When I took over as Chairman, there were three situations that I felt we needed to address as a Club.
We needed to get a better deal from our drinks suppliers who at the time were Carlsberg.
We needed to gain the Clubmark accreditation
We had to obtain a better arrangement for our Club catering.
A fourth item was soon on the agenda for every meeting as it soon became obvious that our utility costs and usage had to be looked at.
The Clubmark file had not been opened for three years and Chris Wylie, Ben Moore and Ted Williams worked so hard at what is not the most interesting of jobs to achieve the status in early summer. We have to retain this status and move forward looking for grants that are available. This is a situation that requires more hard work and any extra help will be appreciated.
Charlie O’Mahony and his Business Committee dealt with the Club Catering situation. The Club Caterer left the Club and we developed a situation that encouraged self catering and also offered a small number of recommended caterers for our clients to use. This situation is now starting to work well.
The situation with our brewery is possibly the most important change we have made in this Club for a long time. Various arrangements were discussed over the summer and the Management Board agreed that we should go ahead and invite Hydes brewery based in Manchester to be our suppliers.
We must thank Charlie O’Mahony for the initial negotiations, Dave Cunningham for his expert advice and particularly Jim Pinsent for his legal advice and negotiating skills, there is no way we could have arrived at the present situation without this expertise.
Paul Foulder and his committee have looked at the utilities situation and he describes it in his report. We are now constantly monitoring the usage in the Club and aiming to achieve the best deal that is available.
I must stress at this point that, despite all the hard work put in, the Club is still in a very serious financial situation. We are sure that some of the new measures will help to lessen our problems but to really progress we need a major sponsor, can you do this yourself or do you know anyone who can? There are a number of levels of sponsorship available and we are willing to discuss these with members or non-members. One level of sponsorship is for match balls and we thank everyone who has contributed.
Geoff Pollard took over as Treasurer soon after the AGM, this is such a difficult job at the best of times but even worse in our situation. Geoff has done an excellent job and I would like to thank Jean Wharton for her initial guidance as he took over the job, Jean also produces our excellent match day programme.
I must thank Wif Johnstone for his contribution to the Club. He has continued to run the 50 Club, a vital source of income and has often come forward to tell me and the committee where we are going wrong, I appreciate this advice.
I would like to thank our president Mike Poole, who when he is not on his “world tour” has offered very valued advice, he has given so much to the Club over many years and I have tried to let him enjoy his Presidency most of the time.
What are my memories of the summer?
Sky television’s Club Life series arrived to give us our “season in the sun” but it was a pity that every time they appeared it was raining or very cloudy. It was however a great experience and Ben Moore’s personality helped so much to give the programme an excellent impression of the Club.
It is regrettable that as I search for memories of the summer, the poor weather keeps coming to mind.
There is the Sunday in late April when the cricket was rained off, the Club was closing early and water was flooding in through the roof in the beer cellar, fortunately we had enough buckets to stem most of the tide and a new roof was installed soon after.
I remember the finals, the second XI, rained off one week and played in the freezing cold a week after. The third XI should have been called off for pouring rain but they went on to finish in the dark, not that it was ever light. The under 15 final was another cold day despite Charlie Blackburn’s barbeque.
There were three Saturday’s in mid-summer when all the games were called off, I have never known this before, and it didn’t help Club funds as didn’t the Business Houses games being called off, they hire our ground. We played games on the Lower Ground which should have been called off but you have got to play sometimes. We must thank Steve Briggs for putting up with this.
Despite the weather, they were good memories.
I remember a lot of good cricket with all the teams achieving success at some point of the season.
We have had an excellent Management Board who despite difficult situations at times have all attended meetings regularly and all contributed. I only have to run through the names that I have not mentioned so far, Jan Kelly, John Ledger, Leo Martin, Harry White and Tom Hughes. All have an excellent knowledge of how the Club is run.
Possibly the best memory is of the number of volunteers working in the clubhouse and on the ground, the work has continued through the winter, we cannot have enough of them.
Finally, I would like to thank Club members who have accepted all the members of the Board. I think that we have been well received. Some members are prepared to offer advise which we appreciate, sometimes we don’t agree with it but we are prepared to listen because they care for the Club.
We have set out to communicate better with members and although we have achieved this to a certain extent, we can certainly improve and hope to do so during the coming year.
R A Paisley