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FANS' FORUM - SUMMARY

Brian Caffarey - 18th April 2008

FANS? FORUM ? 15 APRIL 2008

150 or so fans packed out the Cardinals? Bar for this very successful fans? forum. In the first part of the evening David Taylor (Chairman), Colin Lippiatt (Football Technical Director) and Tom Hutchinson (Club Captain) took questions on football issues. In the second half David was joined by James Aughterson (Finance Director and Company Secretary), and Andy Morgan (Commercial and General Manager) in order to focus on off-the-pitch matters. Jon Davies (Communications Director), Sadie Gordon (Head of Communications and Press Officer) and Paul Griffin (Supporters? Club) were also among those present.

The following is a summary (in ?telegraphese?: it was a long meeting!) of the main points covered, which we hope will be of interest to those fans who could not attend.

ON-THE-PITCH

Frank Gray?s and Gerry Murphy?s departure ? very difficult decision; great respect for both men; regarded as friends; want to thank them for all their efforts; but Board came to conclusion that they were not the right people to take us forward next season; number of factors but main one was the belief that the team hadn?t played sufficiently often with the passion and pride fans of this great Club have the right to expect; also too defensively minded: team seemed anxious and unwilling to press home an advantage; Colin Lippiatt offered his resignation, in view of his role in appointing FG but DT refused to accept it: CL had been placed in a very difficult position in being asked to undertake the last recruitment process in a rush (DT). Believe both men did a good job; don?t regret appointing FG; gave him 100% support; mistakes were made but that always happens in football; players as a whole under-achieved, though, and that points to a certain lack of motivation. (CL). Overall, players performed well, bearing in mind that a number of them had not played full-time previously, nor at this level; but should have done better against bottom sides especially; players let FG and GM down, so have to share the responsibility, but must now look forward (TH)

Timing ? various factors made it impossible to act before the Stevenage game and, in any case, it would have been wrong to have interrupted preparations for that match; had we played ?out of our skins? that night, DT had authority not to proceed; Board?s views conveyed ?face to face? by DT; players told straightaway and then fans. Timing allows Club to bring in someone in time for next season and allows FG and GM to apply for other posts. (DT)

Marvin Morgan?s reported comments in the Surrey Advertiser ? Marvin has asked me to pass on his apologies to fans for his outburst; he was caught ?off guard? and regrets what he said; wants to play for Woking. (TH). Have to remember that FG was something of a ?father figure? for Marvin; he was shocked by the departure; apologised profusely to CL and DT. All over and done with: please get behind Marvin and the team (DT)

Appointment of new manager ? enormous interest in vacancy; absolutely open mind on appointment: no one has been ruled in or out; have not had discussions with any potential candidate and will not be approaching anyone; have set out publicly the ?person specification?; will take whatever time is needed to get the right person; Aldershot didn?t rush last summer and it didn?t do them any harm (DT). Justin Edinburgh knows the position: he?s been brought in for four games and it doesn?t mean that he will be given any sort of preference but, of course, from his point of view, he?s got an opportunity to familiarise himself with the Club and the players. (CL)

Club?s ambition ? have issued a brief statement outlining the Club?s ambition; renewed focus on gaining promotion to the Football League and staying there; believe we became over-focused on waiting for the ground redevelopment and too willing to countenance mediocrity in the meantime; aim is to be promoted to the Football League within three years and intend to be Chairman when it happens, so new appointment had better work out! New manager?s target will be top 10 finish next season, play-offs the following season and (if not already promoted) promotion the following season (DT)

Playing budget ? too much focus on this too; we?re not the best and we?re not the worst: probably about half-way or a bit below in the BSP; new manager will have a slightly bigger budget next season; FG, to his credit, never complained about the budget (DT)

