Plymouth Argyle still aiming for return to Championship
A RETURN to the Championship remains the target for Plymouth Argyle, owner and chairman James Brent has told Herald Sport.
Argyle are currently in 19th position in League Two, with only four wins out of 17 games, and were beaten in the FA Cup first round by part-timers Dorchester Town earlier this month.
Off the pitch, the club are carrying out a restructuring process which could result in a maximum of 10 redundancies among non-playing staff.
Brent has also had to use his own money to fund a shortfall in expected income caused by attendances at Home Park dropping below the break-even figure.
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His aspiration, however, remains for the Pilgrims to become a sustainable Championship club as soon as possible.
Brent insisted the restructuring at Home Park had been planned since he rescued Argyle from administration in October 2011 and was not in response to any financial problems.
He thought the set-up behind the scenes at the club was 'disjointed' and the changes were aimed at resolving that.
Argyle had a rapid rise to the Championship at the start of this century, but after six seasons at that level they were relegated in May 2010.
That led to a chain of events which ended with the Pilgrims in administration after a financial collapse under the previous board of directors and playing in League Two by August 2011.
Brent told Herald Sport: "What we have is an infrastructure which is small by Championship standards but large by League Two standards.
"It is disjointed in that it evolved rather than being created.
"So what we have done is we have stood back and said, 'What is the right structure for a League Two club with aspirations of playing in the Championship?'
"A number of League Two clubs run on a largely volunteer basis.
"We don't aspire to that because we are keen to move back up the divisions, but what we have isn't right either.
"So we have tried to come up with a structure that we think does work for that purpose and then looked at the staffing requirements relative to that."
Brent stated some of the departures from Home Park would be by way of voluntary redundancy.
He said: "The view we took, which I still passionately believe in, is that it was right to go through the process prescribed by law.
"It is looking for opportunity to mitigate the consequence of restructuring, as opposed to someone just going along and making people redundant."
Brent continued: "We are going through that process now and we want to complete it as quickly as we can because it clearly provides uncertainty.
"But we want to make sure we don't leave any stone unturned to mitigating the impact of that.
"By doing it as a proper consultation the number of compulsory redundancies has already come down quite materially.
"The number of compulsory redundancies won't be anything like 10. It will be a much lower number."
Argyle's average gate for League Two games at Home Park this season is 6,206. While still one of the highest in the division, it represents a fall on last term.
A total of 17 members of non-playing staff at Argyle were made redundant when the club were in administration and now more are to follow.
Brent said: "The motivation for doing the exercise was not driven by lower than expected gates.
"We wanted to take a year, get our feet under the table and work out what was the right structure going forward.
"The gates have been lower than we had forecast and the consequence of lower gates is not just lower gate income but you have lower retail and commercial income, and so on.
"We are running behind budget in terms of revenues but I have funded that."