Chairman’s Half Time Team Talk

20150406_Howard Krais

With New Year fast approaching this is a good time to take a look at the 15/16 season at halfway and have a peek at what 2016 might have in store for us.

Without doubt the highlight of the season so far has been the FA Cup. The hype that comes from getting to the First Round, especially from the media, makes the Cup an occasion unlike any other and for 5 minutes of so as we approached half time of the Colchester match we were really able to dream.

That day was notable for many things. Uppermost was the pride in the way we looked after a full house here at Grosvenor Vale – the first time that’s happened since we’ve been here. Hosting Football Focus was pretty good to as was the excitement that built as the FA Cup run continued.

League form has been mixed. My reading of the table says that we are one of about a dozen clubs who will be looking over our shoulders at those below us, yet if we put 3-4 wins together we’ll be knocking on the doors of the play-offs.

For me the win at Ebbsfleet was as good a performance as I can remember – certainly at this level. I believe the squad is strong and if we can play consistently as we did at Chelmsford and Hemel over the last couple of weeks then we will win more than we lose.

Last season we launched our vision for the Football Club. One of the things that vision made clear was that we aimed to play at the highest level possible. In meetings and conversations recently it is good to know that people’s ambitions are not limited to simply remaining at this level. The ambition is there to push the Club higher – on a sustainable basis of course. Another key plank of the vision was a ‘One Club’ philosophy and it is great to see the continued progress for the Ladies and the Youth clubs.

As well as the Board of Directors, we have established a different group of senior Club people who are focused on developing and executing on longer term strategy projects. These include looking at how the Club will need to operate if we were to play in the National League, including what full time roles we might need; a ‘one club’ website optimised for the future, how we make the right investments in youth and our vision for the future of Grosvenor Vale.

Of course our vision for the future of the site depends, as we all know, on the lease. I am not saying anything new about the lease here – except to say that discussions continue and I hope to have some more tangible news to share during 2016.

Over the past few months we have made great strides with developing the commercial and marketing side of the Club – though there is still some way to go. We hope to appoint a new commercial manager shortly to help us continue to push these crucial efforts forward – but it is fantastic having some great new sponsors on board already, especially GPF Lewis and Freebets.co.uk. I am excited by a number of other conversations taking place at the moment and hope we have some further exciting announcements through the next few months.

Earlier in the season we enjoyed getting the 1985 double squad back together for the 30th anniversary celebration. If that was a great day then I’m sure that the 50th anniversary celebration lunch for the 1966 FA Amateur Cup squad will be equally as good.

Derek Tomlin has done a truly phenomenal job, with help from 1-2 others, to track down all the surviving members of that squad and we are expecting a big turnout from the players on 16 April. The final details for this event are being agreed currently and we will launch ticket sales shortly. From what I have heard anecdotally there will be a big demand for tickets so please keep an eye out for details and buy tickets early. It will be truly fantastic to honour this group of Wealdstone legends – 50 years since the big day at Wembley.

With other events planned between now and the summer it will be a busy time on this front – but it is important to have a calendar of events planned and then deliver them flawlessly.

Of course running a football club like ours is never a story of unbroken success. We launched 12th Stone at the beginning of the season.  This has been slower than we would have liked and we will be putting renewed effort into this important scheme during the second half of the season. We also know that, at present, our attendance figures are showing a decline on last season’s average. There are lots of possible reasons for this and no doubt everyone will have their own theory. We are putting renewed effort into how we market future matches and hopefully, together with success on the pitch crowds will start to rise soon.

So plenty to be excited about as a Wealdstone fan as we move into 2016. The league won’t be easy but I believe with the quality Gordon has assembled together with the fantastic support we can provide them with then we are capable of doing well and pushing up the table.  We are still in the FA Trophy, and if the rain relents and we beat Weston then there will be a trip to Grimsby Town to look forward.

I am very hopeful of plenty of progress off the field too and look forward to sharing plenty of good news in the coming weeks.

Let me finish by wishing everyone concerned with Wealdstone FC a wonderful New Year filled full of joy and with hopes for a healthy and successful 2016.

Howard

{The above article was featured in the match-day programme for our game versus Hemel Hempstead Town yesterday ( 2 Jan) which unfortunately was postponed  due to a waterlogged pitch}.