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BLIND, STUPID AND DESPERATE
 
Board games:
Fans Forum, 27/07/05
 
Unofficial minutes
By Chris Lawton

Here is a rough transcript/summary of the fans forum as I noted down via the internet. Missed some bits and don't have all the questions. Repeated as the questions were asked.

--> Means question
[] = my own additional comment

Summary of Fans Forum

--> Investment on pitch

Graham Simpson

    Manager makes decisons on who comes and who goes

Aidy Boothroyd

    Believes in energy and enthusiasm and people who can play
    Experience is important
    Wants a side with pace
    Would cost around 4 million a player to bring in the best
    Wants plays who are able to learn and grow
    Too many senior players when he arrived
    Will spend, but only on right player
    There is money for new players
    Didn't believe 16th and 18th good enough and therefore those players no good

--> Loans

Aidy Boothroyd
    Useful system for clubs like WFC, need to give youth a chance though and earlier on.
    Loans with a view to purchase better than striaght loan and return.
    Close to getting Eagles back
    Re: Parkin - Swindon made life difficult

--> Money

Graham Simpson
    Aim is still to stabilise the club
    In his 1st year lost 10 million
    2nd year 4 million
    Last year still lost money (would not say how much)
    Have raised around 20 million to sort the club out
    If club survives he has done his job
    Doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of the Vialli era
    Will not bring in players that we cannot afford however desirable they are
    Playing budget is 3.25 million for wages and transfers, up to AB how he spends it
    Rounghly 50% of HH sale will be added to that --> 4 million
    BG sale goes to Aidy
    If a big bid comes in it is up to Aidy to decide whether to sell, not the board
Aidy Boothroyd
    Happy with squad, but will spend if he has to

--> Bryn

Aidy Boothroyd
    Decision not financial
    There are better players at WFC and out there (his opinion)
    Wants palyers who are winners
Mark Ashton
    Can't reveal BG fee due to Reading not wanting amount disclosed

--> Centre Midfield - Is it good enough, can youngsters hack it?

Aidy Boothroyd
    GM and BG very similar and in Aidy's view GM the better player
    Wants a dynamic partner in the centre
    Wants a blend of safe and risk
    Over reliance on HH for goals, goals must come from everywhere
    Believes in the young players
    Bangoura will play around 20 matches this season
    Blizzard around 40
    Hopes to still bring in some more players

--> Enough goals in squad considering HH, DW and BD left?

Aidy Boothroyd
    Yes. Marlon King is good. At 26 = senior pro
    AY - has to deliver this year
    AM - exciting player with target of 10 goals
    Junior - will score goals
    New player (in pipleine?) - offers something else

-->Were HH and DW sold on the cheap?

Aidy Boothroyd
    Didn't want HH to go
    Thinks it is a fair price
Graham Simpson
    BId with Fulham started at 0.75 and club were told no more than 1 million
    Worked hard to get 1.3 million
    Wanted 1.5
    re DW - had no choice as explained in email
Mark Ashton
    There is a sell on % with both DW and HH

--> Cullip back?

Aidy Boothroyd
    Right player at that time, but not nec. good value for money

--> What about Goalkeepers?

Aidy Boothroyd
    RL is very good and attracting unofficial interest
    AC is good and will, if he wants, progress into a coaching role

--> Gibbs - why sacked, contracts settled?

Aidy Boothroyd
    I made the call
    Why? Different views on how to play the game
    Didn't feel they were on the same wavelength
    Liked NG and thought he could work it out
    Ironically GT said at a management course you need people 100% with you
    Difficult decision and he stands by it
Graham Simpson
    NG has been very well looked after financially in accordance with his long service
    Not happy with the call, but trusted his manager as 'cos that is basically how things are run
Mark Ashton
    RL - have verbal agreement. With the legal people (who are on holiday)

--> Was AB appointed because cheap option

Graham Simpson [Clearly angered]
    NO! And neither was RL before him
    Believes RL had gone as far as he could
    Did an excellent job in what he did, but ultimately would not have taken us into the Premiership

--> Why no tribute to Nigel?

Mark Ashton
    Ops issue. Football club run as business
    Club enters a finanical negotiation and cannot say anything one way or the other for that reason until matters are settled.
Graham Simpson
    Very disappointed at nature of statement. Advised that he could say nothing more
    Hopes he can do something in the future for: "Great servant for club. Admires him as a player, a coach and a man"
    Admits timing and mistakes made re statement and players. Could of been done better

--> Players paid off?

Graham Simpson [Again angry]
    Can't discuss details
    Rumours of 1 million wildly inaccurate
    % of players wages used as settlement, but ultimately a small amount
    Have to consider savings by not having the players
    Some players left of their own choice

--> Why Bruce Dyer replaced by Junior

Aidy Boothroyd
    BD honest and genuine, but not on an upward curve
    Junior is more creative and is on the up

--> Floating Voters

Aidy Boothroyd
    You have a right
    Judge me in time

--> Net defecit of players - how many didn't want to play for club?

Aidy Boothroyd
    Can't say
    Wants people who play 100% all time
Graham Simpson
    Confident that AB has talked to all new players and they will be up for the Horns

--> Finances

Graham Simpson [Some anger, some understanding]
    I am my own man. Will do what I believe is correct. Not dictated to by others
    Ultimately buck stops with me
    Russos are nice guys
    7.8 million raised to buy back Vic
    Russos backed it largely because of GS
    Loaned the money (unsecured) and want it back, but no in the short term and not with interest
    Russos are not executives
    Russos attend board meetings once a month as does AB as did RL before him
    Need to make money out of the ground
Mark Ashton
    Given a stict brief to make club profitable 365 days a year, not 23
    Can't borrow from bank for players, only ground etc. so ground has to make money for manager

--> When is BIG news????

