Board Meeting, Thursday 4th March
On Thursday evening the Supporters’ Trust were represented at a Football Club Board Meeting by myself, in what was an introductory meeting for the new management board formed by Chairman Peter Brown.
Across a combination of Zoom and physical attendees in the boardroom we were introduced to the new board that included representatives from the Ladies (Andy Westlake), the Youth Section (Andy Joslin), the Head of Media (Ryan Woolnough – no idea who he was!!), Head of Retail (Gavin Jones) and new Clubhouse Manager, Tanya Fisher.
Each person was given a chance to give a bit of their background and what they hope to be able to bring to the club. The Chairman was very keen to get across his desire to have all elements of the club working together and picking up on the One Club ethos that has been around for a while.
It is of course very easy to band about he words that we want to be a community club with everyone involved, in truth, any non-league football club at our level that does not say that sort of thing must still be living in the 1990’s and no doubt missing a trick when applying for community grants, etc – So what will make Chesham United different? If it has been tried before at our club, what will be different this time?
The proof will of course be in the pudding, but the right steps have been made in recruiting representatives from all elements of the club; we will all have our own motives and incentives for our own particular sectors, but ultimately I am sure there is a lot of common ground shared to enable us to have a decent stab at making it happen.
The other big difference, that may just make it work this time is that big elephant in the room who will no doubt be talked about over the coming weeks – A new ground!
In my time as Chairman the reason we ultimately could not complete the “One Club. Chesham. United” ideology was the reality that for all our belief, enthusiasm and desire we did not have the facilities to provide a true community club – For example, the youth sections could not use the pitches, leaving them to find their own training and playing surfaces, which then reduced the likelihood of them coming back to the clubhouse afterwards for food and drink, which then made them feel less a part of the club than we would all like them to be.
A new ground would change all that (if the facilities are up to those standards being discussed); but equally, many of us have our heart in The Meadow, have lived some of the best days of our lives at Amy Lane and still feel proud when visiting supporters turn up and see our stunning views, four sides of terracing and covered areas on every side of the ground…It is gut-wrenching to think that we will be leaving all that behind. But I guess going bust, or continuing to rely on unreliable individual donations and continual uncertainty of what would happen if they left is not a good place to be either.
It is clear that the club will need to do a huge amount of consulting and discussing of plans with many sectors of the community, not just the supporters, if they are to set off on the journey towards a new ground. As a Trust we very much want to be a part of those discussions, helping to ensure there is very clear communication as to what is happening and that we have a voice in any plans that take place.
Credit to Peter Brown and the Board, the noises about that have been positive and we hope to be able to make sure that all supporters’ questions, queries and concerns are properly, and fully, addressed. Some of us have been introduced to key players in the development and the thinking behind what the club is looking to achieve, I hope, and have every reason to believe, that level of involvement will evolve even further as things move forward.
As I say, the meeting itself was primarily about introductions and setting the scene – We will provide more updates from meetings we attend; the more members we have in the Trust, the stronger our voice will be.
Alan Calder, Vice-Chairman