From The Boardroom: Eastleigh programme notes

For anybody who did not see Chairman Shahid Azeem’s programme notes from Saturday’s FA Trophy tie against Eastleigh, we are pleased to post them below:

On behalf of Aldershot Town FC, I would like to welcome the officials, players and supporters of Eastleigh for this FA Trophy tie. We wish you all the best in the FA Cup against Bolton Wanderers, and trust you have a safe and short trip back home after the match.

This week has been an exciting one for the Club, and next week promises to be the same. We were delighted to announce the extension of our deal with Chelsea, which means that their Academy sides will now play at the EBB Stadium until the summer of 2017. It’s a privilege to see their young players develop into fully-fledged stars before our very eyes.

We have also launched the first of several new initiatives designed to attract a new generation of supporters to the Club, with our Chairman for the Day competition which invites young fans to enjoy a VIP day with myself and my fellow Directors. The quality of entries already suggest that they will keep me on my toes!

Next Wednesday night we hold our Shareholders’ Annual General Meeting, where we will again be able to illustrate to our members the progress that we are making in building a sustainable and solvent football club. This remains a big task for us, to ensure that we make plans for the long-term prosperity of the Club. We are fully committed to this vision but we all should be under no illusion how tough it is and vulnerable we are, but together we can move forward.

We as a board and the management are hurt and disappointed just like every supporter with recent defeats. We recognise that this current run of results is not good but on and off the pitch we are looking at a long-term project to create a successful Club. Our sponsors have also demonstrated how they are fully behind us by recently renewing multi-year deals, and we pride ourselves in working only with companies and organisations who share our community-based ethos.

This community work is an essential part of their agreements with us, and goes beyond mere financial value. However, there is no doubt that it is integral to their contracts with us and we will continue to pursue these projects with passion. The 90 minutes on a Saturday when we all come together are our livelihood, but a football club needs to be about more than just what happens on the pitch and has a huge social responsibility.

Of course, we all want to watch a winning team, and are doing all we can to help Barry. We hope to see developments during the January transfer window which will hopefully allow the team to kick on in the second half of the season, but we cannot risk the very future of Aldershot Town, and will ensure that we always operate within our means.

We, the Board, need to lead the Club through difficult periods, but we also need you, our fabulous supporters, to stick with us. Our relationship with the Shots Trust is constantly improving, and we urge everybody to unite behind the team.

In tough times we need your support more than ever, and hope to see as many of you as possible attend our next two home games, against Guiseley AFC and Woking. By sticking together we can galvanise the Club, and achieve the one thing that we all want: seeing The Shots climb the table.

Shahid Azeem, Chairman