Cook stays on as manager but Town budget is slashed by 25%

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Bridlington Town manager Mitch Cook will be staying with the club for the 2013/14 season, but he will have to operate with a smaller budget.

Club chairman Peter Smurthwaite has told the Free Press that Cook will remain in charge at Queensgate, but financial pressures mean that he will have less money to work with.

In a bid to try to improve attendances and raise more funds, Town’s home midweek fixtures will be switched to Wednesday nights and the on-going search for local sponsors will continue.

Smurthwaite said: “I can confirm Mitch Cook will continue as first team manager for the coming season and I am hoping most of last year’s playing squad will re-sign for the club.

“Mitch has agreed to work with a players expenses budget which I have had to reduce by approximately 25% from last year’s budget.

“The reason for this is that income at the club will be reduced this coming season, now we have lost our league fixture with Scarborough Athletic, who have been promoted.

“Last season, apart from this game attendances were down 20% on the previous season and one of the main reasons is the amount of live televised football matches on midweek nights.

“We are switching our normal midweek night from Tuesday to Wednesday to avoid clashes with terrestrial television Champions League games and also clashing with Hull City home games to see if our attendances can improve.

“Also, the sponsorship agreement I have had with Neil Hudgell Solicitors for the last three years has come to the end of the contract, I am currently in negotiations for an extension but nothing has been agreed yet.”

Off the field, there is plenty of work to be done, all of which will cost the Seasiders money, which is why the chairman is desperately trying to find more Bridlington businesses to support the club.

Smurthwaite, who owns Hull-based PBS Construction, added: “I need to look at spending money to improve the floodlights which are in urgent need of repair. Having made an application to the Football Association for a grant in October last year, to date I have not received a positive reply which is not unusual with the FA when it comes to helping grassroots football.

“As I have mentioned before, revenue in the Seasiders Bar has reduced substantially in recent years in line with most licenced premises.

“The construction industry is also in recession which means I am not prepared to put the level of funding into the club as in recent years.

“On the positive side I am grateful to David Naylor, John Gibson and the subscribers to the Onward Fund who have agreed to make a weekly contribution to the players’ budget and I know they make regular requests to fans to join the fund which is the best way of helping the football club.

“I know that more than 400 fans subscribe to Scarborough Athletics Supporters Trust and I would be happy if we could increase our small membership to 40 fans.

“I will make my usual annual plea to the public and businesses of Bridlington for help with not only sponsorship but we also have vacancies for a first team physiotherapist and a kit person who could be available for the majority of our home and away games. Anyone interested could contact myself through the Free Press.

“I understand we receive plenty of suggestions on the Bridlington Town Fans Forum of how to improve the club, it is great talking about it and perhaps some positive offers of help would be the best way to improve the club.”

The stadium at Queensgate has hosted a number of Driffield League and County League cup finals, as wellas the celebrity game to raise money for the Once Upon A Smile charity, which attracted around 600 spectators.

Smurthwaite said: “In the past five weeks so many players, friends and families have enjoyed using the facilities at the club for many local cup finals and have maybe visited the Queensgate ground for the first time.

“The best way to ensure that the facility is available in the future is to give what little help they can no matter how small.

“Finally, I can confirm we will continue to run the reserve team who will continue to play at East Riding College and thank John Kenney and Dave Grosse for their support in running the team.”