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Brent reveals reasoning behind cost-cutting proposals at Plymouth Argyle

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 13, 2012

James Brent 2

James Brent

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A return to the Championship remains the target for Plymouth Argyle, according to the club's owner and chairman, James Brent.

Argyle are in 19th in npower League Two, with only four wins from 17 games, and were beaten in the FA Cup first round by part-time side Dorchester Town this month.

Off the pitch, the club is carrying out a restructuring process which could result in a maximum of ten 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. 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 that the set-up behind the scenes at the club was "disjointed" and added that the changes were aimed at resolving that.

Brent said: "We have 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," he added.

Brent stated that 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 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 ten. It will be a much lower number."

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," the Argyle chairman admitted. "We are running behind budget in terms of revenues, but I have funded that."

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