Chairman’s New Year update
I hope you all had a fantastic festive period and with the season now just over the halfway mark an exciting run in is guaranteed with Wealdstone sitting on the fringes of the play-off places.
On the pitch I am delighted with the standard of football we have achieved at times. After a fantastic start to the season results stalled as injuries and suspensions hit the squad.
However, with the quality in this squad I knew a turning point wasn't far away, and the midweek journey to Altringham in early November proved to be that point.
There is a real feel-good factor around the Vale, attendances are up around 20% compared with the same fixtures last season and it was fantastic to break the attendance record when Wrexham visited in November.
All fans should have the 25th March in the diary as we host Barnet, with no Premier and Championship football that weekend it has been designated "National Non League day" and we hope to get over 3000 in the ground and set a new record.
I was delighted to present Jack Cook with the National League player of the month award for November on Boxing Day. This is a huge personal achievement for our captain, who combines captaining us with his full-time job. Congratulations Jack!
A fully fit squad and a reduced fixture list in December gave us the opportunity to loan out Dante Baptiste, Malachi Napa and David Sesay, three key members of our playing squad who were in need of pitch time.
December also saw the departure of Jordy Mongoy to South Shields after a successful loan spell up in the North East. Although we were keen to keep Jordy, ultimately, he had been unable to establish himself in the starting eleven and the overall offer to the club, was too good to turn down. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his football career.
The discussions with our landlords on the lease continue and we hope to make a formal announcement shortly. Grosvenor Vale is now very much the home of Wealdstone FC and we feel as a board that our long term future is here.
The catchment area is huge and yet we remain relatively unknown to many football fans in this part of West London. This is something that local MP and former PM Boris Johnson recognises, and we were delighted that having listened to our arguments he agreed to step in and support us in our discussions with our landlord.
Whilst we were aware that the involvement of Boris could be divisive to supporters, we felt that we had to do everything we could to secure the long-term future of the club and the support of our local MP in discussions with a landlord who has multiple investments across the constituency could only be helpful. So many things we want to do as a club remain on hold until the long-term certainty on our home is resolved.
We are now starting to see real benefits from the investment in our academy system. We have two sites now in operation at Harefield Academy and Brunel University with over 70 boys under the watchful eye of Cameron Mawer our head of academy.
It's been great to see the boys from the academy start to break into the first team playing squad and we have aggressive plans to grow the academy from this really strong foundation.
As a club we fully support the motivation behind the streaming of National League games, all clubs should benefit from the greater awareness of football at our level, especially abroad, and giving fans unable to travel midweek to games the opportunity to still watch their team should be viewed as a positive.
Implementation costs have also been kept to a minimum as the National League solution leans on the existing technology clubs use to satisfy the BT contract.
We would encourage fans who can't make games be it home or away to make use of the streaming service and as long as you register as a Wealdstone fan the club will receive the majority of the streaming fee you pay.
The Vale Social Club remains an incredibly important source of income for the club with every & spent in the club going directly into Wealdstone FC.
A lot of time and effort has gone into improving the quality of beer on sale and prices remain competitive against local alternatives so make it a part of your match day experience.
It was great to see the club so busy for the World Cup and a special thanks to the supporter's club who ran barbeques in sub-zero temperatures to keep customers fed during the England games. Our ultimate ambition is that the Vale becomes the best sports bar in West London and a real destination for football fans from all over the area.
Indeed, it is the intention to show eligible Wealdstone away games in the Vale for supporters unable to make the trip to support the team with first up being our visit to Yeovil on Tuesday 24th January.
For a ground that is now 75 years old the stadium continues to creek and throw up its challenges on an almost daily basis. During an horrendous December, mainly as a result of the drop in temperatures, we had 18 (eighteen) burst water pipes, flooding in the Captains lounge, Medical room and Managers office, floodlight failures, electrical problems during the Maidenhead game, the pitch water pump failed and needed replacing and as I'm sure
you have noticed we have lost a power unit in the scoreboard.
However, I'm determined we keep improving the facilities and recent enhancements include the completion of the disabled enclosure, the introduction of DD's Diner and significant changes have now been made to the clubs matchday corporate offering.
The Gordon Bartlett Suite has been refurbished and is now the permanent home for Directors and Directors guests while the Boardroom in the Vale Social Club is now for the sole use of opposition directors and our growing number of matchday sponsors.
Our vision is for the forecourt to Grosvenor Vale to become a pedestrianised fan zone with kids free to run around and play without the fear of being run over. As a result, we are implementing much more rigid access controls to the site.
Parking is limited to 55 cars all of which are allocated in advance to playing staff, officials and those charged with matchday operations for example doctors, media and club staff and I kindly request that all those that have not been allocated a parking space avoid pulling upto the entrance.
The car park will be closed to all traffic 30 minutes before kick-off, so the entire site is pedestrianised when the majority of fans are coming in.
I will finish as I aways do by reminding all our fans that what we have here at Wealdstone FC is unique, we are a part time football club playing in a full-time league entirely dependent on volunteers to keep the club going.
There are many ways to get involved and support your club whether it's to give two hours of your time before kick-off, join the media team, use the bar before and after games, purchase a programme, watch the live stream of our away matches in the Vale or attend one of the music events that take place.
Without volunteers the club simply could not function so if you are interested in playing a more active role in the club then please reach out to any of the directors or Richard our General Manager.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2023.