Chief Executive Gary Sweet's Wycombe Boardroom notes
First of all, welcome to the players, fans and board from our neighbours at Wycombe Wanderers. They arrive on a high after an excellent result last week, so today’s game promises to be a real Christmas cracker. We hope to pull the right result, of course!
Well, what can we say about the past week or so? It’s been dramatic, emotional and hectic to say the least. It’s been said often enough now that it has become a cliché – but it certainly is a rollercoaster ride supporting this football club we hold so dear to our hearts.
Having witnessed our Under-18s’ excellent FA Youth Cup win over Notts County, we sadly said goodbye and thank you to John Still last Thursday. Then, on Saturday, under the stewardship of Andy Awford and the coaching staff, the team came home from the long trip to Exeter with three important points thanks to quite possibly the latest winning goal in our history. We’ve seen a few two-goal leads lost this season and at 2-2 many were probably thinking ‘here we go again’. Then Paul Benson popped up in the 100th minute to win it, resulting in fantastic celebrations.
Still on a high from that late joy down in Devon, on Monday we were delighted to unveil our new stadium plans at our preferred location: Power Court. It’s an announcement that’s been long in the planning, and you can read more about it elsewhere in the programme. We know you’ll be as excited as we are!
We are very optimistic that the Council will view our plans positively and include Power Court as the designated venue for our new stadium in the all-important Local Plan, which will be submitted to central government for approval.
This is a very significant step forward in the process of delivering a new home for Luton Town and one we hope will be welcomed and supported by everyone who has the Club, or indeed the town of Luton, in their hearts. But Monday’s announcement is just the tip of the iceberg. We have been working tirelessly to get to this stage – and this is just the start, with many more hurdles to be overcome. What all of us on the Board ask for now is patience and for you to trust us. We will soon be inviting your questions which we will endeavour to answer in full – keep your eyes peeled on our website and social media for more information in the New Year.
As I alluded to at the start of my notes, the past week has seen us part company with a man who helped us on our way back to the Football League. John Still didn’t just bring the Conference title to Kenilworth Road – though that was an enormously important achievement. He helped unite us all again and, in my and many others opinions, brought the pride back into supporting Luton Town. We shared some unbelievable moments in our history together. They will never be forgotten – and for that we thank John unreservedly. He will never be forgotten either.
Everyone on the Board was saddened that our partnership ended earlier than we expected. The decision was one of the most difficult we have had to make since becoming custodians in 2008, and now we find ourselves having to make another important decision going forward.
John built strong foundations throughout the club. Now, as we seek to identify a new manager to take over the reins, we eagerly anticipate an exciting second half of the season. The interview process for John’s replacement is under way and all the people we have spoken to so far have been glowing in their admiration for our club and, in particular, you, the supporters. They know that there is enormous potential here – our next manager will play an important role in taking us to the next level, and that will, we hope, eventually lead us to a new stadium at Power Court.
Today is our final home match of 2015 so I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your unwavering loyalty over this past year. It’s not been easy by any stretch – tougher than we probably envisaged. But as I started with a cliché, I’ll conclude with another: it’s a long season and there are plenty more twists and turns to come!
With your continued backing of the team – and new manager – we have every confidence that the next few months can be successful, starting this afternoon against Wycombe Wanderers.
After a week in which we unveiled plans for a new stadium it will, as ever, be fantastic to see Kenilworth Road packed to the rafters and brimming with noise and colour this afternoon. Remember there will be a time when we will be saying a fond farewell to our famous and much loved home – so enjoy every minute of it and get behind the boys. You’ve got the power to make a difference!
Happy Christmas and here’s to a fantastic 2016.