Kyneton Football Netball Club has made an impassioned plea for community support in a bid to resolve financial difficulties.
The Tigers, who will play Eaglehawk in this Saturday's BFNL qualifying final, are about $200,000 in debt and are in danger of losing its senior team for the second time this decade if they can't resolve their off-field issues.
KFNC sent letters to club sponsors, members and junior families last week and followed up with a plea for help in local newspaper the Midland Express.
KFNC president Karen O'Sullivan said the reaction from the Kyneton community had been positive.
"If we changed nothing now we would go down that path (withdrawing the senior team) again and that's why we've gone public and called for help,'' O'Sullivan said.
"We have a plan in place for next year as far as cost reductions and getting our budget into surplus. That would be sustainable, but it would take us a long time to get out of debt and we want to pay off our debts sooner rather than later.
"Within 24 hours we had Kyneton Racing Club donate $5000, $1000 from the Midland Express and $1500 from Jellis Craig.
"That's just the beginning. There's a whole lot of creative ideas that people are coming up with, including a band night "Rock for the Tigers" that's in the early stages of development.
"We're hopeful that these ideas will come to fruition and that there'll be a pot of gold there at the end that will help us start afresh.
"The timing of this (announcement) has brought the town together.
"We had our biggest crowd of the year for Saturday's game against Golden Square and that was on the back of the letter we sent to families last Thursday.
"It was a great show of support to see the crowd come out like that and back us."
Financial woes and a player exodus forced Kyneton to withdraw its senior side in the 2013 BFNL season.
The Tigers returned in 2014 and finished seventh with six wins from 18 games.
They made the elimination final in 2015, 2016 and 2017 before jumping into the top three this year with 12 wins and a draw from 18 matches.
O'Sullivan said a five-year-old legacy debt from the Tigers' recession in 2013 combined with improvement costs at the club were the major factors behind the cash crisis.
"In trying to get the club back on track we probably got ahead of ourselves,'' O'Sullivan admitted.
"A new netball court, lights and an electronic scoreboard were some of the improvements we made and, while they came with grants, the associated costs that we had to fund did pile up."
The senior playing group and coaching staff have been kept in the loop about the financial troubles.
They donated their match payments from the round 17 clash with Castlemaine back to the club.
They've also agreed to have other match payments delayed until the club sorts its finances out.
"The decision to donate the match payment was off their own bat... we didn't ask them to do that,'' O'Sullivan said of the playing group.
"They are a united group."
BFNL manager Cameron Tomlins said the league was supporting Kyneton through its challenging period.
“Every club as its own challenges and as a league we’re working with clubs to assist in those tough times and reduce costs where we can,’’ Tomlins said.
“Kyneton has some great people in charge and, hopefully, the community jumps on board to help the club.”
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