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Victoria Highlanders FC folding?


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It's true.

We are gutted.

Looking to hold a wake this coming Friday where it all began for most of us, the Tard & Wanker. Details to follow.

Details of the collapse are sparse but what I do know is that if any one associated with the Criminal Soccer Association shows their ugly face near me this week ...

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This came completely out of the blue but there were some warning signs. A few months ago the Highlanders let go one of their top coaches, Neil Sedgwick, rumour has it many players in the academy are making the switch to his set up.

 

As for the organization I feel for the city of Victoria. Owner Alex Campbell put his money to establish top notch soccer in the area, the club completely took over youth development and became the face of the game on Vancouver Island. Many good memories sitting at RAP on a warm June evening with bagpipes in the background, shame it came to an end. 

 

Also worth saying.... Former men's club Victoria United folded this fall as a result of lost revenue, essentially the Highlanders took their market. Vic United had been around since 1904 and they too had their brand on youth development in Victoria until the Highlanders began their PDL franchise. With both clubs gone there is going to be plenty of quality players without a club to play for this summer. *Remember to the rest of Canada Victoria and Vancouver run a Men's league similar to European schedules, there is no top competitive league in the summer months. 

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It's true.

We are gutted.

Looking to hold a wake this coming Friday where it all began for most of us, the Tard & Wanker. Details to follow.

Details of the collapse are sparse but what I do know is that if any one associated with the Criminal Soccer Association shows their ugly face near me this week ...

Would love to hear some of the details if anybody is able to share.

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When we get actual details we will share as much as we can.

I am speaking right now only from what I know from past conversations and my conclusions: the team has been losing money since they started but since the new GM took over two seasons ago the course was changing. The owner has been looking to find more investment and the team knew it had to move up to a professional league before they could even imagine breaking even. Despite USL Pro being the only professional D3 league available AND despite  the fact that local rivals started playing this year in USL Pro making the new western conference a viable place to play the CSA (Criminal Soccer Association) has (I believe) told the team to get fucked and join the non-professional, non-existent, only-posssibly-viable, so-called "D3" there is talk of starting in BC in maybe 2016.

 

With the possibility of playing in a pro league off the table the potential investors looked at the future and dropped out leaving the current owner with the choice to fold or keep throwing good money after bad. He is a great guy and while he may be wealthy he is not Kerfoot or Allen rich.

 

So, we will be holding a memorial service at the gates of Royal Athletic Park this coming Friday (Feb 9) @ 5:00 pm where we will mourn the murder of professional soccer in our city by Montagliani and his mobsters.

 

 

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Why would moving to USL Pro be a requirement for breaking even? Wasn't RAP already mostly full during some of the better-attended PDL matches?

 

I would have thought remaining in USL PDL and concentrating on revenue development would have been key to financial sustainability.

 

For example, the 2013 kit never did go on sale during the 2013 season. And the "online club shop" is simply a phone number.

 

Was the so-called "supporters' board" ever consulted regarding how to increase revenue?

 

And why not just drop the men's senior team down to PCSL (like they did with the women) instead of razing the whole club? If Alex's goal was to help develop football on Vancouver Island, dissolving the club entirely seems like a strange way of doing it.

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Why would moving to USL Pro be a requirement for breaking even? Wasn't RAP already mostly full during some of the better-attended PDL matches?

 

Average attendance last season was 1,300. The Capacity of RAP is officially 3,000+.  To attract more spectators and/or raise ticket prices which would lead to more direct revenue and increased sponsorship money the level of soccer would have to be professional. We maxed out on what amateur soccer will draw in this town only because the team had the backing of money being spent far in excess of what an amateur team could afford.  When higher level soccer has been played here the numbers go up.

 

I would have thought remaining in USL PDL and concentrating on revenue development would have been key to financial sustainability.

 

For example, the 2013 kit never did go on sale during the 2013 season. And the "online club shop" is simply a phone number.

 

There was virtually no more revenue to squeeze out of the market without increased attendance. Kit sales (and merchandise in general) at those sort of numbers would barely break even let alone turn a profit to invest in the club.

 

 

Was the so-called "supporters' board" ever consulted regarding how to increase revenue?

 

The club was always desperate to know what we thought about increasing attendences and listened to amything we had to say about revenue generation. As for the supporters board, I do recall Mike speaking about that very issue after one of the few meetings it had.

 

 

And why not just drop the men's senior team down to PCSL (like they did with the women) instead of razing the whole club? If Alex's goal was to help develop football on Vancouver Island, dissolving the club entirely seems like a strange way of doing it.

 

Good question and one that I am sure we will ask if we get a chance. My guess is that the PCSL is dying anyway and will be totally replaced by this new "D3" and frankly the short season and level of competition does very little in and of itself for player development. I supported the HIghlanders because I thought it was a viable path to a professional future. Without that path I am not sure I would be willing to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on an ongoing basis.

