Paul Bowden-Brown: From the Boardroom (Ramsgate FC vs VCD Athletic)
I am delighted to welcome the Officials, Players and Supporters of VCD to The Southwood Stadium.
Hopefully, after a great game of football and some refreshments, you all have a safe journey home.
While welcoming you, I wanted to say a personal welcome to both Keith McMahon and Dave Joy, whom I worked with at Thamesmead Town Football Club: welcome to Southwood if you have travelled here today.
Nick Robinson, our League Chairman, may have joined us at Southwood today. If you have made it Nick, in amongst your busy timetable, please accept our warm wishes and please keep up the excellent work that you and your colleagues manage to achieve each season, all in the name of Non-League Football.
Well, here we are back home after a picturesque drive through the countryside last Saturday to Hastings where were on the wrong end of a 3-0 drubbing.
Unfortunately, Nick was unable to pick a full squad last week owing to two players not being available due to suspensions while another two were not available owing to family commitments. In future we would like all suspended players to travel with the squad to show their support and mingle with the fans, and that players need to stay committed to the club and avoid absences during the season wherever possible.
Here we are coming to the end of the season, with nothing to play for other than next season. We are setting our goals high for 2019/2020. Our Manager knows what is required for next season and budgets have been agreed.
Nick is building his squad to ensure he meets those requirements; off the field, we will ensure that everything is done to ensure success for the Football Club and its supporters. The Club deserves it, as do our Sponsors.
Talking about next season, as I have said the Manager has the Boards targets for next season. The budgets have been agreed, and the Manager knows what players he needs to meet those targets, so he is working extremely hard at this time.
Off the field, we are also working very hard. The Club has appointed a new Commercial Manager in the last few weeks. This role is to support the continued growth and development of Ramsgate Football Club, both on and off the pitch.
With our new website and Zac’s fantastic efforts within the social media, I think you will agree that our communication with the fans has been second to none. Whether it's player news, interviews or other activities from within the club, we have focused on growing our fan interactions.
Behind the scenes, Sonya, Zac’s mentor, has been working hard planning the future marketing strategy for the club and ensuring that everything produced, from a marketing perspective, is finished to a professional level. Just look at the new signage on the Southwood Club and around the car parks. This is just the beginning of the work we have planned for the club, and we look forward to sharing the plans with you in the upcoming months and future seasons.
Elliot Austin is now running our newly structured Youth Development Section with James Lawson assisting him. As I have said many times since I arrived the Youth section is the lifeblood of this Club. Now we have a robust and professional team in place and visible pathway from the Youth section through to the First Team, and beyond, we look like a professional Non-League Football Club.
Ian Docker, the General manager and my trusted right-hand person, is focused on getting as many Academy pupils signed up for September 2019.
We are working with educational provider SCL to bring Ramsgate Football Club, a professional academy set up. The Academy is a critical part of Club success. The Academy is a must if we are to breed our homegrown players through to the First Team.
Keith Masters is working quietly behind the scenes ensuring that we as a Club are working within the laws of the game in all aspects of our operations. With special enfaces to our future grant aid, something that we as a Club will require shortly. It’s certainly a full-time job especially with his Boardroom hospitality duties added on match days.
I have just completed the first draft of the Clubs new Health and Safety Policy that is a requirement for the smooth operations of the Club. It was a priority of mine, to ensure we met all the required criteria’s of running a Non-League Football Club. Additionally, we have completed the fire protection review so you will see 27 New Fire Extinguishers around the ground.
As I have always said, my main concern within my role at this Club is that everyone’s safety is paramount while they visit The Southwood Stadium. There will be NO shortcuts of any type: if it is required, it will be done.
Another aspect of my notes in the past is my view of the Officials, and yes, I admit that at times I have been scathing. However, the Officials officiating on Saturday got on with their job professionally and sensibly, they drifted into the background of the game, which something I prefer.
We are still trying to arrange courses around our Academy syllabus for Referee Traineeships. This would allow future referees to be taught the basic rules of the game by Professional Referees. This would be a full-time training course; we hope to share some more news with you on this soon.
I want to thank Jim Ward and Vic Todd for their continued support. They are both working very hard behind the scenes. Alongside a significant number of Volunteers, who give their time to the Club. You are all very much appreciated.
Finally, thanks to Stephen for the great work you are doing at The Southwood Club.
I end with an apology. A Wedding celebration was booked for The Southwood Club, ahead of today's fixture being confirmed. This is something that will be avoided at all costs moving forward.
For today only I have moved the Boardroom to the Academy Classroom and the Boardroom will be used by the supporters.
My apologies for any inconvenience caused just for today.
Enjoy the game