STATEMENT FROM RORY FITZGERALD (Interim Chairman)
Following the statement issued on 15th January about the changes to the Executive Board, we want to provide some further details on the future running of the club.
Firstly, there are some inaccuracies within the statement issued by Peter Marsden, we would like to document that the board did invite Peter to attend the emergency board meeting last night, however, Peter declined that invitation. David Hawkins was also invited, however, David chose not to acknowledge or respond to our invitation.
As previously detailed, the decision to replace Peter Marsden as chairman wasn’t taken lightly, the decision was taken in the best interests of the Football Club. The executive board have given every opportunity for Peter to work alongside his co-directors and embrace activity within the business. Unfortunately, in the two and half years as chairman, Peter has not only failed to maintain a working relationship with current members of the board and members of previous boards.
The level of investment from Peter Marsden stretches to hundreds of thousand pounds and the club will have generated cumulative losses of close to £750’000.00 across the three financial years ending 31 May 2019.
Peter’s contribution both financially and as a director has been a huge boost to the club however a change of leadership was needed to both return the club to a more sustainable footing and to formulate a clear plan on how to progress the club both on and off the pitch.
As announced, I have stepped-up to become Chairman initially on a temporary basis with Mark Randall appointed as my Vice-Chairman. The Board is likely to need further strengthening and re-shaping and announcements will be made as and when they are confirmed.
We are confident we will find the balance between ambition and sustainability; our initial priority is to ensure the club is sufficiently well funded to the end of this season and the Board commit to delivering this outcome. It’s imperative that any club lives within its means and Wealdstone FC is no exception. Because of this, in recent weeks we have reduced the current playing budget and believe that any changes can be made around the fringes of the team rather than the spine. If we can meet the goals and have the opportunity to strengthen then we will, however we have a fantastic group of players and management team that should be able to improve our current league standing.
Taking the Club Forward
We believe that Wealdstone Football Club should be the club that the best talent in the area (and beyond) aspires to join. We want every team playing under the Wealdstone name to feel like an integral part of the club. We want to be a club, not just a first team.
We are evaluating the formation of an under 23’s side for next season to establish if this will help from a footballing perspective and how this can co-exist with our well established Under 18’s side. We are also discussing the appointment of a director of football to help us build a footballing structure which can attract and develop players and provide a further source of talent for the first team, as well as helping grow Wealdstone Ladies.
We want to continue to invest in our facilities however this investment must be proportionate given the length of the lease we have at the current site.
We want to continue to develop our commercial partnerships and make the club a valued and respected part of the community.
We will continue to speak to people who might be willing to invest in the club or support our progress in whatever way they can. I’m in the process of speaking to potential investors and is anticipated that we will have new commercial relationships which we will be looking to announce in the near future.
We want to maintain our competitive budget like most clubs at our level, we need to use that budget wisely and attract the right profile of player.
We want to improve communications from the Board to help ensure that supporters remain engaged and it feels like we’re all pulling in the same direction.
The Board believe that it should be viewed as an honour and a privilege to be a Director of Wealdstone FC and everything we do should be in service of this great club, with its proud history and some of the best fans in non-league football.
Each Board member will have a clear areas of responsibility, we are working on terms of reference for the board, the “Wealdstone Constitution” and an initial five year plan which again will be communicated once the new board have agreed our goals for the next five years.
Rest assured that this Board has ambitions to grow the club and progress to the next level, however this will take time and in football not every club can achieve its goals. What is important is that we don’t lose the ambition and energy to keep trying.
Every decision we make will be aimed at giving the club the best chance of being both successful in the short-term but also existing in a meaningful form for future generations.
There will inevitable be decisions that supporters do not fully agree with or understand, and it won’t always be possible to share the full context behind some decisions more widely, it is also not possible to make decisions that please everyone.
The above is only words and it will take time to fully define our plan and put it into action. There are also a number of short-term issues which need addressing before we can truly start to make changes.
The club AGM is scheduled for Sunday 3rd February at 5pm, however Directors will be in attendance at games before this date to answer questions and provide updates on progress.