Chairman Ray Trew looks back on five years at the club...
I can’t believe it has been five years since we agreed the deal to take ownership of Notts County Football Club, the World’s Oldest Football League Club.
Of course I say ownership, but as I have stressed in the past, we are merely custodians of this great club, responsible for guiding it forwards as best we can and whilst I’m not going to pretend that it’s been an easy ride, I feel that we are moving in the right direction.
It’s a shame in some ways that this anniversary has come around so quickly because I genuinely believe that the best years lie ahead and I hope that in five years’ time I am writing an even more positive message, because that is certainly the aim of the Board of Directors, the coaching staff and everyone involved with the club at present.
In Shaun Derry and Greg Abbott and those that they have assembled around them we have a coaching team that we can believe in and trust. Everyone wants to see instant success, but I’ve learned in the past five years that patience really is a virtue and I hope that I have found a team that we, as a club, can put our faith in to deliver, as they have already showed they can to be fair.
It’s been a difficult few weeks, nobody is denying that, but there has been progress under Shaun and Greg, that is equally obvious and I really believe that they are moving the club in the right direction on the pitch, but will need time to achieve their goals, which at the end of the day are shared by all of us.
I want to see this club in the Championship, I have said that from day one and my resolve and ambition to see that materialise is as strong as ever. I’ll be honest and admit that there have been dark days along the way, when things just haven’t gone our way for one reason or another, but as I have said, it’s been a learning experience and I’d like to think I’m a better person for it, certainly a better Chairman for the lessons that I have learned, sometimes the hard way, over the years.
But as you yourselves, as fans, will know, it really gets under your skin this club, in the best way possible. It feels like a club that deserves success, that deserves to be talked about for all the right reasons, it’s the oldest professional football club in the world, that’s not something we should take lightly.
Streamlining the business to make it self-sustainable should not be seen as a lack of ambition, far from it, it’s a means of securing this club’s future and ensuring that we are best placed to progress, both on the pitch and off it. This is a business after all and there’s no point pushing for success on the pitch if you are doing so at the expense of matters off it, because they will catch up with you and it can be disastrous, as we have seen in the past here at Meadow Lane. That is not something I am prepared to let happen again.
The backing and continued support that you give the club, from the fan who comes to maybe just one or two games a season to our many season ticket holders, you have all played a part in getting this club to where it is and you all have a key role to play in helping to move it forwards.
Planning is already well underway for next season, on the playing side and behind the scenes on the business side, with areas identified where we can improve and some things to be looked at in terms of where we can reduce our outgoings, because we need to marry the income with the expenditure, just like every other business out there.
I will continue to back the Manager as best I can and look to ensure that we are competitive to a level that allows us to push for promotion, because that is the goal, as I have said, but I will not do so in a way that jeopardises this club’s existence, nor in a way that prejudices the relationships that we have repaired and developed with local businesses.
So as we look back on five years at the club, I hope that you, like me, can enjoy reminiscing about some of the good times, such as the promotion-winning season obviously, games against the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Juventus, but also remembering how we have overcome challenges, not least last season, to be a stronger club for the experience and better placed to push forwards.
I have said in the past that I won’t always get everything right, I have talked about learning from my mistakes, but I also want to stress that it is only by pulling together that we have ever really achieved anything as a club and that will always be true, so let’s look ahead with a renewed sense of optimism and belief and look to overcome the trips and hazards that will no doubt await us along the way to build a brighter future for Notts County FC.
Onwards and upwards