Cheltenham Town: We will spend but won't take risks - Baker
CHELTENHAM Town chairman Paul Baker has hit back at supporters who have accused him of lacking ambition.
The League Two club have recorded a profit of more than £200,000 for the year ending May 2012 – the third year in a row they have been in the black.
It is a far cry from the crippling loss of £826,698 they made in 2009 leaving them on the verge of administration and Baker described the turnaround since then as "nothing short of amazing".
Last year's figures were enhanced by a trip to Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup third round and a play-off final appearance at Wembley, but Baker warned the club's healthy financial state does not mean they will spend beyond their means.
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"We are all amazed at how we've been able to turn things around so quickly and clear off a significant amount of debt too," Baker said.
"We still have debts, but to make small profits in the previous two years was nothing short of amazing and it's all down to tight management.
"We have made a good profit last year and with the fantastic season we had on the pitch it would be worrying if we hadn't.
"It's a well-managed business and everything is carefully controlled and monitored.
"Some fans expects us now to spend and spend, but we have to remember the club is for next year and the year after, not just this season.
"We won't be doing anything foolhardy and if fans want to call me unambitious that's fine by me, but look at Swindon."
Last year's League Two champions Swindon have fallen into debts of £13 million and are considering entering administration.
Cheltenham fans have been left frustrated after top striking target Paul Benson turned down a loan move from Swindon, but Baker said he did not want to recruit players whose hearts are not in it.
"We identified Benson as a target and agreed terms with Swindon for his wages, which was more than Portsmouth were paying him when he was on loan there," Baker said.
"We wanted to take him until the end of the season, but the deal hasn't happened, for whatever reason.
"We were willing to make a big wage commitment there, but I am certainly not crying into my soup because it may not have been a good idea to put all our eggs in one basket, so we wish Benson good luck and move on.
"We only want players who actually want to be here and I am still confident Mark can bring in some quality signings between now and the end of this month.
"I am comfortable that we have gone as far as we can to meet Mark's aspirations and it's now up to him what he does with the money.
"He can go into the transfer market with it, or spend it on wages, that's completely down to his discretion.
"We are being careful and prudent, but that doesn't mean we are not being ambitious."
Cheltenham's disappointing home attendances mean they are down around £2,000 on budget for each match at the Abbey Business Stadium. They are currently averaging gates of 2,958 in League Two.
"That's a loss of about £50,000 over the course of the season because we need to be averaging around 3,200, but I think we have a chance of making some of that up," Baker said.
"Crowds have been the one disappointment with 6,000 here for Everton, but less than half that the following Saturday.
"But that's life and we have a lot of big home games coming up so hopefully we'll see an increase."