I want to give you an update the 12th Man Fund and what it means to the club, and me as a manager. You’ll notice there will be volunteers at the game on Saturday against Greenwich Borough with buckets collecting for the 12th Man and we’ve got a special “I’m The 12th Man” shirt on sale in the club shop, so if you can find some extra money to throw into the pot, we’d be very grateful.
What difference does the 12th Man Fund make? A massive difference. The club gives me a playing budget at the start of the season and then anything added to the 12th Man Fund is treated as additional playing budget. I know some clubs assign the fund to specific players and we have done in the past, but this year we’ve used it across the board to fund different players. But I promise you, all the money in the 12th Man pot goes directly on player wages, not the general running costs of the club.
We have regular monthly contributors to the 12th Man Fund and many one-off donations. Then there are people such as Gary Blaber, who sell badges and send all the proceeds to the 12th Man Fund in regular lumps. I cannot thank everyone who has contributed to the 12th Man Fund this season enough, because without it, we wouldn’t be vying for automatic promotion. We’ve also got Chris Liput in the US whose drive to raise funds for both my squad and John Donoghue’s is fantastic and I know a few others have joined him in his fundraising campaigns. Thank you to everyone who contributes, no matter how small an amount, it all helps and I know I speak for John on that too.
As I said, this year we’ve spent the money in a variety of ways. Early in the season, it allowed us to bring back Charlie when we were already maxing out the playing budget. You often spend heavily early in the season, because you play around a third of your games by the end of October. Getting a good start is so important and many of the lucrative FA Cup rounds come early on, so you don’t want to start with a light squad.
Throughout the season, it’s allowed us to bring in players such as Billy Medlock, who has made a big contribution to our season. And in recent weeks, it’s allowed us to go and find cover for key injuries to players such as Matty George – I think we’d all agree Leon has been exceptional since he’s been back.
Without that fund, signings such as that wouldn’t be possible without losing other players. Now, with the fund pretty much used up, I’d really like to give us that extra push to get us over the line, so if you can afford to put anything in the pot, I’d really appreciate it.