Over the last couple of months you may be aware that we held discussion forums with supporters before several home games.
The forums were set up as an opportunity for constructive and open discussion between the Board and supporters, so we could hear the good, the bad and the ugly about being a Shots supporter, and seek ideas and suggestions for how we can work together to improve the Club going forward.
Firstly, we would like to say a big thanks to the supporters who attended the sessions for the passionate and constructive discussions, and also the offers of practical support that have been received since. For those of you who did not get the opportunity to attend, we plan to run more of these sessions next season and will let you know how you can get involved over the next few weeks.
The purpose of this message is to update supporters on improvements that are now being planned, as a direct result of the forums, in a number of areas.
During the forums a number of you said that you did not feel that the Club had a clear objective about its football ambitions, and after a difficult couple of years on the pitch it had become difficult to envisage anything beyond survival.
Action: In early April we issued an update explaining that, like supporters, we want to see the Club progress back to the Football League, but must ensure that it’s achieved in a financially sustainable way. There are no magic-wands in football and, as we have all witnessed this year, there have been several teams in the Vanarama Conference building costly squads well beyond the means of the crowds that they attract but still not achieving promotion. On 27 April we announced Barry Smith’s appointment and approach next season with real enthusiasm and a clear aim. We want to be pushing for the Play-Offs, playing entertaining and attacking football, but that will take a lot of skill and hard work from all concerned at the Club. As Barry mentioned in his first interview, we need supporters right behind us to build a great atmosphere where his new-look squad can thrive.
There was a lot of discussion at the forums about how the Club could improve how it communicates with and involves fans to create a real feeling of belonging.
Action: Following the discussions we are currently working on a number of initiatives to improve communication, including:
Fans Forums: Following the success of these initial sessions, we are going to continue to invite supporters to attend small-group forums throughout the season. The feedback from supporters that have attended the sessions so far has generally been that they felt the smaller forums allow for a more honest and open discussion than can be achieved when larger forums have been held in the past. As a result we will now use these sessions as a central part of our plan to improve regular supporter involvement around the club. We will announce more details of how you can get involved over the next few weeks.
Weekly Supporters’ E-mail Bulletin: We are planning to establish an e-mail database of supporters so we can publish a weekly supporters’ newsletter, looking ahead to matches with team news, injury updates, etc. Sign-up in the bottom right corner of this page.
Boardroom Updates: In addition to our regular column in the matchday programme, from the start of next season we will publish a monthly update from the Board covering off-field progress and developments, and feedback on topics discussed at the fans forums. We explained during the recent forums that we need fans to appreciate that it is not always possible to share updates on sensitive information, but our commitment to you is we willkeep you well posted on developments around the club.
You told us clearly that you enjoy half-time activities on the pitch and would like them back!
Action: We are working hard behind the scenes to re-establish some half-time fun for next season… more on this soon!
We know just how much this Club means to supporters, and these are just a few examples of where we are listening to, and acting on, your feedback to try to improve the Club. Working together we can all build a brighter future for The Shots.
Enjoy the summer!