Fans Forum 28th January
Summary of fans forum held on Thursday 28th January 2015
In Attendance Lawrence Levy [LL], Nick Archer [NA], Tom Norman, Harry Wheeler , Adam Lee + 50 supporters
LL opened forum by explaining the appointment of Harry Wheeler as manager , he said after the Gosport Borough match he discussed with NA whether a change of management was needed, after the resignation of Jimmy Gray & Graham Golds LL Spoke to Jon Brady who he then met a few times .
The club had had a lot of applications for the managers post , one other manager was spoken to.
After getting references for Jon Brady LL sorted issues JB raised including the finances at the club, and JB accepted the post of manager, a press conference was arranged but JB phoned the same morning and said “something was not right at the club and he was not accepting the post of manager.
LL said he did not think the 2nd applicant listed was the right person , he did not offer Harry Wheeler the post first off due to his inexperience, after some good performances with HW in charge [although not best results] , the club decided to give HW a chance , HW said “I can get you out of this messs”.
Question re Adam Lee role at the club – LL said he looks for players and is out tonight watching a game.
Question re “The dressing room being lost “ LL said Tom Bender had said after Lowestoft match that he had not seen managers and players carry on the way they had.
LL said players had been spoken to regarding comments criticising supporters made on Twitter after the Gosport Match.
Further question re Adam Lee, LL said he will deal with negotiations re players as club officials are busy preparing a case to go the council by 19th February regarding a new ground and the local strategic plan.
LL said Mark Swales the reserve team manager resigned as the club was not going in the right direction from his perspective.
Question – “Is HW still involved with his work at Dagenham/Redbridge”?
LL – yes he is and he has spoken to John Still there who will arrange HW duties to suit role at St Albans City.
Question – “How will player discipline improve under HW, he was here with previous managers?”
LL said Jimmy Gray was in charge and HW followed his instructions.
Question – “Did you consider revisiting the manager situation after the Xmas matches?”
LL – we have high number of contact players , it gives us stability but if manager cannot work them ? it is a problem
They are part of the budget and we have to keep them , as a club we have been immature in the way players were contracted .
Comment made to LL that by appointing HW we are looking to get relegated , LL pointed to the signings of Charlie McDonald and Tom Bender , LL said he does not decide which players .
Fans comment – “The team is not improving so surely you have to look at the coaching?” a general discussion took place on the recent match at Oxford City as an example of this.
LL was asked why the reserve team was withdrawn from the SSML? LL said we wanted to go in division one of that league but were not allowed to , the explanation then continued as per what has been said in local press and on the club web site.
Question “The development squad players may have gone to clubs in higher division of SSML but how can we guarantee they come back to us?” LL said you cannot they are not contracted.
Question “ Should SAC Youth/SAFA not all be under one coaching set up as you see at other clubs?” LL said SAC Youth have a wide ranging review ongoing which may cover this point.
Question “Was the club prepared for the reserve team , we had no staff on match days to help?”
LL said volunteering generally was a problem across the whole sector , he added he would like to see the club in partnership with another club and use that as the development squad , and that is LL personal view.
Question “If we get relegated do we have the budget to bounce back?” LL said he is not contemplating getting relegated which he accepted was a tough ask.
Question “Do we have verything in place to stay up?” LL we may need some personnel changes, we are over budget already.
Fans comment “ Jon Brady would know how to deal with contracted players HW may not?
Fans comment “Who decided to pull reserve team out? LL said we did and elaborated by saying he accepted the responsibility
LL spoke about the strategic local plan which included no mention of the football club, councillor Chris Brazier had said at a planning meeting the football club should be allowed to find land and build a new ground , this was minuted and had support from the meeting.
LL went on to say the club are investigating to see if any development is possible at all at Clarence Park, and that he has put in an application for a 3G pitch here.
A question was asked re the rail freight site , LL said he thought that proposal would have public backing for a football ground there but it is not clear what is happening now.
He added that a new site is being looked at and an offer for it will be made in next weeks. He said it would cost approximately £6m to fund new stand at Clarence Park via loan from the council if we could get it but the repayment would not allow the club to develop.
Question “Is 3G pitch your plan B?” LL no plan A and B is a new stadium to build a community football club.
Question “What can supporters do to assist this process?” LL said things like to the recent news article with Stand By Your Saints was all good publicity for the club, he added we trying to work on an X marks the spot process for our new ground but we don’t know where X is yet.
Fans comment – can we lobby the council as other local groups have done ? LL said we need every supporter to help getting a new ground gut you can only do a big lobby once. And we need a champion to organise this.
LL said the new ground proposal is in the corporate plan but it needs to be strategic plan.
Question “What is minimum level playing wise to stay at CP? LL said 2 divisions down could be sustainable .A comment was made that more should be invested in on pitch development rather than pipe dream of new ground.
LL said it is not sustainable to stay here just on gate receipts alone, Hemel 7 Maidstone make more money off the pitch.
Questions put to Adam Lee & Harry Wheeler
Why does Lee Chappell play at left wing back?
The team has gone backwards
HW commented on player discipline , the referee is not our enemy, we fine players for yellow cards
Question “Are you HW getting respect from players? HW change of captain may improve discipline we will see Saturday
“Can we stay up?” – HW yes , work rate and desire are key, AL get the group together
AL was asked if he had experience to work at this level
HW was asked which parts of team needed strengthening , core defence, midfield and up front.