Yup. That’s me. A “ranting buffoon”. I’ve taken quite a liking to being described as that. Although, as far as I can tell, in British Ice Hockey all this signifies is that my thinking deviates from the orthodoxy and I’m not afraid to express this fact. Anyways, could be worse, I could be called a “scumbag”. Oh, wait…..
So, there was a small meeting before the game this past Sunday where a few more details of the plans for next season were revealed. Naturally, there are those for whom not nearly enough information was revealed. Indeed, for some folks I seriously doubt that even total disclosure will ever be enough, They will remain convinced Neil is lying about something, or hiding some deeply important bit of information. But for those who were willing to accept what was said, there were more than a few reasons to smile.
The main one was thatw ere are (hopefully) within 10 days (and I’d guess Neil mean’t 10 working days) of signing the lease on the building which will house our temporary pad. This will be a 10 year lease, which is the shortest we could negotiate, although the intention is to occupy the building for no more than 3 years (correction: the lease is for 5 years. Damn my crappy note taking). The precise location will be revealed before the season ends (so within the next 4 weeks), and the front runner of the 3 facilities we are looking at is just 9 minutes by train (yes, train, not tram) from Piccadilly. This puts it probably within 10 minutes or so from Piccadilly by car. A couple of potential sites were flagged up to me earlier this week, but I can definately discount one of them, as it was demolished just last week. WHich is a shame as it was in a pretty good location, and appeared to have ample space for our needs. Ah well, c’est la vie.
Other bits: Well, Manchester City Council are fully onboard with the project and have been very helpful in helping locate suitable venues. The buildings all have leisure useage already, so all those folks running around the web spouting off about planning permission are barking up the wrong tree apparently. The temporary rink will be a full “community” facility, with interest already from speed skating group’s, ice dancers, and junior hockey players. Now, I’ve been aware of a certain level of unhappiness from some parents (and players) in the Altrincham system about how the summers events unfolded, so this last group being interested doesn’t surprise me one bit.
Now, the negatives are the building will be a converted warehouse, so “home comforts” will be kept to a minimum. Which is fine by me. As long as there is ice, some seats, and a scoreboard it’s all good. The fripperies can come later with the permanent facility.
Another negative was that the club needs about £31k to reach the seasons end. This is a big ask, but I remain convinced we will achieve this. 4 more weeks. A few other financial bits and pieces came out. Running costs were briefly detailed, and included things that folks who do “back of a napkin maths” often forget. Equipment costs for example. The club spends around £500 a week replacing broken sticks. That adds up quickly. A coach cost £1000 to hire (but more on that later). Cars, houses, wages, ice time, insurance, etc. and yet some folks reckon that the Phoenixs sums make no sense. Believe me, it is easy to spend over £30k a month keeping a team on the ice (and often even more).
Anyways, coaches…. a sore subject for sure this week. It was divulged by Bracknell that they had to pay towards the Phoenix coach to the game on Saturday, or we wouldn’t attend. Now, this placed the Bracknell guys in a pickle, as they too are short of cash, and required the gate money to make payroll. So, after some (hotly disputed) negotiations they agreed to pay. Now this was apparently agreed sometime between a week and 10 days prior to the game taking place ,depending on whether you believe the official announcement (a week), or the email they sent to season ticket holders (10 days). This was also apparently the reason they couldn’t pay their jersey suppliers for the limited edition Armed Forces jerseys they were due to wear, and give to fans who had already paid a minimum of £100 to own. Now, I remain sceptical of this excuse, as the revenue generated by the jerseys should have covered the cost of them, and the contribution to the Phoenix coach, however not knowing the exact details of the deal Bracknell have with their jersey manufacturers, this is pure speculation on my part. Again, pure speculation, but I’d guess that the jersey supplier wanted paying upfront, rather than on invoice as you would expect (not uncommon for businesses when dealing with another which has financial issues), and Bracknell were unable to do this until after the gate monies had been collected, so rather than risk not being paid, the supplier simply withheld the jerseys until they are paid for them. Which is perfectly fair from their standpoint, but sucks for Bracknells fans.
So yeah. This is your friendly, neighbourhood ranting buffoon saying bye for now!