St Kilda President Andrew Bassat says an ambitious membership tally of 55,000 for Season 2021 is by no means out of reach as the club looks to build upon last year's rejuvenating campaign.

“We’re really optimistic that if we can keep the current trajectory, we’ll be over 50,000 before too long,” Mr Bassat told SEN as part of St Kilda’s Membership Week.

“We’re targeting 55,000 members this year. I absolutely think that at St Kilda we can head to 55,000 members, and from there, we’re hoping for 60,000, 70,000.

“If we continue to perform on the field, I think you’ll see us getting greater game-day attendance, greater sponsorship and all of a sudden our revenue (will) come up.

“First, second and third, our members want a flag and members want on-field success. That’s the biggest thing we can do for our members is to have on-field success and we’re absolutely committed to that.”

The Saints yesterday passed the 40,000-member mark in record time, and last year, surpassed the club's highest membership tally with 48,775 members, even amid the extremely challenging circumstances and hardships caused by COVID-19.

As a result, the club announced an operating net profit of $1,246,930 for the financial year ending 31 October. However, after accounting for facility funding revenue, depreciation, amortisation and interest, the club made a statutory net loss of $963,106.

St Kilda’s debt increased by $1,686,639 by the end of the financial year, mainly due to membership renewals being pushed back a month.

While the Saints’ are unequivocally focussed on becoming debt-free and “a more reliant club” with sustained on-field and financial success in the coming years, Mr Bassat says the short-term will see investment into RSEA Park’s Stage 2 development and the Danny Frawley Centre.

Both are expected to be completed at the end of 2021.

“We felt like 2020 would have been a year where we could start repaying our debt in normal circumstances. COVID put a stop to that, so we’re hoping we can start repaying our debt this year if we continue to perform on the field,” Mr Bassat said.

“We’d far prefer continuing to invest what we need to into the football and that is both on the field to make sure we’re competitive and off the field, associated with Stage 2 and the Danny Frawley Centre.

“That’s our priority.  We’re optimistic that if we do those things, we’ll make enough revenue and profit to pay off the debt quite quickly, so getting that order has very much been the state of affairs the last three or four years.”