The last time I stood for election three years ago, I naively
pledged to help push the men into the Conference South and the Women into the
WSL. Three years on, with the men now a division lower and the Women still in
the WPL, you’d have every right to tell me to sling my hook.
Here’s why I’m asking for your vote again. The men’s side of
the club – for which Stuart Fuller and I are primarily responsible – is in
better shape than it ever has been since community ownership. From the great
work Alex Walsh is doing with the Academy and the 18s, to Steve Eke’s fine efforts
with the DS and, of course, the cracking job Darren, Ross and Tony are doing
with the first team, everything is moving in the right direction. And we’ve
worked very hard over the past three years to get the men’s teams working
together as a unit, not four individual squads.
Stu and I (with the invaluable help of Kevin Brook) have
also built a great working relationship with the management and the players. I
speak to Darren and Ross more often than I do my other half, and we work
tightly as a team. We win together, we lose together, and we all work bloody
hard to make sure it’s the former.
We’ve made plenty of mistakes over the past three years, but
the experience I’ve gained as a director and club secretary over that time
makes me certain we’ll make better decisions in the future. I know the game
better, the club better and I’m more confident in my ability to spot when
something’s going wrong and to put it right. That experience is now coming in
handy for the women’s team too, as we begin to deal with player contracts and
transfers for the first time.
Even when times have been tough, I’ve never hid. I stand
with the fans on the terraces at both men’s and women’s games, and I’m always
willing to give you a straight answer. The same’s true in the boardroom: I’ll
represent the fans and keep pushing for owners to have a greater say in big
decisions. And I’ll continue to work as hard for this club as my job and family
One big reason for the recent success we’ve been enjoying is
stability – stability of management, playing squads and stability behind the
scenes. With your permission, I’d dearly love to finish the job I started.
Besides, strong and stable leadership. When has that ever
failed to be a vote winner?