A fundraising committee has been set up with the aim of bringing £100,000 into Chester FC.
But Brian Burns has assured followers of the fan-owned club that it is not their money alone that will make or break the committee’s chances of hitting its six-figure target.
Lifelong supporter Burns, who has accepted Blues chairman Tony Durkin’s invitation to head up the committee, does not deny the fact that he wants fans to dip deeper into their pockets.
But he believes that the volunteering of time will be just as crucial.
The 65-year-old father-of-four, who is in his 60th year of supporting Chester, said: “One thing I was very, very clear about when I accepted the chairman’s offer is that we are going to be going out there asking people for money against the backdrop of a recession.
“I know supporters of this football club who have lost their jobs, supporters who have had their working hours reduced, and supporters who are on benefits who, because of government plans, will have less disposable income.
“So while it’s not untrue that we’ll be going out to the City Fans United membership and the wider fan base asking them to put their hands into their pockets a little bit more, we need to manage this very carefully and look at the other options in which fans can help.”
Those ‘options’ include asking supporters to become agents for the Seals Lottery and Blues Lotto, two existing revenue streams – the former open to CFU members, the latter to the wider public – that the committee has plans to ‘reinvigorate’.
Another idea that will not require fans to spend their own money is a proposed sponsored walk to and from the Exacta Stadium before one of the final home games of this season.
“The whole emphasis is on help and involvement,” said Burns, a retired learning and development manager at Stanlow Refinery whose son Dan is the pitchside announcer at the Exacta Stadium.
“When I was asked to put the committee together I didn’t say yes immediately. But as I profess to be an owner of this football club as a CFU member, I therefore felt I had a personal responsibility, so I agreed to take it on despite it not being the area I might have chosen to help the club.
“I said to Tony Durkin after accepting the position, ‘how much do you want us to raise and please don’t say as much as you can’. He said to me £100,000.
“It’s going to be a heck of challenge but it’s one I’m excited about and I’m going to co-ordinate, pull together and assist fans of this football club to help to try and raise it.”
The committee, along with the Blues board, is looking into the possibility of raising the annual £5 CFU membership or at least introducing a tiered CFU membership, with ‘incentives’ to members who contribute more.
That is one of the ‘big number fundraisers’ chairman Durkin feels is critical to increasing revenue streams from within the fan base in order to build the club’s infrastructure.
Lache-born Burns, a former secretary of the Junior Blues, is also hoping the newly launched ‘Make a Stand’ competition will help bring in a significant amount.
The two winners of the competition will have the chance to put their names on the fascia of the Harry McNally Terrace – alongside Chester’s iconic former manager – for the whole of next season.
It costs £5 to enter and tickets are available from the Exacta Stadium.
Burns said: “Some of our ideas we have to deliver soon but by the same token I would ask for a little bit of time as we’ve only met twice – we’re a fairly embryonic committee.
“But one thing I can promise is that we will get back to anyone who contacts us. We’re not just looking for ideas of fundraising but what you can do to help and to let us know that you can be there when we need you.”
If you would like to contact Brian Burns and the fundraising committee email firstname.lastname@example.org.