THE directors of Newport County AFC have admitted that they are concerned by the “continued viability” of the current Trust ownership model.

The redacted minutes of the April board meeting, which are published on the club website, reveal that the directors believe the model has “financial shortcomings” and that maintaining the same level of playing budget for next season will be “a challenge” for the Exiles.

County reported a loss of £351,456 for the financial year ending June 2017 but they expect to make a profit for this season.

They made between £700,000 and £900,000 from their run to the FA Cup fourth round, which ended in a defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in February’s Wembley replay, and from add-on payments relating to former player Lee Evans.

Manager Michael Flynn said last month that Shawn McCoulsky's cup winner against Leeds United in January may have “saved” the club from financial ruin.

And the club added: “The board have prepared strict budgets for the 2018-2019 season with a view to reducing unnecessary costs and increasing revenue streams.”

The minutes from April’s board meeting show that Trust chairman Shaun Johnson gave an overview of next season’s draft budget.

It states that “the playing budget has been impacted by the EFL’s Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP) rules reducing level from 55 per cent to 50 per cent [of turnover that can be spent on wages].

“While the board acknowledged it has already given a commitment to the manager that the playing budget would be at least the same as this season, achieving this will continue to be a challenge.”

The minutes then state that the directors will brief Trust members/owners on the financial difficulties at the next supporters meeting, which will be held at Rodney Parade on May 23.

“A business-sensitive discussion followed regarding areas of the overall club budget where savings could be made and about the continued viability of the current Trust ownership model.

“All directors agreed that the financial shortcomings of the current model needed to be communicated to all Trust members/owners at the next supporters’ meeting in May.

“Cup runs and transfer incomes are merely plugging the gap created by these shortcomings and this needed to be addressed.

“Proposals for a pre-season tour were discussed with a decision deferred pending more information and more clarity around the budget.”

County are also continuing to discuss the club’s future at Rodney Parade, the Welsh Rugby Union-owned stadium they share with the Dragons and Newport RFC.

The club’s current agreement to play at the city centre venue runs until 2023.

“Board members continue to meet with the WRU to discuss issues around the club’s licence to play at Rodney Parade and its long-term viability,” added the minutes.

“It was agreed to seek a round-table meeting between the club, Newport City Council, the Dragons, the WRU and other key stakeholders to discuss the future of professional sport at Rodney Parade in the light of the recently-released city centre masterplan.”

On-field matters were also discussed at the board meeting, with Flynn giving a presentation on the plan for pre-season, the playing squad and next season.

Management consultant Lennie Lawrence also gave his thoughts on the football side of the club.

“His view was that clear direction was key – managers manage, coaches coach and directors direct. He made suggestions as to how Newport County AFC can continue to compete successfully in League Two or beyond – with stable management and getting player recruitment right highlighted.”