Board of Directors Update
Ahead of the new 2021/22 National League season, Dominic Whyley on behalf of the Board of Directors wanted to issue the following update to Wealdstone supporters:
As we look forward to our second season back in the National League, the Board wanted to provide an update on a few areas.
It finally looks like we can welcome back fans and enjoy some huge games at The Vale as well as travelling in numbers to support our team. We have some great early fixtures and hopefully we’ll be able to welcome record crowds and get back to the away day experience supporting the team. The club continues to make progress on and off the pitch however the competitive landscape of this league continues to get tougher with bigger budgets and more full-time teams.
In order to compete, give our supporters a team to be proud of and provide us the best chance of staying up, the Board wants to make a sensible increase in the playing budget to support Stuart and Matt getting it right on the pitch.
We have already recruited strongly by signing Jack Cook joining from Woking, Josh Umerah and Matt Buse from Torquay, Andrew Eleftheriou from Dagenham and Nikola Tavares from Crystal Palace. All these signings will help strengthen us and the opportunity to add further to the squad remains via both permanent and loan signings. We are working on a number of targets however, despite being disciplined on wages and contract structures, we need to be competitive to get these deals over the line.
As has been the case for many years at our club, supporter fundraising will be important again this season as it was last season.
Firstly, thanks to everyone who contributed financially to the club last season or supported the club in other ways. Our season ticket holders understanding of not being able to attend games in person, the amazing sum raised by ‘StoneShare’, the work on the stadium, matchday programme, streaming and so many other areas – we thank you for everything you did to support the club. Supporter’s incredible time commitments and generosity enabled the club to not only survive our first season back in the National League but also navigate the severe financial impact of the pandemic as best we could without damaging the reputation of the club or the National League.
With government funding removed at the end of December 2020, the club had to continue to fulfil fixtures, pay players, train and travel with virtually no income from spectators or our social facilities. The club made the difficult decision to furlough a small number of players however despite this we managed to finish in 19th place, clear of the relegation places had relegation taken place.
There’s been some exciting progress off the pitch with partnerships with Harefield for the academy and Kelme for our new kit. We have also continued to improve our facilities with an outside bar and significant refurbishment at The Vale social facilities. We are also hoping to be able to launch a new scheme to encourage younger fans and families to The Vale to enjoy the season ahead.
We continue to work with the DCMS regarding accessing loan funding and hope to be able to reach a positive conclusion in the coming weeks.
Last year was more about survival off the pitch but this year can be about creating memories and making our mark.
The Membership Scheme launched by the club will run until Saturday 7th August and offers a great opportunity to secure a reduced price season ticket, shares and a number of other benefits. We will also be re-launching ‘StoneShare’ during August and hope that across these two schemes we can provide the desired budget to our management team.
We have a number of home pre-season friendlies and we encourage supporters to come along and see the improved facilities and how the squad is shaping up. We also have Jonathan North’s testimonial on Sunday 8th August kick off a 1pm. Please come down and give Northy the send-off he deserves and watch what should be a great game between Northy’s Wealdstone XI and an Ex-Watford XI.
Northy spent 10-years at the club, making 393 appearances and played a huge part in the club’s journey back into the National League, making countless incredible saves and being a superb ambassador for the club. Put this in your diaries and give the great man a great Wealdstone send off. We’ll keep you updated on social media in the coming weeks.
Stay well and enjoy the rest of the Summer and we look forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces as we embark on Season 21/22 together.