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My guess is that the PCSL is dying anyway and will be totally replaced by this new "D3" and frankly the short season and level of competition does very little in and of itself for player development. I supported the HIghlanders because I thought it was a viable path to a professional future. Without that path I am not sure I would be willing to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on an ongoing basis.

 

I suppose they could have played in the VISL during the winter and the PCSL during the summer.

 

And wouldn't the loses have been significantly reduced if the men's senior side wasn't travelling to Alberta, Washington and Oregon?  Wasn't that one team accounting for the vast majority of the club's loses?

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Appreciating that USL Pro would potentially get more butts in seats, wouldn't it also have a tradeoff of a massive increase in travel costs? Without knowing USL Pro's setup for 2015, I would assume flights to Austin, OKC, Tulsa among other cities etc wouldn't be cheap as they wouldn't be direct)

 

I would tend to agree with this. I find it hard to believe that the increase in attendance, and therefore revenue, by moving to USL Pro would be sufficient enough to cover not only the increased travel costs, but also the higher player wages.

 

Also, I always thought that the Highlanders were leaving money on the table by only charging $50 for season tickets. By the way, I guess I won't be getting my 2015 money back, will I?

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Most USL Pro teams are losing money as well and not breaking even - with a move up to D3 USL Pro costs would increase substantially(expansion fee alone is now 500-750K).

 

Terrible that Highlanders FC folded but hope this new D3 BC League 1 or whatever they call it gets put together for 2016 with a Victoria team included and the work of building the Canadian regional D3 set of leagues with L1 Ontario and the Quebec league as per the Easton report comes to fruition.

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I hope everyone in Calgary is taking note of this situation. For a club with much smaller gate attendances and larger travel this doesn't bode well. 

 

The club in Calgary hasn't played a single official PDL game as of yet, so for me it's a "see what 2015 brings" scenario. I know Calgary Foothills drew 1225 in their exhibition game against the Whitecaps U-23s, so if that type of attendance can be reached that puts the club at a comparable level to the Whitecaps. Not a big indicator of financial success but the easiest to bring up...

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The club in Calgary hasn't played a single official PDL game as of yet, so for me it's a "see what 2015 brings" scenario. I know Calgary Foothills drew 1225 in their exhibition game against the Whitecaps U-23s, so if that type of attendance can be reached that puts the club at a comparable level to the Whitecaps. Not a big indicator of financial success but the easiest to bring up...

Agreed, I was thinking of the other matches vs. Edmonton which drew smaller crowds. The we'll see attitude is the only real one to go with. I'd hope that a city of roughly 1,000,000 could support a PDL franchise, only time will tell.

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I suppose they could have played in the VISL during the winter and the PCSL during the summer.

 

And wouldn't the loses have been significantly reduced if the men's senior side wasn't travelling to Alberta, Washington and Oregon?  Wasn't that one team accounting for the vast majority of the club's loses?

 

The they would just have been Victoria United which managed to draw never better than app. 300 on average before the HIghlanders came along. How does another VISL club help anything?

Travel is an expense sure but without travel you cannot be in a professional league.

 

 

I would tend to agree with this. I find it hard to believe that the increase in attendance, and therefore revenue, by moving to USL Pro would be sufficient enough to cover not only the increased travel costs, but also the higher player wages.

 

Also, I always thought that the Highlanders were leaving money on the table by only charging $50 for season tickets. By the way, I guess I won't be getting my 2015 money back, will I?

 

I agree that they might have raised ticket prices somewhat in the PDL but going pro they could certainly have charged more AND increased attendance numbers. Add to that increased sponsorship revenues and I see no reason we could not have done it.

 

As it is the PCSL, League One Ontario, the CSL, and Quebec league have all shown that the best you can do for regular attendences at that level of competition (D4 BTW - soccer fans are not stupid enough to believe they are really pro) is app. 300 per game max. Soccer fans fed a steady diet of Euro football and now MLS are not interested in Rinky-Dink FC and watching college players and older guys who never made the big time.

 

I guess I have no choice but to hope that the mysterious "BC league" happens and hoping that at least they open up the VCup to these teams.

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I thought you liked USL Pro!

 

LOL, I'm not in love with USL Pro or anything but it is better than D4 in that you have at least some players heading on an upwards trajectory playing alongside the, "college players and older guys who never made the big time."

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Guest ClaytonA

This sucks.  Why does it seem like these things happen with so suddenly - especially with the supporter-ownership angle and the past support for U20 and Rangers last summer, could they have done a multi-year season ticket drive?  Probably someone backed out after initially saying yes.  But thanks to the owners for investing in soccer over the past six years.  Please, somehow let there be at least a mens and women's PCSL team get started up.  It's tragic Victoria United was folded this past fall given this.

 

Feels appropriate although their colours were white, black, and gold;

 

 

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

 

The Cloths Of Heaven by W. B. Yeats

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