WE held our AGM last Wednesday where we presented our accounts up to November 2019.

We reported a small loss that is perfectly normal when running a business of our type with director investment ensuring that there was never any financial drama.

It was a time for reflection and a time to look forward.

Of course, relegation occurred in 2019 and with it a massive financial hit in terms of central distribution.

Our funding from the RFL was lower by a six- figure amount for 2020 and that clearly represented a lot of challenge.

We made the conscious decision to reduce the size of the playing squad to help offset some of the financial concern and to a man the players and coaches understood the situation and were not greedy when negotiating new contracts.

I think everybody at the club felt there was some unfinished business and we were all determined to bounce back with instant promotion.

The squad we had put together made such a promising start and with our crippling injury list looking like a thing of the past we were well placed to make a determined promotion push and had budgeted well enough to have a small amount of team funding in reserve.

At the meeting I remarked that this was a year like no other with the pandemic striking.

Clearly everyone at the club was frustrated and restart plans were made and shifted right, made again and shifter further right before eventually we lost the season completely.

I was sat with the Barrow AFC chairman and our accountant, Paul Hornby, and we both remarked how tough it had been and how tough it was going to be.

There is a very real prospect that crowds may not return for the start of the rugby season which for us traditionally starts with the friendlies in January.

Our sponsors and supporters have been absolutely fantastic in terms of their support and 2020 has not turned out to be as bad financially as it could have been.

Clearly the work we have been doing off the pitch has been a major contributor, and everyone has worked tremendously hard throughout the summer to ensure the survival of the club.

Commercially things have gone well and taking back ownership of the advertising hoardings on the back of the ground on Hindpool Road has been a godsend.

The fact that this space is not directly related to rugby and crowds is an added advantage.

2021 will present tougher challenges.

We aren’t a charity and our supporters and sponsors can’t be expected to continually prop us up.

We know other clubs have had to take advantage of loans that have been on offer and we guess that could be an option for us but one of our key aims has been to reduce debt, not saddle the club with this burden.

All in all there are lots of unique challenges for the board but we are blessed with such a hard working team, that includes both staff and volunteers, that we are confident whatever is thrown at us we will overcome.