Dear members,

I should like to thank those of you who have taken advantage of the discount offered for the payment of annual subscriptions before 30 June and for your loyalty to the Club.

As from 01 June, a large number of restrictions that were in place during lockdown levels 5 and 4 have been amended or completely removed. There are many reasons why this should be welcomed not the least being an opportunity for individuals and businesses to get back to work and for many more some hope of being able to get some money to put food on the table for their families. Unfortunately, this does not apply to the reopening of the Club and the sporting sub-clubs even though there is a lot of discussion taking place between sports bodies and the government. We will wait to see how these talks and negotiations develop.

Many of you are no doubt wondering if and how the Club is going to survive the continued closure of all our facilities. A scan through the pages of “Old Gold”, a comprehensive history of the Club from its formation in 1888 until 1968, illustrates how resilient the Club has been over the past one hundred and thirty-two years in the face of countless setbacks. From the beginning, when the title to the land it had purchased in what was then the centre of Johannesburg was initially cancelled and then given over to the Club by President Kruger, it has faced and overcome adversity. Floods, wild storms and fires, and, unbelievably, locusts, threatened early attempts to establish the Club and a clubhouse. Since then it has survived the Boer War; worldwide financial chaos following the collapse of Wall Street in 1929 and the banking crises in 2008; two World Wars; expropriation of its land by the railways and the subsequent move to Kent Park; financial pressure from its investment in the Wanderers Cricket Stadium; the country’s economic and sporting isolation; the destruction by fire of the clubhouse in 2004 and now Covid – 19, arguably one of the gravest ever dangers facing each and every one of us as well as livelihoods, savings, businesses and governments.

The Club will come through this as it has a strong balance sheet, it has no debts and, unlike many other clubs, we own the land on which the Club and its sporting facilities operate. There is no doubt that the Club will suffer fairly heavy financial losses this year and most likely next year too, as all our revenue streams will inevitably be under pressure and negatively impacted. We will manage our way through these challenges, and in due course, we will introduce changes to a number of the ways in which the Club operates as we look to bolster its sustainability.

Life will not be the same for anyone after the pandemic has subsided and it is to be hoped that the appalling infrastructural deprivations and economic inequalities that currently prevail in South Africa for the majority of its citizens will be tackled and eliminated.

Colin Warner
Chairman
The Wanderers Club