Squad for next season ? 10 players already on contract and four others signed on ?Bosman? deals. Discussions to be held with remaining players (Damian Batt, Jason Norville, Goma Lambu and Adam Green); priorities for strengthening are at right back, central midfield, a versatile midfielder and a striker; if right person is available before new manager is appointed, would be prepared to sign them; new manager will have to ?wheel and deal? ? as all new managers coming into a club have to do (CL)

Discipline on the field ? very disappointed at our disciplinary record; the Club is going to introduce a ?respect? agenda for next season which will go beyond anything the FA might propose; one possible element is a rule that only the captain can approach the referee (DT); poor discipline affects football at all levels; happens in the ?heat of the moment?; regret it afterwards; hope something can be done about it (TH)

Academy ? cornerstone of the Club, as is made clear in the ?person specification? for the new manager; has been so for the last few years but want to make it more prominent; Graham Baker and Dennis North do a fantastic job; need to build a ?ladder? to enable players to progress from Academy to first team: exciting announcement to be made on this soon (DT); development of players such as Ross Worner big ?plus? for the Club; a number of youth team players have been training with the first team but FG had to decide whether to play them in all the circumstances (CL)


OFF-THE-PITCH

Club finances ? Club would not be in existence if it was judged by normal business criteria: owes some ?4m to Chris Ingram and relies at present on his support each year to finance its activities; he has said that he will continue to support the Club next year but at a slightly reduced level; working hard on some big, ambitious schemes to raise more money (DT)

Ground redevelopment ? ?credit crunch? has put back timetable for planning application: now hope to submit it by late summer/early autumn; Chris Ingram working extremely hard on the scheme; still optimistic (DT)

Proposed new share scheme ? plan to provide details shortly of a proposed new scheme to enable fans to purchase shares in the Football Club; sum has got to be big enough to cover costs and make it worthwhile but want to widen share ownership and make it easier for fans to join in; legal restrictions made it difficult to provide many details at present; request that all those interested in knowing more should email jamesaughterson@wokingfc.co.uk (or write to him at the Club) indicating that they would like to receive further details (JA)

New kit ? shown to general approval; two-year deal with Paulas Benara; good quality, embroidering of names, not iron-on; home kit has red and white halves on back and front, Cardinal red socks and black trim; ?all gold? away kit; green third kit; all three shirts will be available in all sizes; waiting to agree sponsor before release, probably at about the end of May (AM)

Main sponsor ? very good deal on the table from local firm (big name): hope to better it but if we can?t we?ve got it to fall back on (AM)

Pitch ? major work starts on the pitch in early May (DT)

Season tickets ? proposals before Board later in the week; considering ?early bird? discount, ?extras? for season ticket holders and staged payments; will issue application forms at Kidderminster game; planning more structured approach to attracting younger fans, including ?Kids for a Quid?, with a partnership with individual schools and charities and focusing successively on different catchment areas; aim is to fill as many seats as possible and to buck trend of falling attendances; also looking at grading games according to attractiveness; will consider possible initiative for senior citizens (DT)

Website - hope to launch new website in a couple of months? time, including on-line shop and ticket sales (AM)

Stewarding ? will be made more professional (DT)

Coin-throwing ? have got a photo of the individual allegedly responsible; will now try to identify; any instances should be reported to the police, who will take appropriate action; Club hasn?t had problem supporters hitherto: want to keep it that way (PC Robin Wood)

Foul language ? want to stamp it out through self-policing (DT)

Catering ? introduction of Seafare in LGS has proved a great success; have also taken the Cardinals Bar back ?in house?; want to improve catering in rest of ground; plan to provide food in the Cardinals Bar next season (AM)

Volunteers ? completing study of role of volunteers in running a ?model? football club; hope to establish a ?Woking history room?: would appreciate offers of help (Richard Taylor and JA)

Amateur Cup anniversary game ? highly enjoyable; some replica shirts being auctioned; hope to arrange another similar game to celebrate triple Trophy wins in the mid-90s (AM)


Brian Caffarey
18 April 2008







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