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Read | David Wilkinson's boardroom notes from the Nottingham Forest programme

The chairman penned notes from the boardroom for Wednesday's Our Town...

30 October 2020

Chairman David Wilkinson penned the notes from the boardroom for Wednesday's matchday programme, which you can read below.

 
FROM THE BOARDROOM - DAVID WILKINSON
 
Good evening everyone. Tonight we welcome the players and officials from Nottingham Forest.
 
We have, of course, a rich history of competition with Forest particularly in various cups, and our results are quite similar. We’ve played each other 59 times in the League winning 21 and drawing 14.  
 
We all wish that we could be enjoying your support inside Kenilworth Road, but the seemingly nonsensical approach to populating events continues.
 
It makes no sense for a thousand people or more to be able to watch an evening with Arsene Wenger at the London Palladium or a live game in a cinema when a properly controlled outside space is off limits? It seems it is quite safe to go to the opera, but not a sparsely attended safely distanced outdoor football match.
 
We might not mind so much if there were sensible explanations and reasons given, but it’s a bit “don’t do as I do, do as I say” like. There is nothing new for big-wigs from their lofty perches missing out on what goes on in the real world, but rarely can their lack of personal experience have done so much damage to communities and local economies.
 
Perhaps sadly, there is so much money in football at the top level that it must be tempting to try and force those top clubs to support the pyramid, but turkeys wouldn’t vote for Christmas and so far all that is being filtered down are loans and advances, which just push the problem further into the future.
 
Rather than trying to work together to recreate a level playing field there is talk of breakaway leagues if the rich clubs are not made richer.
 
Some will accuse us of being old fashioned, but, for me, the excitement of the competition at all levels is reaching for the stars. Football is cyclical and success comes and goes, but isn’t that what makes it great and isn’t our pyramid fueled by that. When I started supporting this great club Liverpool were in 2nd Division (championship) Watford and Bournemouth were in the 4th division (L2). Every club in the Premier League except Arsenal and Everton have spent time in lower leagues and look where Bolton, Ipswich and Sunderland are now.
 
Hope and loyalty drive supporters of all Clubs and if it’s removed, what’s left? No promotion, no relegation, franchise football.
 
The FA Cup is not what it was either, mainly because the top clubs can’t fit it into their timetables because of European games so midweek games, no replays, Wembley semi-finals and the final on Saturday early evening, with no particular build-up and no more the climax to the season.
 
Of course there has to be change, but the people and communities that support the game seem to be left out of the decision making process, and that must eventually alienate the supporters who are the lifeblood of the game.
 
An old hero of ours used to tell us to control the controllables, but we have none here. We can, however, make our feelings known and apply pressure for change.
 
On the field we witnessed a great performance at Sheffield Wednesday although we thought the victory should have been a bit more comprehensive had we taken some of the brilliantly created chances. It was great to see three new boys on the pitch and welcome Tom, Joe and Kiernan.
 
Monday evening saw the U16s play Exeter in the Southern Area Cup final, which sadly resulted in a 1-0 defeat, but in a tremendous game of football most of us felt we deserved a relatively easy victory. However, bars, posts and inspired goalkeeping kept us out.
 
Last night the evolving development squad played Hemel Hempstead and ran out winners by three goals to two in a good competitive and physical game.
 
Finally, we see that the debate about controlling gambling is back in Parliament. We maintain our stance in objecting to sponsorship, particularly that of front of shirt. This is a matter of principle for us and we believe strongly that children should not be encouraged to gamble.
 
It is a very short step from gaming to gambling both being highly addictive to some personalities. It is this addiction that we believe leads to other addictions and potential financial problems.
 
The amount of money available for sponsorship demonstrates the growing wealth of gambling companies, which must by definition come from their increased profits and their clients increased losses.
 
“When you can stop you don’t want to and when you want to you can’t” - Luke Davies
 
We can’t finish without praising all those in implementing the Marcus Rashford kids school meals for half-term initiative. Well done Nas and Cristhiano, and everyone who contributed financially and with their time.
                   
Enjoy the game.  
 
COME ON You Hatters!
 
David
 
 

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