Graham Simpson
    There will be no relocation away from the Vic
Mark Ashton
    Frustrated that he can't reveal details to fans etc. although inner sanctum of Trust are aware of plans
    Have design set for whole stadium, not just East Stand
    Rebuilding one stand is not viable from a long term business point of view
    Design will generate money
    Very unique funding process
    Can't reveal details until all is in place
    Working with local council/government etc.
    Redevelopment behind West Stand (Shrodells Hospital site) is part of plan
    Hopes to announce soon
    Hopes to have builders on site during this season and will develop 3 side of the ground

--> What are MA qualifications

Mark Ashton
    Football in community officer at WBA
    WBA, by the way, has good practice
    When he left WBA he was Director of Community scheme generating 3 million a year
    Used as a trouble shooter by the board
    Had 3 offers - Prem club, another London club, & WFC. Came to WFC because of GS
    [IMO he is a good leader who recruits people to deliver for him]

BASICS OF GROUND REDESIGN

    Rous stand will become the Main Stand and house everything
    Rest of ground effectively bums on seats
    WFC has one of the lowest spends per head on match day i.e. club offers few extras
    Exec boxes will be redeveloped
    Lower level of Rous -> 400 seat banquetting suite
    Better use on concourse under Rous
    350 seater Sports Bar
    Changes to Rookery to make it more inviting
    East stand = bums on seats
    Corners to be filled in
    Capacity 21-22 000, with potential to add upper tier to Rous stand
    Total cost less than original rebuilding of East Stand
    Possibility of returning Vic Road to Hornets
    Allotment and Hospital site - key part, but can't comment

--> Relations with WO

Graham Simpson
    Good question
    Not as good as it could be
    Both sides need to air views and listen
    Respects the freedom of the press as long as club have right to reply lack of public information from club has not helped
    Club unhappy over EJ ticket fiasco and reaction in press
    GS backed his staff and protected them from the criticism
    Club tried to save money by doing it in house, should really of used outside agency
    WO didn't give club right to reply when it ran its front page article
    GS wanted apology, not sure he got it, but ultimately moved on
    OP quote re RL and HH must be sold. Not true
    Too much spin from WO
    Club is trying to be positive
    Repsects OP and often spent time with him
    Disappointed OP attacks AB without ever having met him
    AB writes his own emails

-->What about the sale of HH?

Graham Simpson
    He demanded more than the club could afford, when Fulham came in club had no option but to let hime talk.

--> Is Aidy happy with squad? Aidy Boothroyd

    Talented players, some not quite ready yet
    Still has targets and hopes to have them before start of season
    Transfers are a nightmare experience for him
    He will be happy with the squad when in the Premiership
    Wants to win and win big
    Will play attacking and expansive game
    Player don't always come for money
    Wants to get loans in and signings now!
    Looking at 3 options

--> Situation concerning Elton's statement at concert?

Graham Simpson
    EJ's statement at concert a bit of a shock Respects his decision
    Money from EJ has to go to ground, as that is what was agreed before and on tickets etc.
    Not spoken to Elton since
    EJ very much onboard
Aidy Boothroyd
    1st meeting at concert & EJ clearly loves WFC
    EJ a terrific person
    Speak regularly
    Wants to know what is going on and is clearly a fan

--> Left back has long been a problem. What's the solution?

Aidy Boothroyd
    Sietes and Stewart are the options. [my guess these two in some form will be our left side pairing]

--> Status of Alec Chamberlain?

Aidy Boothroyd
    Alec is both player and goalkeeping coach
    AB would like him to stay on

--> Same re:Paul Devlin?

Aidy Boothroyd
    Is in long term plans
    Been out for 6 months
    Played for 90 minutes tonight [against Dulwich]
    Needs to get fit

--> Long Term Plans?

Aidy Boothroyd
    I am in it for the long haul
    Wants to take WFC into the Premiership and Europe

--> Database problems

Mark Ashton
    Wants to have a smart card system so club can offer better services by monitoring what we all do
    Database has to be looked at and improved
    WFC has to become more supporter friendly
    JUNIOR HORNETS is coming back. [seemed sad that it had stopped]

--> Jimmy Russo Statement

    Strongly believe in GS and was because of him that they invested
    Support all management
    It has been difficult to make changes
    Want WFC to be a success
    Recent decisions have not been made lightly
    Will invest as and when able
    In it for the long haul and want to build a solid foundation for the future

-->Which players are the motivators now?

Aidy Boothroyd
    GM leads by example
    AC if he says do it it gets done
    Marlon King

--> Luton Fixture

Mark Ashton
    Clubs have already met and it is being looked into
    Probably reduced visiting fans for both matches

--> What is success and failure in 5 years?

Graham Simpson
    Success= in premiershipm, sustainable, ground developed, quality youth academy, self sufficient
    Faliure = NOT self sufficient. Promise not going to fail. Losing money not good
Aidy Boothroyd
    Success = Premiership & challenging
    Failure = if AB not here and club not moved on. Wants some time to achieve
Mark Ashton
    A premier business, stadium amd team

--> Closing Remarks

Graham Simpson
    Fans forums - 5 in next 5 weeks all over the place and not on radio
    Meetings at e.g. Hemel with e.g. the Russos