Owner marks six-year tenure with open letter to fans
It has been some time since my previous letter and a lot has changed at the club.
However, I have no doubt that we are making progress when it comes to putting in place the required pieces to the puzzle to drive high standards and the required improvements that we want to see across the board.
I have recently celebrated six years of ownership of this great club. During this time, there have been lots of highs and lows, but that’s football! It has been a long road to this point but I have no doubt that, despite a similar league position, we are in a much stronger position than we were at the point we took over.
The foundations that have been placed, particularly over the course of this season, have given us a strong footing to move up the leagues and to continue to allow the club to grow to reach our potential.
Part of these changes has seen Chris Hargreaves move on from the football club and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for all of his efforts in the various roles he undertook during his time and the club. We wish him all of the best for the future.
Our strategy has remained clear for some time now, where we look to follow these six pillars;
1. Infrastructure improvements - as mentioned previously, the stadium project remains our priority. In the meantime, we are delighted with the progress that has been made at The Quarters. This site is a home for our first team and we have seen over the course of the season how having this facility has helped them to continually improve. There is still a huge amount of potential on this site and we are continuing to review what is the best means of utilising the remaining space to meet our football and commercial requirements.
2. Sustainability - as a club, we have been working hard to become as efficient and sustainable as possible. There have been a number of changes to personnel recently and these are with a view to driving standards and becoming more efficient as a business. Some great people with new ideas and energy have joined the club and I am sure that they will all only help us grow as we look to try and reduce cost and increase our revenue.
3. Youth - We have always had a desire to bring through young players into the first team and we are delighted with the mix of the current squad. In recent weeks, I am sure you all have been pleased to see the likes of Luca, Connor, James and Elliot featuring regularly in the first team and performing at such a high level. I was particularly pleased to see Luca sign a new contract with us. When I first took over the club I’ve watched him play games for the academy from the age of 13 onwards and, each time I saw him play throughout the years, he was the main man who stood out in matches. I knew he would have a strong chance of making the first-team squad, so I’m delighted he’s now achieved that.
4. Develop the fanbase - we continue to look for ways to increase the size of the fanbase. The improvements in the Fanzone with the live music and increased food offerings on a matchday. In addition, as you may have noticed, there has been an increase in the numbers of mascots and flag-wavers for each game this season, as well as the return of Captain Gas! We are continuing to look at ways that we can improve the matchday experience for supporters of all ages, which includes trying to re-locate and introduce the large flag on the North Terrace on match days.
5. Community - our links with the Community Trust are stronger than ever and these links are vital in doing our bit to help all those in need across the City. Being a community club runs through everything that we do and working with, and supporting, the great work of the Trust is vital.
6. Continual Improvement - as a club, we want to strive to drive standards in every area. To make continual improvements to make the club better. The recent changes have all been designed with the purpose of increasing the professionalism and standards in every aspect of the football club. Everyone in the building now is working to unleash our potential and get the club where it needs to be, in every single area. Operating in this way has allowed us to create some momentum in all aspects of the club and I am delighted that we are now seeing it come to fruition on the pitch.
All of these strategic objectives will continue to remain in place to give everyone at the club focus and structure to what we are trying to achieve.
On the pitch, the ambition remains to get promoted as soon as is possible. Over recent weeks, we have made great strides forward towards this goal and, with your backing, I have no doubt that we can continue to build.
In January, we continued to strengthen the squad; the additions of Lofty, Billy, Beefy and Jon Nolan have added additional depth and quality to the squad, which I know that we will benefit from over the remaining 15 games.
There is still a lot to play for this season but, with your support, there are no limits to what we can achieve.
Fifteen games to go; 45 points to play for, and you can all play your part in the run-in.
Whether you have been to every game so far this season or you haven’t yet been able to support us, by getting to the stadiums and supporting the team you can do your bit to help us achieve our dreams this season.
Saturday's game at The Mem could well be a sell-out, so buy your tickets as early as you can, take up your place and sing loud and proud.
Thanks for all of your support.
The Gas are coming!