Progress?

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Progress?

Postby TalkinStone » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:52 pm

Lots of debate on social media over the last couple of days about exactly where we are as a club.

Cards on the table, like many on here I know the club officials and many of the Board well and like many I have concerns about how our club is being run. Given I prefer not to use my name on here I’m sure some will view this as a politically motivate text from someone with an agenda, that isn’t the case and whilst my views aren’t positive, they are to the best of my knowledge factually correct.

I don’t think many at the club want Peter Marsden to leave however make no mistake the club is being run as if it had an owner rather than a Board. The Board exists and can have some impact around the edges but the Chairman has made it clear that the big decisions are made by him as he puts in the money.

Football is littered with wealthy Chairman or owners who have taken clubs backwards for a variety of reasons, bad luck, poor judgement, not understanding the club or simply the wrong club for them. This isn’t a personal attack on the Chairman, and those I speak to on the Board have no personal agenda, they simply want what’s best for the club.

Our club always had an identity, a bond between fans, players and officials and whilst in many ways intangible, it was a key reason we survived and then prospered. I don’t care about how much money we have, I care about who we are as a club and that we retain the restless ambition to progress and we don’t lose our identity.

This is the third year of us having a benefactor and you can make a strong argument to say that the club is in a worse state than it was when Peter joined us. We almost certainly have less money in the bank, the side remains in need of major restructuring, discontent amongst fans is high, despite all our investment we haven’t made the play offs (yet) and haven’t had a big FA cup run to help balance the books.

We’ve made little or no progress and I would argue that we’re no closer to being ready for the step up to the next level on or off the pitch (although Rory and Jon Pettifer joining the Board feels like a move in the right direction).

What is our plan, where is the leadership and vision? We are spending vast amounts of money and it’s clear things aren’t right.

Here’s one way of looking at the Chairman’s time at the helm.

- I don’t know when the next AGM will take place but the club has racked up record losses of which only part are funded by the chairman himself.

- Appointed a full-time manager based on personal choice rather than a selection process with no Board involvement in the decision. We have failed to set the template for what a full-time manager should do with no visible evidence of BW supporting our community activities or building links with pro-clubs

- The Chairman believes that BW is destined to manage in the Football League and that we won’t be far behind!

- Awarded some of the worst contracts in the club’s history including Cox and Pratt which based on the widely quoted costs are simply inexplicable for this level of football. These are clearly not the only bad contracts we’re lumbered with.

- In making some much needed changes to the Board, we have lost a number of directors who could clearly still be contributing both money and expertise, the most obvious being Quentin and Mick Williamson

- We’ve witnessed in-fighting and the ill-judged and disrespectful Meet the Chairman evening

- There’s little visible sign of third party investment instigated by the Chairman which means if he doesn’t invest the club is in a mess financially

- There was no improvement in commercial income until Rory joined the Board despite having two paid members of staff (including his daughter). Both these members of staff have now moved on.

- We now have a cost structure that is totally reliant on a benefactor or benefactors and the Chairman has decided to dramatically reduce his investment and ask the fans to cover the gap – not a chance!

- Crowds are up but mainly due to the excellent season ticket initiative which I believe was Nick Du Gard’s baby. We ended last season playing a meaningless game versus Oxford in a deserted ground with a number of trialist and squad players on show – this season that sort of game may come much earlier!

- Communication and relations between the Board and the Supporters are at a very low ebb despite having supporters club representation on the Board. As fans we generally accept mistakes as we know, trust and believe that those in charge are doing their best, now there seems to be a breakdown in trust.

- The only tangible improvement we have is a new stand that wasn’t finished in time for the ground regulations, followed by an unsuccessful appeal and the roof blowing off.


The new era of professionalism feels light years away

Every time I’ve spoken to PM he comes across as very personable and down to earth but sometimes people just don’t work at certain clubs and it’s clear that PM expects to call the shots given his level of investment. He should remain a key player, respected and valued for his contribution but as part of a properly run club.

We’re not Billericay and we don’t react well to overpaid players who are here for the money. The things that make this club special have been lost with the connection between the fans and the board almost non-existent. Our squad is starting to resemble the mess at QPR when the squad was a hybrid of hugely overpaid players and cheap make weights.

I think everyone at the club wants to progress to the next level, there’s just different ways of doing it and I can say with conviction, the current approach isn’t working.
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Re: Progress?

Postby The Guvnor » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:35 pm

Very good appraisal of the chronology that has left us in the mire right now.

All very depressing.
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Re: Progress?

Postby Elmslie Ender » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:03 pm

Excellent post TS.

