Last spring, a lot was made when the Chinese consortium was revealed to be interested in the club, about the apparent lack of comment coming out of the club, other than the arbitrary, discussions are taking place. I was one of those people who was desperate to know more, and often questioned why things seemed to be moving so slowly.
Now, being in that position, I know why. Blimey, it’s a complicated old affair!
Let’s cut straight to chase first. Question that’s on all your lips I’m sure. The deal to buy the club is still very much alive, still very much our number one priority. Our representative from Supporter’s Direct has spoken with Lee Thorn, and we’ve now clarified what we need to do next to progress, and then hopefully we can agree a price and begin the formal process of fundraising.
In the meantime, there are other things that we want to be getting on with. That we need to be getting on with, because when the button gets pushed, we need to be ready to go on all fronts.
We want to represent the fans of this club, and we want to represent the wider community, because, simply put, we want more people coming down Liberty Way on a Saturday than do now. What club wouldn’t? (Apologies to those of you with agoraphobia.)
But to do that, we need to ask questions of you all, and understand what you want from us. It’s no good us just picking ideas out of thin air, or based on our own conversations at the games, with our groups of friends. Especially the group I hang around with. Although, we would have a great bar, and top food…
This is all about the wider community, and so we’ve begun work on a couple of questionnaires, one which will be delivered to fans, and one that will be taken into the town centre, to people who don’t currently have an affiliation with the club, whether that means they did once, or never have at all. These will hopefully be completed in the next couple of weeks, and will form the basis of our decision making going forward.
We all know Nuneaton is a town that can support attendances of more 600. This isn’t the only town of it’s size in the country that won’t get behind a local sports team. Yes, having watched the news this year, I know we’re very busy deciding the political future of the country, but that isn’t just what we’re about. We do love football in this town. We do love the Boro.
We also want to start talking to the council and local MPs. There’s always been a suggestion that relationships between the club and officials haven’t been at their best, but I know in my experience, when I’ve met Marcus Jones for instance, there’s been nothing but support, so we’re going to be inviting them to come and talk with us, about how a community run football club might work in Nuneaton.
We’re also going to be inviting a number of local businesses to meet with us, to help shape how we create our model. We’ve seen at Telford, that there’s a need to ensure that investment can be found, without breaking the model, and we want to set up meetings to see how businesses feel that would work for them and us, to ensure we have a financially sustainable future, and that we can grow as a football club, and not go backwards.
We’ve also begun planning on a number of areas within the club that we can do without looking at the books, and that includes a plan of action for reinvigorating the hospitality and commercial aspects, and conversations have taken place with people who can support us in a professional manner, to make quick adjustments, to get things running closer to how we would like, pretty much from straight off the bat.
Of course there are some things that will always help grow a football club, such as cup runs, that you can’t plan or budget or legislate for, and on that note, I want to offer my congratulations to Kev, Noony, Jimmy, Gaz, Walks, Shane Byrne and Alex Gudger, on their stunning triumph against Gillingham. Nights like that are what make non-league football unique in it’s appeal. You can’t dream of a giant-killing when you’re a Manchester United fan.
Sadly, we’ve heard this week that there have been a number of departures from the club. Guy Branston informed our sub-committee earlier this week that he has stepped down from his role, and we are terribly sorry to see him go. We also understand that Ben Shakespeare and Paul Egan are to leave the club as well. Both have gone above and beyond for the club, Ben being a real gem of a lad in the office, and Ego, having spent 16 years at the club, has been an icon, and having spoken to a number of players, I know his work was really well appreciated by all. To all three we say a massive ‘thank you,’ for the work you’ve put in to help our club.
On a side note, this week, I took delivery of a host of old programs that will be going to the Town to Town project. Looking through them brought back some amazing memories of cup runs that I’ve seen. Moments of joy, such as Stoke, Swansea, and moments of anguish, like Woking (seriously, how much bloody injury time did he want to play?!).
I also found the program from the first ever Boro game I attended, when Boro drew 1-1 with Bridgnorth at Manor Park. It reminded me, that we have had dark days before in the past, darker than those we face now, and that we have found a way to bounce back. It gave me renewed hope, that this club will continue to live on, and fight on, and come back stronger, regardless of who is in charge.
Let’s hope the next installment of the upturn in our fortunes comes this Saturday at FC United.
Up the Boro.