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Club News

Update: Joe Palmer

CEO provides latest on exciting progress

8 April 2024

Club News

Update: Joe Palmer

CEO provides latest on exciting progress

8 April 2024

Our chief executive, Joe Palmer, has provided an update on several club projects as he nears the end of his first season in post.

Following the recent message from our board of directors, which highlighted the importance of the club maximising its commercial revenues in order to support a sustainable pursuit of their substantial, long-term footballing ambitions, I’m pleased to bring you an overview of the work that’s been carried out, and the significant financial commitments Chris and Alex Reedtz have made, towards that in 2023-24.

On my arrival at the club last summer I discussed the importance of exploring innovative ideas which could open new revenue streams for years to come, rather than solely relying on ‘traditional’ forms of income.

We set to work on this straightaway and, in February, announced plans to develop a best-in-class fanzone and events space on the perimeter of Meadow Lane.

I’m delighted to say that we have now been granted planning permission to proceed with this huge, and extremely exciting, project – and intend to open in time for the commencement of England’s participation in this summer’s European Championships, with the aim of providing the best destination in Nottingham for football fans to watch the eagerly-anticipated tournament unfold.

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The venue, titled the Nest and boasting a capacity of more than 1,000, will be our own take on the likes of Boxpark, with work to begin soon on a comprehensive refurbishment and the installation of state-of-the-art lighting, sound and screens.

For Notts fans, the matchday experience will be revolutionised. As I discussed following the installation of a new container bar behind the Kop, our growing fanbase deserve far more in terms of food, beverage and pre/post-match entertainment – and they can now look forward to having one of the very best provisions in English football from the start of the 2024-25 season.

Supporters will be able to watch the early and late Premier League kick-offs, sample delicious street food from a top-class rotation of vendors and quickly buy refreshments from a large bar – all within an incredibly short walk of the turnstiles.

On non-matchdays, the possibilities are endless with the space lending itself perfectly to a variety of events including beer and food festivals, comedy, film screenings, e-sports and much more.

We can’t wait to begin working with new partners to build a year-round schedule of events that will bring thousands of new people to Meadow Lane, while also providing a host of employment opportunities to the city.

The work is only just beginning so, if you’d like to receive regular updates on the Nest including details of how to book your place for the Euros, please click here. We’d also be delighted to hear from businesses who’d be interested in bringing their events to us:

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Continuing on the theme of matchday experience, I’m pleased to say that next season’s hospitality provision will be greatly enhanced by the reconfiguration and expansion of the corporate seating area in the Derek Pavis Stand.

In line with the club’s growth in recent years, we’re experiencing unprecedented demand for hospitality but are hampered by a limited number of premium seats, which quickly sell out for every match.

For context, our suites can accommodate up to 450 guests per match – but with only 200 premium seats available we’re not even close to maximising our potential.

To resolve this, we’ll be relocating the press box and making some other adjustments in that area to ensure we can create a true VIP experience for all our hospitality guests from 2024-25 onwards.

We’re working on an exciting new range of packages, too, so I’d encourage you to click here to register for updates on all things hospitality ahead of the new season.

An improved hospitality offering will make us a far more attractive prospect to club partners – and to help us find them I’m delighted to welcome Adam Chantrey into the brand-new role of Head of Commercial Sales.

Adam brings with him a wealth of experience and contacts from his very successful time at Lincoln City and would love to hear from businesses large and small who are interested in any of our newly-developed sponsorship or advertising packages:

As part of the restructure of the commercial team, Jordan Worthington has taken on a new role as our Head of Venue, Ticketing and Retail, which will see him put the considerable knowledge he’s developed across various departments to brilliant use as part of our continued efforts to provide the best possible service to fans and customers.

In line with this, the club will be undergoing a digital transformation this summer with the introduction of a brand-new website, bespoke app and retail provider.

These new platforms will vastly improve the way fans interact with us across all our touchpoints and we look forward to providing more information in due course.

While there are many more projects in development, including the impending launch of our first two BTEC courses through our Learning and Innovation Centre, the final one I’d like to discuss is our commitment to a full reconstruction of the Meadow Lane pitch – the first of its kind since the stadium’s redevelopment in the 1990s.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our groundstaff, it may come as a surprise to fans that the pitch is in desperate need of reconstruction. Both the underlying drainage system and the sub-soil base are starting to fail and require total replacement.

In truth, we can count ourselves fortunate not to have had matches postponed due to waterlogging this season - and the board have agreed that now is the correct time to resolve this issue by thoroughly modernising the entire infrastructure of the pitch and its surroundings.

As well as state-of-the-art drainage, which will all but eradicate the threat of waterlogging, a new hybrid SIS pitch will be installed – bringing the composition of our playing surface up to Premier League level.

The works will also allow us to meet FIFA standards in terms of playable area, meaning we’ll be in a position to host top-class football events, as well as other sports such as rugby, should any proposal to do so make financial sense to us.

We’ll also be taking the opportunity to install an undersoil heating system – although it’s important to note that, due to the costs involved, this won’t be connected to a boiler until such time we encounter consistently lengthy cold spells, where a number of matches are put at risk.

This project will begin very soon after the final home match of the season and, due to its extensive nature, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to host any home friendlies this summer. More details on our pre-season schedule will follow in due course.

While it would have been possible to carry out lesser works on the pitch, the decision to do so would simply have put off the inevitability of a full reconstruction. By taking action now, we’re eradicating the issues, future-proofing the club for progress up the pyramid and guaranteeing a phenomenal surface for our players, and prospective signings, to showcase the best of their abilities.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the club for their excellent efforts in progressing the aforementioned projects over the course of the season.

Of course, the highest debt of gratitude is owed to Chris and Alex, whose incredible vision and backing, combined with their outstanding methodology, leaves me in a position that I’m sure would be the envy of many chief executives across football.

While the vast majority of their work will never be seen, their achievements since taking on the world’s oldest professional club at the lowest point in its history are nothing short of remarkable and I couldn’t be more excited about where this club could, and I firmly believe will, go in the future.

But we will only undertake that journey in a rational, responsible way, while always knowing that the nature of football means you can never guarantee short-term success.

What you can control is your chance of being successful over time and, by delivering on what I’ve spoken about today, we will take the club to another level financially and move towards achieving the state of ‘football eutopia’ by breaking even, or better still becoming profitable, while also providing one of the most competitive budgets in the league and the best possible experience for our fans.

We’re already making good progress towards that but there is still so much work to do.

We will, of course, keep you updated on our ongoing progress – including the communication of details regarding our 2024-25 ticketing programme.

Joe Palmer - CEO

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