Please welcome Lee Atkins, Michael Cunnah and Will Dubey to the club!Bristol Rovers would like to make you supporters aware of three new appointments to the staff at the club.
Three key members of personnel [Lee Atkins (middle right), Michael Cunnah (right) and Will Dubey (left)] have now joined the club and below we would like to give you a little more information about them as well as their first interviews with the club.
New Director Lee Atkins will be a key figure in helping Rovers to move to a new stadium and he took time out before the Hartlepool game to talk to us.
An accountant by training, he worked in the City of London working in the wholesale insurance markets, investment banking markets and hedge funds. A move into a family office business followed, where he was first introduced to the Al-Qadi family, some 15 years ago.
“Just before Christmas last year the family approached me to see if I would consider assisting them if their acquisition of a football club became a reality and I was delighted to provide my support.
“In my opinion the family are very considered individuals, modest in their approach, extremely hard working and when they set their mind to do something it gets done and I’ve seen evidence of that at first hand in a number of projects.
“My first task will be overseeing the acquisition of a new stadium and that process has already begun. We have already held meetings with key personnel at UWE, to see what we have and to move things forward and I think that this would be an appropriate time to thank everyone who has been involved in the status of the project to date as a tremendous amount of work has already gone on.”
Lee says that any proposed move does not depend on the recent High Court case.
“We are looking to make the move to the new stadium unconditional on any outcome of the court case.”
Advising the owners on our new stadium, and working closely with Lee, will be Michael Cunnah, the former Chief Executive of Wembley Stadium and Finance Director of the Football Association.
“My involvement with Wembley meant that I was responsible for the complete rebuild, from start to finish, and I was involved in every detail possible over a five year period.
“Now I am looking forward to putting my experience to good use in helping Rovers build a slightly smaller stadium. It isn’t possible to build a new venue without going into minute detail and whilst I realise that everyone wants the project to be finalised yesterday, the best advice I received when Wembley was being constructed was to stay in the planning phase as long as possible.
“The reason for that is because it becomes both wasteful and costly to have to redo work if you find, when it’s finished, it wasn’t exactly how you envisaged it.”
Michael has also been involved in the game at club level; “I was with Aston Villa for a while back in 2008 and thoroughly enjoyed the matchday experience, though that might have been because, under Martin O’Neill, we managed a sixth placed finish!
“I class myself as a football person and am looking forward to being involved with Bristol Rovers.”
Performance analyst Will Dubey worked in football analytics, and was based in London for four years looking at games from Championship level through to Pan Asian matches.
“I then spent the best part of three and a half years involved with clubs in The Bundesliga and that took in some scouting duties as well.
“I first met Wael about a year ago and have helped with the process of identifying clubs for takeover. This season I have watched many games involving Rovers and studying the setup here.
“Rovers fitted exactly what the owners are looking for, but we all realise there is a lot of work required to continue the upward curve that they have been on with Darrell.
“My role will be to work closely with Wael, Darrell and Steve Yates. There will be times, for example, when Wael is not here and so I will be the point of contact between him and Darrell, to ensure he has everything he needs to continue the fantastic job he’s doing here.
“We will also be looking to build up our Academy and, with Steve’s help, to improve the scouting network. If I’m honest, I believe that Steve can help me, with his knowledge of this league. Essentially, the club has performed well under Darrell and now it’s important that the work continues.
“Darrell is a great young manager and the future for this club is really exciting. If we can get the structure of the football club right, then the potential is massive and I am looking forward to the future