One thing, did we really think that someone who has invested 350k, more than anyone else in this football club’s history, wouldn’t want control? That sum of money should have set us up for the next step, but like most moneybags clubs, it’s gone on the wages of a bunch of wasters. The chairman’s biggest failing has been that he has not lead nor provided leadership and relied on others. Trying to marry ambition and sustainability is not an easy path to walk and many fail on the journey. You need strong and decisive leadership to have a chance.

Where was the due diligence when a new investor was sought? There are quite a few now just passing the buck. The situation we find ourselves in is the culmination of many factors including new and old board members. I agree that you still want PM involved and he seemed to suggest that going forward he will now only invest 50-60k a season, though I think he will pack it in by the end of the season.

It was only towards the start of this year, when the private meeting was held , that laid on the table where we were likely to end up financially if we carried on the path that we were on. Less than 12 months later, here we are.

Twitter today has been unbelievable. The agendas at play are extraordinary. We have got to a stage where all of our dirty linen is being aired on a social media platform that is easily seen by the world. We are a laughing stock. Gone from safe and steady to chaos and bedlam.
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Re: Progress?

Postby Wobs » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:42 pm

TalkinStone wrote:Lots of debate on social media over the last couple of days about exactly where we are as a club.

Cards on the table, like many on here I know the club officials and many of the Board well and like many I have concerns about how our club is being run. Given I prefer not to use my name on here I’m sure some will view this as a politically motivate text from someone with an agenda, that isn’t the case and whilst my views aren’t positive, they are to the best of my knowledge factually correct.

I don’t think many at the club want Peter Marsden to leave however make no mistake the club is being run as if it had an owner rather than a Board. The Board exists and can have some impact around the edges but the Chairman has made it clear that the big decisions are made by him as he puts in the money.

Football is littered with wealthy Chairman or owners who have taken clubs backwards for a variety of reasons, bad luck, poor judgement, not understanding the club or simply the wrong club for them. This isn’t a personal attack on the Chairman, and those I speak to on the Board have no personal agenda, they simply want what’s best for the club.

Our club always had an identity, a bond between fans, players and officials and whilst in many ways intangible, it was a key reason we survived and then prospered. I don’t care about how much money we have, I care about who we are as a club and that we retain the restless ambition to progress and we don’t lose our identity.

This is the third year of us having a benefactor and you can make a strong argument to say that the club is in a worse state than it was when Peter joined us. We almost certainly have less money in the bank, the side remains in need of major restructuring, discontent amongst fans is high, despite all our investment we haven’t made the play offs (yet) and haven’t had a big FA cup run to help balance the books.

We’ve made little or no progress and I would argue that we’re no closer to being ready for the step up to the next level on or off the pitch (although Rory and Jon Pettifer joining the Board feels like a move in the right direction).

What is our plan, where is the leadership and vision? We are spending vast amounts of money and it’s clear things aren’t right.

Here’s one way of looking at the Chairman’s time at the helm.

- I don’t know when the next AGM will take place but the club has racked up record losses of which only part are funded by the chairman himself.

- Appointed a full-time manager based on personal choice rather than a selection process with no Board involvement in the decision. We have failed to set the template for what a full-time manager should do with no visible evidence of BW supporting our community activities or building links with pro-clubs

- The Chairman believes that BW is destined to manage in the Football League and that we won’t be far behind!

- Awarded some of the worst contracts in the club’s history including Cox and Pratt which based on the widely quoted costs are simply inexplicable for this level of football. These are clearly not the only bad contracts we’re lumbered with.

- In making some much needed changes to the Board, we have lost a number of directors who could clearly still be contributing both money and expertise, the most obvious being Quentin and Mick Williamson

- We’ve witnessed in-fighting and the ill-judged and disrespectful Meet the Chairman evening

- There’s little visible sign of third party investment instigated by the Chairman which means if he doesn’t invest the club is in a mess financially

- There was no improvement in commercial income until Rory joined the Board despite having two paid members of staff (including his daughter). Both these members of staff have now moved on.

- We now have a cost structure that is totally reliant on a benefactor or benefactors and the Chairman has decided to dramatically reduce his investment and ask the fans to cover the gap – not a chance!

- Crowds are up but mainly due to the excellent season ticket initiative which I believe was Nick Du Gard’s baby. We ended last season playing a meaningless game versus Oxford in a deserted ground with a number of trialist and squad players on show – this season that sort of game may come much earlier!

- Communication and relations between the Board and the Supporters are at a very low ebb despite having supporters club representation on the Board. As fans we generally accept mistakes as we know, trust and believe that those in charge are doing their best, now there seems to be a breakdown in trust.

