Ten days ago, if you never bought a copy of the matchday magazine, here's what he had to get off his chest, when we hosted Hastings United in the last round of the FA Cup:
FROM THE BOARDROOM
Good afternoon everybody and welcome to Champion Hill. I would like to welcome all our visitors from Hastings United for today’s Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round tie. We have not crossed paths since our time in Division One South and I have been expecting them to join us in the Premier Division for some time now. As we are lacking some coastal trips and, for that reason alone, I would welcome them.
Our visitors had a good run in the competition a few years ago and therefore I hope they don’t mind if it’s our turn this time.
Looking back to Monday’s derby game against Tooting & Mitcham United, I was obviously delighted to get the win, although hitting the net rather than the post would have allowed us to all breath more easily. I always welcome these local derbies on the proviso we can pick up 6 points over the season.
What has amazing is three home games all with crowds in excess of 1000 and a crowd of 1866 for the derby game. This is certainly the best that I can remember since I was first dragged kicking and screaming to The Hamlet back in 1969.
Unfortunately, I do not expect that the trend of four figure crowds will continue, as the lustre of the Emirates FA Cup is not what it once was. On a personal level, I lose interest in the competition once the non-League and lower division clubs have departed, so last year’s competition held my attention longer than usual.
It would also be fair to say that we have found ways to lose to all sorts of lower ranking sides in this competition over many years and I still dream that it will be our year one day.
However, I have to say it is as much about the money that can be won as the glory of the competition. In fact, I believe that the sum allocated to the winners, and the disproportionately high fees paid to clubs when they get on TV, should be reallocated lower down the competition to clubs that would really value that money and do something worthwhile with it. In addition, I believe that a percentage of that money should also be ring-fenced to be used for community engagement programmes for clubs from Step 3 downwards.
I am not sure what you can do about crowds, but perhaps changing some of the rules on sharing gates and allowing a certain number of cup games to be included in season tickets would address some of the problem. Football at all levels is now expensive for families and some of those with season tickets will decide to save £22 today by not coming.
It is also telling that today is the first game that we have been unable to attract an individual or business to sponsor and with our charge of £99 being the lowest I know then this may also reflect unfavourably on the competition.
In addition, because of the competition rules, we are unable to invite local schools and community groups, or run our normal mascot draw for today’s game because competition rules ensure that free tickets are limited. Normal service will be resumed at the next Saturday league game.
Finally, I would just like to re-iterate just how important our sponsors are to the club. I cannot thank Picfair, UNISON and all our advertisers enough for their faith in what we are doing. Increasingly, businesses want to support us because of our crowds but also because of our values. This brings home just how much the club has managed to spread its message.
Finally, I would like to close with a few words from somebody who came for the first time on Monday afternoon. They brought their baby in a buggy, and would have brought their dog as well if they had known they were allowed in. Anyway, they said “We had an amazing day, one of the best family friendly places we've been to since we had our son”.
As that is exactly what we are trying to create it is always good to have confirmation from those who it is meant to attract.
Enjoy the game and thank you for your support. If you have any ideas or comments then please feel free to ask for me at the Boardroom, call me on 07967 212353 or email email@example.com