Guess who’s back?

So, where were we?

Apologies if of late I’ve been a little quiet, but work and family commitments have meant that I’ve not been able to get to any meetings up until now, and I’ve not been able to carry on some of the projects I’d hoped to.

That doesn’t mean that in my absence things haven’t been happening. Sure, there hasn’t been the level of communication that perhaps I would like to see, but that’s the gap I joined to plug, and perhaps doesn’t best fit the other skillsets we have on board.

Our skillset however, has definitely been improved by the addition of Harry Warren. Harry is someone I’ve seen online, and have always been impressed with his rational and well thought about approach to the sometimes ludicrous world of internet football debate. Until Wednesday however, despite approaching him to join us, I’d never met the lad, but I was delighted to see that not only has he settled in, but he’s taken on the role of working on the business plan, and has begun to put together a really concise document that will serve us well going forward.

Now, no post I make this week, can escape mentioning what’s been going on with our neighbours. On a personal level, I’m beyond disappointed with what’s transpired. I can’t even begin to comment on the legal position of either club, and say who is right or wrong. That’s for far smarter folk than me to work out. What I can pass judgement on, however, is the actions of people during this dispute.

It serves no purpose to be blocking innocent people into serving kiosks by blocking fire escapes, and that’s a view shared by us all. Whatever the Rugby Club feel about their position, there were more constructive methods of getting their point across. There’s no such thing as an own goal in rugby, as far as I know, but this certainly was.

It puts us in a really tricky position too. We want to work with the Nuns going forward, but given the bad blood between them and the football club, and the impact that has had on our supporters, and our members, we’re in a position where doing so could damage us. We represent the fans, and if the fans say no to something, then we say no too. It’s that simple.

I hope a solution can be found. We’re consulting with experts in commercial property to try and clear up this dispute, so at least if something does come off for our bid, we’re not in a similar position as owners. We don’t want to be fighting with anyone, least of all our neighbours, and if we uncover anything during these talks that we feel can help bring about an accord, then we will.

During the week, a number of our board met with the Nuns to let them know our disappointment with what was happening, and to get them to consider an apology. A much larger number of our board, myself included, refused to meet with them. I’ll continue to do that until an apology comes. It’s the least they can do to those innocent people who have been caught up in someone else’s disagreement.

Now that I’m back, we’re going to be going out and doing the market research in town that I spoke about before. We have begun contact with a site in the town centre, where we can place a stall to showcase the club, and to help build interest in the Boro, where perhaps none has been, and to also engage people and find out what they want from a football club in their town. That questionnaire will be signed off next week, and hopefully we will have a date to go out and do that.

One thing we need to make that a success however, is bodies. We need volunteers to come and help us get that. No offence to the board of the Co-op, but barring Harry and myself, there’s a lot of old blokes about, and we need to show the breadth of our fan base. So if you feel you could spare a couple of hours to talk about the club you love with strangers, please get in touch with me, on the email ben@benbruce.co.uk

At the next meeting, I will be also presenting a proposal to the board of how we could run the club’s shop. It’s something we’ve talked about in the past, and to be honest, I’m a little annoyed we’ve never followed through on. It’s a chance for us to do something tangible for the fans, and the club, and show we’re not all talk. It’s also going to bring back a service people miss, and hopefully, give people some interesting and engaging merchandise.

Another thing I’m currently working on, is the end of season do. We’re looking to finalise a date with the club, and once we do, we’ll announce more details of what we plan. It won’t just be a few beers and trophy presentations mind. There will be food, (and it will be paid for!) there will be entertainment, and there will be the team present. One thing I think we still lag behind in, is that interaction between fans and players, and I’d love to change that. Hopefully after the next meeting, we’ll be talking about where and when you can get your tickets.

Anyway, reading all this, it sounds like I’ve got a lot to be cracking on with, so I’ll end it there. It’s good to be back though.

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