Chairman’s Update – January 2021

Chairman’s Update January 2021

I wanted to take the opportunity to update you all with what has been happening at the Football Club, as we continue to make the best of period of lockdown. Of course, the Board and its sub-committees are continuing to meet virtually on a regular basis and hence, despite the lack of physical activity taking place at the Club, I have quite a lot to share with you.

Following the suspension of the Southern League in December, and subsequently until at least March, the Club has been asked by the League to vote on a number of proposals this week, as well as being given the opportunity to give additional input about how the season could be finished once matches are able to restart. There were lots of things to consider and Members will have seen a comprehensive update about this on the online Members’ Forum. Ultimately, we are a Football Club and hence our wish is to resume competitive football as soon as it is safe to do so. As we don’t know what restrictions there could be over the next year, bringing the current season to a conclusion would be our suggested aim. Our input was therefore that the League should resume this season as soon as we can in the summer, effectively “rolling over” the 20-21 season into 21-22. This could equally be achieved by starting a brand-new season during the summer as well.

The Board discussed the knock-on effects of a probable cancellation of the season and supporters can be rest assured that any details with regard to season tickets will be announced as soon as a decision on the outcome of the 20-21 campaign has been taken by the FA and the Southern League.

As you may remember, in my November Update I referred to the Board signing off our first Strategic Plan and that we would share it with Members. The background to this is that, back in March 2020, the Board co-opted David Taylor in the role of “Strategy Director” i.e. to lead the development of a formal strategic plan. The thinking behind this was two-fold, firstly that we felt that the Club has always had certain strategic goals (e.g. our planned New Home), but that without a strategy document it was difficult to communicate these goals, for the Membership to discuss and help evolve them and for us to measure our progress against them. Secondly, the Board members at that time were all doing some form of operational role and it was felt that it was important to have someone come in who could take a high-level overview, focusing on “big-picture” thinking.

Then, the pandemic happened and David’s time became entirely devoted to dealing with the impact of this on various aspects of our finances and operations. Actually, as far as COVID-19 is concerned, the timing of David’s joining could not have been better, and we have all been very lucky to have him working on the Club’s behalf in this regard. However, a side-effect of this was that the release of the Strategic Plan has been delayed from our original target of July 2020. Nonetheless, what David has put together is nothing short of superb and will be central to the Club’s development on the next stage of our journey. However, this is only the start of the process and Members will have plenty of opportunity to participate in the ongoing annual review and development of the plan over coming years.

A Strategic Plan Summary document is now available to AFC R&D Members on the Members’ area of the website. The six Strategic Objectives described within are designed to build a robust platform for the long-term success of the Club, both on and off the field. Once you have had a chance to read the summary you will see how everything fits together. Also within the document is a detailed summary of our 2020-2021 Annual Objectives expressed as individual KPIs, including the targets, measurement period and lead Director or Committee. As part of our approach we will report the KPIs each quarter so Membership can see how we are performing on their behalf. This allows for annual reviews and amendments to the succeeding years in light of achievement and external developments. 

Along with my fellow Board Members, I hope you find the Strategic Plan useful and informative. If you have any particular questions, please feel free to raise them. Your feedback will be important to how the plan unfolds. If you would like to renew or join your membership you can do so by clicking here

The Team Building Lottery launched in February last year, currently has 238 members and has raised nearly £10,700 so far after prize money and expenses. With the curtailment of the 2020/21 season, its use to help support the first team playing budget has been far less than expected. The Board are very grateful to those who have supported the Lottery so far, and encourage others to join now as well.  As the fund continues to grow, we will endeavour to make best use of it to support the playing budget when we do re-start next season.  To join online click here or set up membership via a standing order by contacting John Gregory by email to afcrdteambuilding@outlook.com or phoning 07788 102430.

The Club continues to constantly analyse the financial impact of the suspension of football and has been able to access some support from local grants and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. As per the Board’s plan this year, a quarterly in-depth review of the finances took place in November and will subsequently take place in February.

Supporters and Members can also help raise money for the Club at the Co-op, as we have been selected to take part in the Co-op Local Community Fund which operates until October 2021. By becoming a Co-op Member either in-store or via the Co-op app you can contribute 2p for every £1 spent. Full details are available here.

For everyone who has enjoyed the new Rushin and Rantin podcast, there will shortly be a new episode available with special guest Tom Lorraine.

As ever please stay safe and I look forward to seeing you all at Hayden Road when it is safe to do so.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

One Fan, ONE vote, one community, one club