- The only tangible improvement we have is a new stand that wasn’t finished in time for the ground regulations, followed by an unsuccessful appeal and the roof blowing off.


The new era of professionalism feels light years away

Every time I’ve spoken to PM he comes across as very personable and down to earth but sometimes people just don’t work at certain clubs and it’s clear that PM expects to call the shots given his level of investment. He should remain a key player, respected and valued for his contribution but as part of a properly run club.

We’re not Billericay and we don’t react well to overpaid players who are here for the money. The things that make this club special have been lost with the connection between the fans and the board almost non-existent. Our squad is starting to resemble the mess at QPR when the squad was a hybrid of hugely overpaid players and cheap make weights.

I think everyone at the club wants to progress to the next level, there’s just different ways of doing it and I can say with conviction, the current approach isn’t working.


But.......................on the plus side, our great club is still owned by the shareholders (who, by and large, are all supporters). And that is why I argued long and hard 20 years ago for a single type of share, 1 share 1 vote, no one individual able to "own" the club structure. And that is why I will continue to argue and vote for a ceiling on the number/percentage of shares that any one person can hold.

I do think our Chairman's heart is in the right place and I applaud him for his "investments" to date. However, to spend at the rate we have been spending needs an extremely wealthy individual (or group of individuals) or else it is nothing other than short term gain.

It may well be that one day myself and other shareholders are persuaded that it would be right to allow an individual to take over and own WFC but it's not something I would rush into and I would need convincing that it was in the best interests of the Club.

It was only a few weeks ago that a public meeting took place wherein it was confirmed that the losses for 17/18 (despite our FA Trophy success and transfer market dealings) were in the region of £295k and our anticipated losses for the current financial year were expected to be similar (unless we were to increase income or reduce outgoings).

Those of you who attended the Meet the Chairman evening back in January will be fully aware of concerns for the club's future that I aired on behalf of myself and others. It's a dangerous game for any club to become over reliant upon one persons contribution.
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Re: Progress?

Postby charlie » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:18 pm

No individual to own the club .says Wobs

WHY NOT ?....Surely your(club) model had reached a point when we needed to look outside for funding.

Hence El Presidentee saying on PM joining .... "We are going to have fun".

Give PM total control or.. an other person. We have reached a point of no return... where your one man, one vote... co- op idea is dead...

£££££ sort it out co-op style ,No chance.
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Re: Progress?

Postby torben » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:06 pm

Good post TS. The social media chat is a sign that, as a club, there are issues that need to be sorted. Most for me are around the spending without due diligence and a structural method of doing things. Accountability and due process are there to ensure a business is balanced in its delivery of its prime reason for being there. This has been absent. I will always support the stones but if you care you speak up. We go again Saturday. UTS
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Re: Progress?

Postby Royal Blue » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:24 pm

It's fantastic to have investment clearly, and it should be remembered and respected that this is/was PM's personal dosh. The sort of money many of us can only dream of, so to speak. But, despite that, when considering the bigger picture, it still must come with a collective responsibility regarding the governance of it. Nick Archer has gone but we now find ourselves insolvent and barely able to pay the players due to the contracts awarded, etc. The club is on a knife edge and that cannot be a good thing despite the step up and that is probably why connected former board members have been so vocal (on Twitter particularly) about the state of affairs. It is may now be the case that all/most of the players will be put on the transfer list to try and keep the club afloat. Imagine trying to manage in these conditions, whatever your level of ability. That is not progress, it's having a punt, at best. Great if it all comes off but BW just isn't rounded enough, nor PM's judgement, leadership and communication. The board also need a rocket in the circumstances too. This is how football clubs go under, year in, year out. Investment yes, but needs collective and sound management regardless.
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Re: Progress?

Postby attic » Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:51 pm

When one man puts in so much dosh, he will insist on control. That's human nature.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
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Re: Progress?

Postby Royal Blue » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:26 pm

attic wrote:When one man puts in so much dosh, he will insist on control. That's human nature.


His human nature. Anyway, he's rolled his dice. What now?
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Re: Progress?

Postby The Guvnor » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:54 pm

So there you have it, a chairman who insisted on having control ultimately didn't have it anyway.

The structure of the club is such that nobody can have that sort of power these days and ultimately the combined strength of others will always win through.

Whether this always remains the same is open to debate but clearly if anyone wants to be in a position of autonomy at Wealdstone then they need to cultivate fellow directors and have them on side rather than alienate those that can do you harm in the long run.
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