let everyone know.
“We will still need to discuss things with a number of parties (especially the John Nike Group who urgently need to know) before releasing any result.
“Thanks again and keep doing the fantastic job of spreading the word.”