Happy New Year to all members.
Firstly, an apology. The Board recognises it has fallen short in communicating regularly and intends to rectify that position starting with this communication. The intention is to resurrect the monthly communication which will cover a broad range of subjects.
AGM – The 2016 meetings for both the County and the Trust will be held on 19th January - 7.30pm at the Riverfront Theatre, Kingsway. Agendas are in the post and the Accounts of both organisations will be on line this week.
The format is different this year in that both meetings will be on the same evening, and prior to this there will be presentations by the manager and on the County Accounts to 30th June 2016 with a projection of performance for the current year. After the meetings, there will be an open question and answer session involving the Board.
FINANCE – Accounts for the Year to 30th June 2016 - These will be available on line this week with a commentary identifying highlights. The Accounts have been independently audited by HSJ Audit Limited and signed off by Senior Statutory Auditor Robyn Hughes.
There are no matters of concern Robyn wishes to raise and he has certified the accounts have been prepared in accordance with statutory requirements. He has examined projections and agrees that the County be considered a going concern.
Significant action has been taken to reduce the trading deficit inherited on takeover but, as will be outlined at the meeting, challenges continue and are added to by falling gate etc revenue.
TRANSFER WINDOW – The Board has made funds available for the manager in this window. It would be naive of us to release a figure as this will merely reduce any negotiation position with those the manager is trying to bring in.
It is also important to recognise that the manager is responsible for identifying those players he believes will contribute to getting us out of the position the club finds itself in. That is not a Board function. The Board has never, and does not intend to, start taking an involvement in any player selection.
Its engagement in the player recruitment process is to ensure the club is protected with the deals that are being agreed.
The Manager and his team are working hard to bring in more recruits this week and the outcome of these discussions will be communicated when they are completed. It is worthy of note that we will never as a club communicate the signing of a player until it is complete. The process is rather complex and has a number of hand off points including International clearance.
APPOINTMENT – The Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Tunbridge in the role of Club Secretary and Head of Operations.
Alex was at Stevenage for 7 years as Head of Foundation and then Managing Director of their academy. He played a pivotal role in the transition of the club from the non-league to an established Football league club. More recently he has spent a year in the USA as Operations Director creating,
He has previously worked with the manager at Stevenage and thus hits the ground running given his relationship.
RODNEY PARADE - There has been numerous reports around the pitch and potential fixture clash at the end of the season.
Pitch – As previously communicated, the English Football League commissioned “pitch experts” to undertake a review of the pitch.
The report has been shared with the Club and Rodney Parade. It identifies a number of recommendations covering both short and more medium term solutions. The report clearly indicates that it is not for the consumption of a wider audience; the Club has to abide by that instruction.
The Board have met with League representatives and those that produced the report. In addition, the Board has met with Rodney Parade.
A response will be going back to the League this week and the plan will then be implemented.
FIXTURE CLASH – There is indeed a clash of fixtures with the Dragons on 6th May 2017.
The Board have been in dialogue with the Football League and the Dragons to identify a solution to the clash.
We will continue to engage with all parties to try and resolve, always recognising the basis upon which we were granted permission by the League to play at Rodney Parade.
BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT – Board members have for some time been meeting with Mark Crook gaining his thoughts and views on a number of matters.
As a result of these discussions we are delighted to say that Mark has accepted an invitation to be co-opted on to the Board with immediate effect.
More detail to follow.
And to complete around the club:
We will be holding Supporters Trust surgeries this year before all Saturday games from 1:30pm in the Club Shop, it is hoped that these can also be held before all Tuesday night games in the future.
Academy - As we look back on 2016 the main highlights and progress of the academy, victories against Swansea City, Bristol Rovers and Mk Dons all away from home has shown we can compete on the field with some very good and well respected academies.
Players progress into the first team squad with three graduates getting pro contracts, second year scholar also making his football league debut.
Focus for 2017 is to continue to work towards category three status, this is the next step in protecting our clubs future players and success of the academy.
Fan Engagement - Fan Survey completed by 749 people.
Graphs and reports of the findings have been posted on the club website.
These findings are being used for the business plan moving forward.
The revamped free junior fan club is very soon to be officially launched. Everyone under 16 can sign up for free at www.juniorexiles.com
and everyone who signs up will get 4 match ticket vouchers. Watch out for sales and marketing in the coming months.
There are Junior Exiles Facebook and Twitter pages now up and running.
We are still however looking for a main title sponsor. Please contact with the club if you can assist.
A diary of fundraising events for 2017 has now been put together. This will be circulated to all shortly.
CLUB OFFICES – The offices are in the process of having a “make over” to give staff a better working environment. We are fortunate that this is being funded through a deal arranged by the Football League and the assistance of volunteers. Thank you.
We recognise the difficult position we are in and ask we all pull together and play our part.
Thank you again for your continued support.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS