Good evening everyone and welcome to the World of Smile Stadium. As well as all of you Robins fans here tonight, I would like to extend a special welcome to all our visitors from Macclesfield who have made the journey today. I hope you enjoy your stay – apart from the 90 minutes of football – and have a safe journey home.
Writing these notes tonight provides a great opportunity to look back on the last five months since I was honoured to be chosen as the first Fan Elected Director. I am often asked if I am enjoying life on the board, and I always answer with a big ‘yes’.
However, I must admit that the first board meeting I attended, two days after the club had been relegated, where we spent the day going through the budget for this season was probably the toughest day I have had while involved with either the Trust or Cheltenham Town.
It has been well-documented that some very tough decisions had to be made that day but the way the staff and fans have supported these decisions has been fantastic.
But enough of any negativity, because the change in feeling around the club now compared to April is remarkable. The atmosphere now is one of togetherness, enthusiasm, fun and everyone has smiles back on their faces.
Like many Cheltenham fans I managed to combine the recent away trip to Torquay with a few days by the seaside. From early on the Saturday morning, the atmosphere in Torquay was fantastic. It was the football I used to remember, with everyone enjoying themselves having fun and every fan optimistic ahead of game.
The team did not let us down.
We often hear teams talk about the spirit in the dressing room and rightly so, but I absolutely believe that in successful teams that spirit does not stop beyond those four walls.
It spreads across the club with the fans, players, board, staff all feeling involved.
This was something that was raised a number of times at the focus group that the Robins Trust and Club held in May of this year. You will see later elsewhere in this program, some great photos of the meal with the first team held last week at the training ground.
I am sure everyone who attended the evening went home having enjoyed the night and feeling part of their club. I am confident that with the players and manager we have in place, this spirit and togetherness is growing and will lead to success on and off the pitch throughout the season.
I often get a lot of credit for the work the Robins Trust do or for events that are arranged, such as last week’s meal or the open day we held in July. The truth is none of this could be achieved without the hard work of a large number of volunteers that help both the Club and the Trust.
Outside of football I regularly take part in triathlons or running races – yes I know the joke that it doesn’t show! At all of these events we are asked to thank the marshals as you pass them out on the course, because they are volunteers who have given up their time to help.
Let’s try and spread this mentality at the ground.
I can’t name all of our volunteers, but all of our turnstile operators, programme sellers and raffle ticket sellers are volunteers so let’s try and thank them when we pass.
Finally, I want to leave you with a challenge.
I have written about the feeling of positivity at the club, so let’s all do our bit to spread this message to the wider population.
Let’s all tell our friends about the great football on display and bring them to a game, also spread the word at work and talk about match sponsorship.
If you’re having a party then consider the Football Club bar or use Seasons for your wedding reception.
Last but not least, thank you all for your terrific support – and let’s keep that feeling of positivity growing.