Monday, 5 August 2013

More Forum reaction and Eddie Mitchell's views

It was great to hear a few more views coming from Eddie Mitchell at the BBC Solent Fans' Forum the other night. The main thing was that our chairman and most supporters seem to be enjoying football at the moment. It was also reassuring to hear him say: "While I'm in charge everyone will feel pressure to improve." Success is what everyone craves.

Eddie Mitchell took this further in saying three clubs will go up this season and why can't one of them be AFCB? "I want to be one of those teams, " he said. We certainly do have a good spirit at the club now and as Eddie Mitchell says if we go about thing in a sensible manner, with sensible management and investment we can use these tools to go forward.

He was a little less certain to about what was meant by self-sustaining, but it will be difficult for us to compete against bigger teams when we need to raise our numbers at the gates, which Eddie Mitchell says will not happen overnight. But I was pleased to hear that he thought we would get there in the end and that "entertainment and success" are the main ways to achieve this, although there are lots of pressures. It was also important that he recognises that it is easy to very commit, even if the rewards are better the higher you go.

Mr Mitchell added: "It is foremost in my mind to get the stadium back under our control." Moreover, he expects to achieve this during his tenure as Chairman. But such an objective will not be made to put the club in any jeopardy. Eddie reiterated that we need to get more people in the ground and while the rent was reasonable there was no need to panic as the ground is available to the club on a long term lease.

Turning to opinions of the new Ted MacDougall stand, Eddie said it is semi-permanent and would stay while we are in the Championship and was all but purchased. If the club got promoted again it would have to come down to be replaced by a permanent structure. But for this league "we will suck it and see," he said. When the bigger clubs ask for more seats AFCB may have to release some seats in the new stand, but it is up to home supporters to try and fill it first. Economics will come into it, but the club knows it is a huge advantage to have home supporters behind both goals.

When asked about a plan B, if Maxim Denim ever withdrew his support for the club and wanted his money back, Eddie was vigorous in defending the club's efforts to secure more financial support this summer from local companies looking to invest in AFCB's success. He underlined that everyone of the supporters who spend money in the shop are helping the club and that AFCB must supply entertainment and value in return. Moreover, the club cannot rely on one person or one company to sustain it. "It's my job to bring in more investment to the club," said Eddie. "It's the work ethic that will keep this club going."

Regarding the Chariman's previous comments about going to support the Saints down the road if you didn't like it at AFCB, he admitted that perhaps he could have put things differently but that it maybe made supporters understand his character. "I am such a bad loser," he said. "I know the manager and players feel the same." The comment was "a reflection of the way I work," he said. "In a straight line. I just want the club to be strong."

So there were not to many revelations expect the news that the club does intend to open another exit to the Gloucester Road end of the car park and that it also has plans for a new slipway onto the Wessex Way which would be part-government finance. That is surely good news for those who travel to the home games by car.  

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