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Club News

Read | David Wilkinson's boardroom programme notes

9 October 2023

Club News

Read | David Wilkinson's boardroom programme notes

9 October 2023

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Read chairman David Wilkinson's programme notes from the Tottenham game.

 

Good afternoon everyone and a very warm welcome to Kenilworth Road. 

Today, we entertain Tottenham Hotspur for the first time in 31 years. Our first game against Spurs was in 1894 when having drawn an FA Cup tie at their then Cumberland Park Ground we came home to win the replay 4-0. Since then we have met 80 times winning 22, drawing 25 and losing 33, but we haven’t won since beating them twice at home in 1987. 

They have made a great start to the season under their new manager Ange Postecoglou, and we are excited to be pitting our wits against one of the Premier League’s top clubs. For us every game is special and we are so privileged to have this opportunity to compete with the best. 

So far it has been a fascinating journey and for the squad a challenging learning curve. We have seen continuing improvement and one of the best performances for years in the first half here against Wolves. 

Our exciting and well deserved three points in victory at Everton earned us our first win of the season and the monkey off our back after so much negativity from media pundits, a lot of whom hadn’t even seen us play. It’s amazing how well informed you can be by watching edited highlights! 

Our game in hand on Tuesday against Burnley culminated in a disappointing result despite creating a hatful of chances. 

The last few weeks have seen continuing and worsening controversy surrounding VAR and we too have suffered from its vagaries. However, those events seem to be under the radar and more easily forgotten than the higher profile mistakes we have seen recently.  

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Undoubtedly VAR has a place in the modern game and works well with little criticism in other sports, but it seems that there is too much subjectivity without responsibility and a lack of consistency in its use and interpretation in football. Such well reported mistakes will inevitably concentrate the minds of the authorities to try to prevent further such errors, which it goes without saying can be extremely costly to the clubs involved and generate and fuel anger for the injustice and contradiction. 

We are two months into our first season in the Premier League and it is still hard to get our heads round the fact that we are one of 20 members of the biggest and most prestigious football competition in the world. It is a wonderful opportunity, but carries with it a considerable responsibility to earn the respect of our peers and the organisation both on and off the field. As you will all be aware, we are structured, owned and operated in a very different way to most of our competitors and we feel it is vital to protect that way of doing things in the long term. 

Our ownership model is unique – and while it exists, our philosophy is protected, but the magnitude of revenue and costs in this division put additional pressure on the club to maintain its beliefs. We have the long-term future of our club in our hearts and everything we do is to that end. We are not looking to profit from our time in the Premier League, but we are working to add value to the club by building a new stadium and improving the squad. 

It seems a lot of observers are rather dismissive of us as club because we operate on a relatively small budget, but that is the whole point. We spend the club’s income on the club and don’t expect an investment return. Plus we do not borrow or seek investment from those who have no interest in us or our community. 

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On the subject of change, it is crucially important for us to maintain our longstanding relationship with our fans. We regularly meet with the various supporters groups listening to their views and have given the Supporters’ Trust various powers to protect the club’s image rights, and discussions continue about how to further strengthen them.  

We are accessible to all and where possible enjoy mixing with fans, often making a point of hunting them down when away from home. It’s nice that we can spend time at an away pub before a game just as we used to in the Conference and since. 

It is important to us all that we never forget who we are or where we have come from. So please let us know if you think we are. We will always listen, but as you may not have all the facts, we may not always agree. 

“If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.” 

Enjoy the game. 

COYH 

David 

 


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