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On reflection

By Filipo17/4 15:19Wed Apr 17 15:19:17 2024

Views: 836

Having had over a day to read over and reflect on the statement from the chairman, I certainly have some thoughts and observations.

There is no acceptance or admission or even apology for the poor state of the club which has resulted in relegation. There is blame apportioned to previous regimes without taking any accountability given the current Chairman has been on the board for the past 8 years.

There are admissions that the club have struggled financially and not once but twice we were reminded that the shortfall had been made up ‘at the benevolence of the directors.’ I would raise a few points on this, where is the proof and is benevolence just ‘directors loans’ which have now totalled in the region of £350k? Why will they not open the books to determine who has put in what and who is owed what? The chairman can then demonstrate to us exactly how much he has put into the club from his own pocket form the past 8 years.

The bigger picture on this however is a complete inability to improve the football club in the business sense. There’s far too much acceptance at board level of ‘this is just the way things are’ or ‘its hard to operate at this level.’ These are not actual quotes but how I Interpret the running of the club from both this statement and the past 8 years. Businesses that are failing and fail to change go bust. The chairman and previous chairman were told this at our face to face meeting in Bognor back in September. They completely agreed with us on this but subsequently failed to change. The demise continued.

Within the statement there are no ideas on how to improve, how to attract existing and new supporters, investors or sponsors.

Although the statement is slightly better than the 3 lines of a business plan that the now chairman provided me in the latter months of last year, it effectively tells us nothing about how they will take the club forward. Yes there are some goals but there is no supporting plan to complement these. I did ask the chairman to produce a business plan back in February following the Q&A session which I was unable to attend but I guess we are just going to have to accept that is beyond his capabilities.

Where the board have accepted the past few seasons have been a struggle for the club financially for a variety of reasons, I must remind supporters it didn’t need to be this way. A year on from the board’s disgraceful rejection of investment, time, expertise and ultimately galvanising the Kingstonian support they cannot plead poverty. I am not part of the KBH group but blimey, look at who they are, look how transparent they have been and look what they can offer.

In addition to this, there has been the announced experience of those who have tried to sponsor the club and have been pushed away; this in itself is just baffling. Most of those who volunteered in one way shape or form have stepped down over the past few years and the chairman’s pleas for help have been supported by the ever growing list of vacancies at the end of the document. We’ve got people to cover all those positions and more but why would we want to work with someone has treated the supporters of the club with such contempt?

The club have wasted over 8 years in looking for a new ground, there was no long term strategy in leaving Kingsmeadow. At the fans meeting in August 2022 Jon Tolley asked the board who they had been working with at the council, he advised the board they had been speaking and working with the wrong people. I understand he had also warned them of this over the years. Why would the board not want to work with Jon especially given his experience of being a councillor?

The chairman has continually rubbed supporters up the wrong way. Whether that was as a normal fan and continually abusing one of our most successful managers ever or failing to listen to supporter’s concerns or engage with supporters over the past 8 years on the Kingstonian Board.

This coupled with the past few years of the club’s demise, that inability to produce a business plan or even ideas to take the club forward and of course the fact he will not be able to win the majority of fans over, in my opinion completely supports the views of the majority of supporters; he is out of his depth and is the wrong person to be chairman or lets face it even a director. I don’t doubt he is a passionate Kingstonian fan but that does not merit running the club.

The club as a business as mentioned survives on those coming through the gate as fans, sponsors and investors. The chairman has sat on the board where poor decision after poor decision which affects the club’s future has been made.

The past 8 years has seen the biggest demise in match day attendances certainly in the last 30 years and possibly in Kingstonian’s history. As others have pointed out he is listed as the Marketing executive. I can guarantee I have introduced more new fans into the club this season than he has done in those last 8 years.

Despite the negativity from the board towards the supporter’s club, credit to Rex for undertaking research to determine why many fans no longer attend. He has written up a paper with his findings. Many are citing the board and the way they run the club for staying away. Some of this is down to their general running of the club, some of it due to the treatment towards the supporters and of course the shocking decisions to move us out of the Borough of Kingston. This has now been presented to the chairman, however why should it have been Rex to do this? Why has the club not initiated this piece of research, the chairman has talked in his statement about improving attendance, again how is he going to do that? Is it just all talk? Does he not have the ability to think like Rex and undertake a root cause analysis into the problem?

If has been claimed his hands were tied over the past 8 years on the board then be transparent on this; provide the board meeting minutes where decisions were made and votes were casted.

Rather than dipping in to and relying on the AFCW money to finance the club, there should have been a sustainable business plan in place to avoid this. It has taken the current/previous board years to be partly transparent on this front rather than accept they are out of their depth and could not run the club sustainability.

The board treats a lot of fans like they are stupid. This is stupid in itself as within our fan base we have a great variety of professions, I value each and every person’s intelligence. This completely supports my notion it doesn’t have to be this way and still does not.

I have previously drawn up some options on fan ownership. I chose in the end not to present these to the board after they renegaded on agreements myself and the supporter’s club secretary had with them. This included transparency, working together and looking at fan ownership models. I not only felt the board could not be trusted but had no confidence in their ability to run our football club. Further instead of working on these things that had been agreed, instead they were working behind the scenes for this big take over which was initially announced at their Q&A in February.

Whilst I respect some people’s position on giving him/them a chance I am of the belief that this ship has sailed. Threatening to ban supporters for negativity is the proof of that.

In my conversation with Ben on Tuesday, I did briefly go over some of these points above. I made it clear that I don’t believe the chairman will ever be able to win over the majority of fans. I did say to Ben that I would be happy to work with him, he actually seems like a good guy. Unfortunately that evening the statement came out and the following day after thinking it through, I had to remember my own position as President of the supporters club. I messaged Ben yesterday to advise it was unacceptable to make threats to those very people you need to keep onside for the club’s future and that for now I will not be working with them. The door is not closed but we will not tolerate these threats against our loyal fans. We have the right to voice our concerns especially over the club’s continued demise.

I sent him a link to the post on the forum and asked him to pay particular attention to Jon Tolley’s post given his knowledge of the council and problems around getting a ground. But to also look at the strength of feeling on the wording of the statement.

For me this new board of directors is not the answer. It’s not the answer for the short, medium or long term. It doesn’t change anything and it’s the same old drivel that we’ve had enough of.

They need to urgently get back round the negotiating table with KBH as a priority and then subsequently explore and implement a fan ownership model.

If the chairman really loves the club like he claims to then he needs to act fast or the club will die.