Chairman Martin Hellier has targeted a return to the Football League as he looks to take the club back in to the National League this season.

The local businessman, who took over at Huish Park in May, said he had spent “a disproportionate amount” of money on the playing budget to assist manager Mark Cooper with getting out of National League South.

Going in to this weekend’s home fixture with Worthing, the Glovers need three more points from their remaining fixtures to secure promotion at the first attempt.

Speaking to Radio Ninesprings’ Steve Haigh, the chairman said: “We have got to be measured and the pace has got to be right. There are always going to be financial implications to any of it and we have to continue to optimise it.

I would say we put a disproportionate amount of money towards hopefully getting us out of this league, I don’t mind that and I would always have done that, but (if we go up) we have to do it right and take stock.

I would like to get out of the (National League) as soon as possible because there is more financial rewards from getting in to League Two. The 3G across the road, the academy and all of that, we would receive funding for and if we hang around for a few seasons in League Two, I could live with that and I reckon fans can as well for a while.


Chairman Martin Hellier. Picture courtesy of Iain Morland.

We need to try and drive the club towards sustainability, we need to consider what we are doing with the land surrounding the stadium which is sympathetic to the club.

Whatever I would do with that (land) would be to create lifelong income streams in to the club. You cannot have a footprint the size of this and base everything on what happens on a matchday, it is not enough.

Keith Weston, our Head of Stadium Operations, has really brought on the room hires and hospitality in leaps and bounds, and even my boy, Jack, has done so much with the bars, food and hospitality and, of course, the volunteers and all the staff have all played their part.

I would like to try and keep the same trajectory. It is football, so we have to be realistic, but hopefully we do not spend more than one season in the National League Premier – it might be two, who knows? But League Two is where I want to be.

“It is football, so we have to be realistic. But League Two is where I want to be.”

He said that the long-term success of the club relied upon a solid business model behind it and claimed it Yeovil Football & Athletic Club, the club’s football operations business, was being “financially mismanaged” when he acquired it from former owner <NAME REDACTED> almost a year ago.

The latest accounts for the club published last month show the club lost £1.5m when it was relegated from the National League last season and was being funded by the owners and a loan from the Sports Council.

The chairman said that, even if they secure promotion this season, he did not see the playing budget increasing next season.

He said: “We will put everything in to maintaining the same trajectory as we are now but, if we go up, you will have 11 better players playing against us. I certainly do not anticipate the player budget being any higher, we all have had to make efficiencies, that goes for player budget, staffing budget and everything.

You can sustain that number of people, but where it could fall apart is who is running the business. A football club needs great players, but if it has terrible business people running it, it doesn’t matter. I am aware of our ascent up to the Championship and all the way back down again and there was millions of pounds coming in then. In the Championship, you are talking about £6.5m coming in to this club. Well, I have looked everywhere and I can’t find it. When I came in to the club, it was being financially mismanaged beyond any business I have ever looked at when

You have to have some astute people behind the scenes and therefore I have to assume there wasn’t those people. I believe if the model is right, it will work but there are so many cogs and if one of those is broken, it effects the whole machine.

Huish Park is currently owned by Somerset Council.

He also reiterated his intention to buy back the land surrounding Huish Park from Somerset Council, which bought it from the previous chairman <NAME REDACTED> for £2.8m.

The owner holds the exclusive buy-back on the stadium and surrounding land at the site which runs until 17th May 2026, and will pay £195,000-a-year in rent until he activates that option.

He added: “There is no point in me buying that land back when I have not planned what I am doing with it. I am quite happy for it to be in the ownership of the council now, but it is my ambition to reunite that land with this club.

It should never have been separated. It was separated to sell to someone to build houses on and that is fine if the income from that sale came in to the club, but it never would have.

“One of our biggest achievements was getting the buy-back rights on the land. If you can imagine the kind of effort which goes in to turning this club around this season has taken, you barely have time to think about it.

But I am certainly not going to continue to rent a load of fields and watch people walk their dogs on them every morning.

I don’t think there is much negotiation to do on that. The last chairman sold it to the council for £2.8m, the rent we pay represents 8% of what that would be, the land was index-linked so that £2.8m is probably £3.2m now.

You also have a council in term freefall in terms of finances. If only they ran councils like businesses, you wouldn’t have five blokes on a roundabout looking at a daffodil!

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