19 to 27 October, 2002
I am writing to thank everyone who turned up for the meeting on Friday 17th October 2002. My opinion of the meeting is, or should I say the outcome, is that we, the Board, tell you the paying fans and sponsors the truth.
The first question which the Board was asked was why did we not advertise the manager's job. The answer to the question was, what was the point in advertising a job when you already have the best candidate available on your doorstep? I don't see the point in bringing in people for interview for show, it's not fair to them or the club. We will be honest and tell you the facts and we will stand on that decision.
Graham Heathcote has taken on the Secretary's job (part time) plus the ground maintenance (part time) for which he gets paid. He has also agreed to be the Manager as an unpaid position. This will then not be costing the Club any more money than before. This, as I see it, is a result. At the start of the season, the Manager's job, the Secretary's job and the groundsma's job cost the club £683.00 a week for all these jobs. We have since made a saving. Even with the fact that we will have to pay Bernard his contract money, as he did have a legal contract signed by the last Board. So, the question you asked about [whether] forsaking Bernard's job for another manager would cost us more money, yes it has - £5.00 per week. If we employed somebody from outside, to make some people happy and give them new blood and a new start, the answer would be different, at least costing an extra £300 per week. So please don't get confused, yes Graham gets paid but he only has to do 7 days a week and 3 jobs - for less than he got last year for 1 job. This is reality. Also, his managerial staff, as confirmed elsewhere in the programme, will be working unpaid for this season.
Another question asked was would I give Mr Tracey £11,000? Why should I?? I don't owe the money to him; neither do the other Directors. I was then asked to sell a [Goodwins] coach to give him the money. I wonder where he is coming from. If anyone has a Director's Loan then write in, give notice and we will look at it or should I say, the Board will write back and repeat ourselves: the football club is not in a position to pay any ex-directors. It has no "pot of money". I would like to point out that we do appreciate that people, or ex-directors like Mr Tracey, were at the time only helping the club. He asked me how much I have put in? Well, Mr Tracey, here we go, let's get it straight, for the record - no secrets. Last year I sponsored two games £800.00, discounted the coach hire for the team by £4,000.00, placed two adverts around the ground at £1,000.00 and, at the end of the year, the football club owed my company £4,000.00 which my accounts office had put into the hands of a solicitor to recover the debt, which, I have since, written off, to help cut the club's debt.
This year, free coaches for the team, approximately £12,000, to dinners, to golf teams, sponsored a day for potential sponsors, £1,000.00 cheque to help Bernard with his budget. A grand total of £25,000 in helping the club, not "a loan". This is put in adverts and other ways of helping your club plus, one of my staff helps in the week around the ground. I hope you, the supporters, agree with me, it's much better for Altrincham Football to have help like this than a Director who puts in a loan of money and then asks for it back! ' I have had an ex-Director round at my house last week - no names yet! - but he has asked for his £27,000 Director's Loan to be paid back and he has already served a 60 days notice letter to us, which is now up. He is away on holiday this week and his words to me were "I will shut the football club". Why would someone do that who said they love Altrincham Football Club? Why don't they wait until we can get a little straight then take so much a month? Why do people treat Football Clubs like toys, play with it then throw it away when it is "broken", but then want it back when somebody else has fixed it?
So, I say to all you ex-Directors who love the club so much, why not write off the loan or at least some of it, to help the club you used for your enjoyment, come on, have a heart!
I don't even like football that much, but I have put £25,000 in one way or other and I won't be asking for it back, there are loads of things you can have in exchange for "loans", such as adverts, sponsorship of games, etc.
Please look at the whole picture of the club, shut the club and then there is no money for anyone, more importantly, no football at Moss Lane, end of Altrincham - can anybody stop that?
That is why my vision is different. No loans from Directors only donations, this way it will work as you will not owe as much money. This is going to be a low budget club, with great fans and a good football team that can hold its own. Built on good foundations, that's if we can weather the foreseeable problems.
There was a question regarding the club's future - hopefully we will have an answer within the next two weeks. Andrew Shaw is dealing with a big deal, lets all wish him luck.
The question of shares in the club, is a good idea. The share issue will be sorted out in the near future, after the land deal which will then give us working capital rather than pay the debts off.
May I say thank you to SAFE and the supporters who I had the pleasure of standing with last Saturday in the second half against Whitby. At first Gary was a bit nervous and Zigger Zagger soon got going, mind you, I did look out of place with my shirt and tie on. I stood with a great set of lads, joking and singing, it was good to see the game from their outlook. Thanks lads for your support for the team; it helps us all and makes it worthwhile.
The thing is you would not recognise me outside of the club, I myself, do not think I am the right person for the Chairman job, it is all shirt and tie in the ground; outside it is tracksuit, t-shirts and trainers but, until it is all sorted out, you will have to put up with me or replace me.
May I please ask you to thank Grahame Rowley who works non-stop for the club, raising money with raffles, auctions, plus the fantastic dinner he put on was second to none? Well done Grahame Rowleyl and family. Plus, may I say sorry to Mr Shaw and Mr Rowley as I am always saying what I think and hold no punches? I believe "say it as it is". I think sometimes they cover their ears - sorry, lads.
