Chairman Ray Trew addresses the Black & White Army ahead of this weekend's game...
Firstly I must apologise for the length of this note, but I feel there is a lot that needs to be said.
I wanted to write to you on the eve of our game against Tranmere Rovers to firstly thank you foryour previous and hopefully continued support of Notts County Football Club, but also to reassure you that nobody here at Meadow Lane is in any way satisfied with how our current campaign has unfolded to date.
We’re nearly two months into the season now and it’s fair to say that things haven’t gone the way we would have liked, but I hope that I have shown in my relatively short time at Notts County that I am not one who hides away from problems, I like to tackle them head on and try to put things right.
Do I always get things right? No, I most certainly do not. Do I always have the best interests of the club at heart when making every single decision? Yes, I most certainly do. I cannot see any other reason for making decisions, or for continuing to try and tackle the problems that present themselves to us.
I am not in this for the short-term and I’m certainly not in it for financial gain. I am here because I am a football fan, I love the game and I want to make my mark on it, with all of you, here at the World’s Oldest Football League Club, Notts County FC.
Some of you will see this as empty sentiment I am sure, but I couldn’t stand by and have people think that I don’t care, because nothing could be further from the truth. Every point we drop hurts. Every cup game we lose hurts. I obviously feel the financial knock on of any negativity, but it is the emotional pain that hurts the most.
I made it clear at the end of last season that I was buying into a long-term vision when we set out our stall for this season and that is still very much the case, but I am not blind to our current predicament and nor is anyone at this club, we know that things have to improve and they have to improve quickly, starting with tomorrow’s game.
There are excuses that could be made, but I’m not interested in them, I am only interested in getting this right. So what needs to be done? Well, there’s the obvious one, which is that we need to start getting points on the board.
We’ve got some fantastically talented players here at Meadow Lane, some who I have no doubt will play at a higher level at some point in their career, if they haven’t already. But quality individuals need time to gel as a team and we haven’t had the good fortune to field what you could call a settled team due to injuries and suspensions.
Whilst we are working to the restraints of tight, yet competitive, budgets, as most teams in our division are, we cannot afford to lose our most important thing at this club, which is you, the fans.
That’s not just from a financial perspective, but of course we need a regular income to pay the bills and to keep the club going. I have made it clear that I cannot go on financing this club at the level that I am doing in the long-term.
Any football club, certainly outside of the Premier League, is only as strong as its supporters and the backing that they give. I am merely a makeweight in the financial future of Notts County at present, we need everyone to be getting behind the club and taking it forwards if we are to have a long and successful future.
This is why I am so concerned by the mass of negativity that has beset the club in recent weeks and months. Yes results haven’t gone as we would have liked, but I like to think that I take a more pragmatic approach to reviewing the campaign to date. Sheffield United was a battle, as we knew it would be, and Peterborough were the better team on the day, I think it’s fair to say, although I don’t think the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game as a whole.
The performance at Walsall gave plenty of cause for optimism as I recall, battling back against a team who had started the season so strongly and who play some very attractive football.
The Stevenage and Rotherham games were disappointing and we should have done better, certainly in terms of our performance, against both of those sides, I fully acknowledge and accept that and these displays were made all the more difficult to stomach because they were at home.
But the showing that we put in against Liverpool, particularly in the second half, together with the wins against Fleetwood Town and Burton Albion, show that we have a real attacking threat in this side and we have the ability to turn things around.
Leyton Orient was a setback, but there were definitely signs, particularly in the first 20 minutes or so, that we have what it takes to turn this around. If we could have gotthat first goal, I honestly believe it would have been a very different story in that game.
So my message and my request, if you will, is simple – keep the faith. We need to take a more measured and considered approach to things. I know people are calling for change, that’s only natural when things are going against you, but change can come from within. It can come from the coaching staff, it can come from theplayers and it can certainly come from the backing of the supporters in thestands.
There are plenty of positives around the ground. I think it’s fair to say that Meadow Lane hasn’t looked as good as it does presently for many a year, the suites are attracting essential new business on non-matchdays, our safety rating is as high as it’s been for some considerable time and we’re more connected with the fans, in terms of social media, than ever before.
It serves nobody to focus on the negatives, especially when so much hard work is being done behind the scenes to put things right, it only breeds more negativity and that canonly be to the detriment of the club.
I would like to end by saying that we have this game against Tranmere tomorrow and I would ask you all to show your support not for me, not for our manager and not even for our players, we are all temporary custodians of the reputation of this club, but I would ask you all to come and support Notts County Football Club, because without you, there is no club, it really is as simple as that.
Onwards and upwards