To our supporters,
While it was disappointing not to get a deserved three points yesterday, I wanted to speak with you all and highlight a number of positives from a mixed day for me personally.
Firstly, it was enjoyable to see Simeon get off the mark and an impressive first start for Mallik Wilks. There were also strong performances from the likes of young Reece Hall-Johnson and Charles Vernam. This, coupled with the performances of these exciting, new faces alongside experienced stalwarts like Mills, Matt, Clarke, Collins, Summerfield, McKeown and Davies make me think even more strongly that we will turn this corner sooner rather than later.
While it is never nice to see protests against myself, Russell and the Board, I would like to place on record my gratitude that yesterday's protests went ahead peacefully and without serious incident. The supporters involved had their voices heard before the game in a forthright but peaceful manner. They then channelled this energy into vocal support for our players once the game kicked off. I cannot ask for fairer than that.
The support and atmosphere was one we haven't seen for many years. There was a united and vocal backing of the players that I haven't seen at BP since our time in the Conference. The Board, last week asked for passion and gusto - the supporters delivered and then some. A number of players have commented in the difference they noticed on the pitch and it's important we continue this tone for the rest of the season. Thank you!
Working with Mariners' Trust Productively
I was, however, disappointed to see the resignation of Paul Savage as Chair of the Mariners' Trust. While I only worked with Paul for a short period, I always found him to be insightful, articulate and well-informed. Paul's contributions and coordination towards the Operation Promotion campaign is something he can be proud of. On behalf of the Board, we thank him for this and look forward to continue to see him at BP.
The Board will continue to work together in a productive fashion with the Trust. They are a key sounding-board and representative of fan's sentiments for myself and the other directors. We look forward to partnering with Jon Wood and interim chair, Alan Rutter to analyse the findings from their recent supporters' survey and working together on solutions to move forward. If you haven't completed it already, it is important we now focus on solutions and ways forward so please do so here.
We will be working alongside Jon and Alan to bring together some sort of campaign and ticket offer for the Exeter game on the 24th. We want to pack the park and build on yesterday's great atmosphere.
Ensuring Open & Accessible Dialogue with Supporters
Finally, while I was disappointed to see a private conversation I had with a group of our supporters was recorded, edited and uploaded to social media without my knowledge, I wanted to place on record that I remain committed to being open and approachable to our supporters. I make no apology for showing my passion for improving the club's fortunes. While I would not have made certain comments and chosen different words on the record, this incident will not stop me from being candid and straightforward when approached by our supporters. Call me naive, perhaps, but our supporters are the life blood of our club. It would be irresponsible and cold of me to not make myself accessible and open for such conversations.
As we go through this transitionary period, the other Directors and I will not hideaway and cower. it is now more important than ever that we maintain an ongoing, continuous dialogue together between the Board (mere custodians of our club) and supporters. We have insisted that we will not walk away and abandon the club in a precarious position, but will continue to be approachable and available to speak with supporters about solutions and the way forward for our 140 year old club (whether those solutions are with the current regime or without). I make no apologies for this.
In summary, a mixed few days for me personally, but I'm delighted with the energy our supporters showed yesterday. I would like to place on record how grateful I am for the messages of support and constructive feedback from supporters I have had over the past few days.
We all keep working tirelessly to turn this around behind-the-scenes and let's turn out in our numbers and show that great support again for a big game on Saturday in Crawley.