Anyway, thank you again to Dougie the steward and everyone who makes the clock tick at Altrincham, everyone is appreciated. I don't know everyone's names but a big thank you from me and the Board. Without you, the fans who work free, there would be no football club.
Finally, a big thank you to Bob Peters, one of the last Board, for all his continual help. As he so rightly pointed out, he was a Director of the club but hasn't asked for a penny back. And, to make a point when I said last week the Board walked leaving a big debt, it's fair to say the last Board did not create it. But, unfortunately, they left it. Anyway, one more time, thank you to anyone who helps the club, ex-directors, fans, stewards, etc.
If you can help in anyway by way of a standing order to your club, even £1.00 a week to the Yankee, until we get straight, the Board would appreciate it, I promise you, we will not waste your money.
After a lively discussion on Friday night at the open meeting I would like to thank everyone for getting behind the team against Whitby last Saturday. I'm sure you will all agree that the players gave their all and we all got our reward with a very good win against a very good Whitby side. The players have been put through their paces physically this week and their attitude to this was first class. The hard work they are putting in will be rewarded with the right results. There will be a few departing from the playing staff in the near future. One because of the wage bill situation, going back to budget and two, because some players here are playing no football, which is no use to anyone and whilst they may not be being paid, their fitness level would be insufficient if they were needed to play. I have brought in Dalton Steele to be my assistant manager and I welcome him. He works very hard at his football, has great knowledge of the Non-League scene, especially the areas which we will have to be looking at for players. I have, this week, integrated into our training some of the youth team and I was delighted with their level of fitness, opportunity knocks - do you want it? Can you take it? We'll see. To the players, keep up the good work today - it's you who will put the smile on everybody's faces.
Winners enter the Third Round whilst losers go into the President's Cup,
Match report here. The table is here. There is a very fair report on the Whitby site too.
"Mr Bernard Taylor, I thank you for all the years and your loyal services to Alty Football Club and, in the short time I have known you, you have become a friend...it was probably the lowest I have ever felt when the board voted to ask Bernard to leave and, as Chairman, I was the one who had to talk to Bernard and, I must say in his favour, he was ready to leave and let someone else take on the task of building a team on a low, but manageable, budget. Let's not forget Bernard was doing his best to finance the team above the budget in the hope of success. I used to tell him not to put his own hard earned money in but, Bernard is Bernard! ...We have parted with Bernard on good terms...THANK YOU to Bernard Taylor good luck for the future. Also, thank you to Vic Green who has given good service to the Football Club along with Sid (Burton) and thank you to Andy May for his short time with us...
Letís not look back, letís look forward...it's fair to say that without Graham Heathcote there would be no Altrincham Football Club today. Graham found 3 people to help keep the club alive as there wasnít a queue for the Directors' job. The worry is that as we begin to get straight the ex-Directors are threatening to "take us to the cleaners" and people who know me know that I will have no hesitation in naming and shaming anyone who tries to put the club in debt thus resulting in the closure of the club. What other business could you put money into, make it financially in a mess because you cannot add 2 + 2, then walk away, let someone else take over and pick up the pieces [and] try to turn the club around and clear the debt they created and then [they] have the balls to ask for [their] money back once it has been turned around, knowing that it will then hurt the club, [they] are supposed to love!
Letís build the club from the bottom i.e. start again. You canít build a house with shaky foundations. We need a good youth policy which, as Chairman, I will see to when we get the finance sorted out... I thank every Altrincham Fan and ask for your loyalty, support and understanding. We said that we will always be truthful with you and we will. I will tell you as it is. I have always noticed that there are a lot of unsung heroes at our club who work for nothing. To them I say a big THANK YOU. Thank you to SAFE, who again work for nothing. A few times I have wondered why I do the Chairmanís job the truth is I DONíT KNOW, but what I do know is this, I want to help the club keep going. We all need to pull together and get behind the manager, team and board.
Right: Ian Craney, Andy Tunnicliffe, Gary Talbot and Stephen Rose leave the pitch yesterday.
"Meanwhile, Taylor, who has gone along with his coach, Andy May, and no. 3, Vic Green, says 'I can only say good things about Altrincham. Iíve had some great times there, made some great friends, and all Iím taking from the club are some wonderful memories. Iíve been touched by all the kind letters Iíve received this week from fans. If Iíd known I was going to get all these, Iíd have left ages ago! Iíve no complaints and all I can say after Tuesdayís victory is keep winning Alty...Iíd like to thank all those who have helped me, especially those who have been putting their hands in their pockets to boost my wage-bill. You canít ask for greater support than that'. Taylor...now plans to cut his Robinsí ties completely by handing over his shares to the supportersí group, SAFE. He added: 'My heart will always be with Altrincham, in particular with the fans at the Golf Road end. But Iíve gone for good this time. Iíll get myself a job, maybe not in football. Whether Iíll ever return to the game, it's too early to say'."
Compiled by John Laidlar