Dewsbury chairman desperate for Championship survival

Dewsbury chairman Mark Sawyer has admitted that relegation from the Championship would be a “bitter financial blow” to the club.
With just five games of the season remaining and no win since March, the Rams find themselves bottom of the table and three points from survival.
It’s been a tough few months for coach Warren Jowitt’s side and unless his side reverse their fortunes, they’ll face another stint in the sport’s third tier.
Sawyer claims that last season’s financial loss of around £100,000 forced the club to create a lean budget for this season, so competing was always going to be tough.
He said: “We lost over £100,000 last year due to winning a lot of games. At that level you have to use the winning and losing pay option and by being so successful last season, it cost us dearly.
“When you’re paying out over £5,000 per week in winning pay while receiving limited returns through the gate, costs begin to mount up.
“It is extremely hard to survive in Championship 1 but, unfortunately, staying up is looking unlikely at this stage.
“We’re disappointed to be in the mix for relegation and we’re more than up against it now.
“At the start of the season our objective was to scrape into the playoffs and have a good run in the Northern Rail Cup. We started well but a few defeats, here and there, have left us in a difficult position.”
The Rams have come in for some criticism this year due to their everchanging squad. The club, due to their low budget, have tried to keep the majority of their squad on noncontract deals in order to keep costs to a minimum.
Sawyer conceded that the club have been put in a difficult position to survive after last year’s losses but defends the fact that so many players have been and gone at the Tetley’s Stadium in 2011.
“We have been forced to bring in a lot of players this year,” said Sawyer.
“The plan was to have fewer contracted players on the roster and that can put you in a difficult position.
“We only have two or three players under contract, others are paid based on appearances. That method makes it easier for a player to leave the club and sometimes you have to sign five or six players in order to get one that fits the bill.
“We’ve been able to add to our squad throughout the season because we haven’t won as many games as we budgeted for. That means that there is money available for Warren (Jowitt) to spend.
“It’s not all down to budget, there are games that we’ve lost that are simply inexcusable and that has happened several times this year.
“We’ve underachieved but there is a fine line between success and failure.”
The Rams eased to promotion back in 2009, winning all 18 of their league matches to take the Championship 1 title by 12 points.
Last year saw them avoid relegation by a fair margin but this season has seen a slide in standards. Early ambitions of a top six finish were washed out several weeks ago and now survival is the only option in order for the club to progress.
Sawyer added: “Relegation would have a massive impact on the club.
“If we go down then we’ll end up being a big fish in a little pond.
“Of course we’ll win more games, that is a given, but beating everyone doesn’t make things better, it makes it very hard to balance the books.
“Warren is feeling the pressure but you won’t find anyone more disappointed than him. He has the full support of the board, we appreciate what he has done for this club.”
Commercially, relegation can prove tough for any club, but the Rams were boosted last year with news that main sponsors Eric France were on board until the end of 2012.
However Sawyer claims that over half of the club’s sponsors have stopped backing Dewsbury over the past three years, with ‘hidden costs’, such as maintenance hitting the club harder in recent years.
He said: “Our stadium is a sort of hidden cost. We spend money on it every week but we’re lucky to have a team of volunteers who help us maintain it.
“We’ve had the inspectors in and they have said that we need to do a lot of work in order to keep up to the required standards.
“There are issues with the alarm system, the lift needs to be improved, the bottom fence needs replacing and the sewerage system needs some work doing to it.
“All that will come to a cost of around £20,000. It’s a huge cost and this is where you have to look at the pros and cons of owning your own facilities.”
The Rams desperately need to turn things around over the next month, and the task begins in just over a week’s time when they face playoff chasing Barrow.
The month of August could make or break their season. In the space of eight days, they face fellow strugglers Toulouse and Hunslet, two games that could seal their fate or save their Championship status.

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