General manager

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Re: General manager

Post by OliverH on Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:59 am

Let's go back to the business plan and the conditions of the prospectus. It's here if you want to read it: http://www.bigbathcitybid.org.uk/prospectus.html

All of the £355K the community share offer raised will be used to pay off debt, but £300K of interest-free financing has been made available to take us through to the redevelopment (which is intended to clear all debts). So unlike in the past when we had to rely on ad hoc, month-to-month directors' loans, the incoming board has a more stable picture of exactly what losses can be sustained over the medium term.

As for the "elephant in the room", the business plan apparently accepts that the losses will continue at the current pace up until the redevelopment, with additional costs added in because of both the GM wage and the cost of sales of greater social club use (i.e. more wages for bar staff etc). In fact, the business plan sets out a 10% per annum increase in the playing budget over four years.

So it would seem that the assumption is that we will continue to artificially buy guaranteed NLS status over the next four years, in the hope and expectation that our NLS status will be self-funding post-redevelopment through the efforts of the GM and volunteers. (This is certainly my impression from having worked within the Bid - at no point have I heard anyone mooting the possibility of a tactical retreat to the Southern League).

The crunch point will come when the redevelopment is done and the £300K interest free loan has been repaid. We are then on our own. At that point, the directors (6 of whom will be directly elected by the members by that point) may face difficult decisions around budgeting.

Which is why it's great that we are having these discussions now.
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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:03 pm

I was going to mention that it is great we are having these discussions now, not only with greater accountability of the incoming Board members but also with greater possibilities of involvement by everyone from elections to the board in 2 years' time, elections to the Supporters' Society Committee in the interim and also opportunities to be involved in working groups.
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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:31 pm

Don't ask but due to being off on holiday, anally retentive and Christmas shopping displacement, I have worked out the total and average attendances over the last decade or so.

Season              League    Final position total attendance average attendance League % change
2003-2004         Southern       16th         14940                    711   -5.0%                                        
2004-2005         Southern        6th          11968                    571 -19.8%
2005-2006         Southern        2nd          14975                   713 +24.9%
2006-2007         Southern        1st           17198                   819 +14.9%
2007-2008         Conference S. 8th          16420                    782 -4.5%      
2008-2009         Conference S. 8th          12995                    619 -21.1%
2009-2010         Conference S. 4th          13294                    633 +2.3%
2010-2011         Conference P. 10th         24621                  1070 +69.1%
2011-2012         Conference P. 23rd         18970                    825 -23.0%
2012-2013         Conference S. 11th         12260                    584 -29.2%
2013-2014         Conference S. 7th           12584                    599 +2.64%
2014-2015         Conference S. 14th           9818                    491 -18.0%
2015-2016         Conference S. 14th         13224                    630 +28.3%

Aside from somewhat disproving my assertion that relegation to the Southern kills attendances - although more of this in a minute - this table does show quite how capricious attendances are. The only thing that really guarantees greater attendances is promotion to the Conference National. Needless to say, £35k is not going to guarantee that. Aside from that, attendances seem to increase and decrease with little logic.

However, as with most statistics, if you look a little bit deeper and there is more to understand. The higher attendances in the Southern, Conference South and the Conference National appear to be in fixtures with 'big' teams with large travelling support - Wimbledon, Wrexham, Luton etc - or localish teams that bring more - Chippenham Town, Newport County. Even in the Conference National, your Tamworths and Histons only added 100ish onto a Conference South attendance.

So, in summary, this table shows that, outside the National league (and only then in certain matches), there is no great rhyme nor reason to attendances - not league position, style of play or anything. Certainly nothing on the pitch that can be relied upon to bring a sustained matchday revenue or anything that can be guaranteed with the £35K going into the playing side (although I am sure that Gary wouldn't say no and would be able to bring in some players).

Basically, on the playing side, we would do well to hope that Chippenham Town come up and Torquay come down. Actually, upon looking at the attendances and what events surround the trends, the other possibility is bringing back Scott Partridge whose time seems to coincide with higher attendances.


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After all

Post by pete mac on Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:41 pm

After all, of course, there was only one Scotty Partidge.........

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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:42 pm

To be honest, I think we should pay Partridge £35k to come out of retirement.
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Re: General manager

Post by SteveBradley on Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:23 pm

Marc Monitor wrote: The only thing that really guarantees greater attendances is promotion to the Conference National. Needless to say, £35k is not going to guarantee that. Aside from that, attendances seem to increase and decrease with little logic.

This is on the nail.

If we're honest, even the greatly increased Conference Premier/National attendances were largely due to away fans. 1,000 Luton fans on a cold Saturday in January, and 900 Wimbledon fans on a dark Tuesday night - both of which on their own would've added roughly 76 to the average home attendance across the 2010/11 season.

There are essentially no clubs in Non-League football who would in-themselves prove to be a big crowd-puller to Twerton Park. Bath people wouldn't flock to watch Boreham Wood or Solihull play us. Sadly - with the probable exception of Tranmere, there aren't any clubs a level up who could be relied on to bring big numbers to Bath for a game either. Most of the well-supported clubs who used to languish there have managed to get back into the Football League. Maybe if FC United get promoted they might bring a crowd of a few hundred if we ever faced them, but that's pretty much it I think.

In short - spending on the team doesn't deliver guaranteed success on the pitch. And guaranteed success on the pitch does little to improve our attendances and gross income as a club anyway. Meanwhile, getting more people to use the club's facilities etc is a much more likely bet to increasing our gross revenue. So for me, that answers where our priorities should lie.

Finally - I personally don't think we'd need to drop a level as a club, or even risk doing so. I think we have a large enough core support to sustain us in the Conference South even if we eased up a little on the playing budget in the short-term. As for Chippenham getting promoted - whilst it would help us shot term by adding 100-200 onto a single gate once a season, longer term I would view West Wilts as being territory that Bath City should be looking to expand its reach and fan-base into. So I personally wouldn't want Chippenham to become too successful in light of that.


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Re: General manager

Post by Palms on Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:20 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:Don't ask but due to being off on holiday, anally retentive and Christmas shopping displacement, I have worked out the total and average attendances over the last decade or so.

Shocked A bit late now, but if you scroll a bit further down those Archive pages on the website mate... pale
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Re: General manager

Post by James C on Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:21 pm

Personally i wouldn't mind Chippenham going up if it meant a couple of tasty derbies every season and something to look forward to when the fixtures are announced.

The loss of regular games against traditional local rivals like Gloucester, Newport, Merthyr, Dorchester, Weymouth, Ye*vile etc have probably had an impact on home attendances too.

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Re: General manager

Post by Peter Newman on Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:25 pm

Think the figures do show one thing and that is a winning side boosts attendances. The first year 2003/4 was the old Southern League ( pre Conf South) so perhaps not directly comparable. The next 3 seasons show that gates improved as the team became more successful.

The average last season was higher than the previous one and probably reflects the boost from a winning side at the season start and extra interest generated in a relegation battle at the end.

I don't think anyone is suggesting we throw money to achieve the holy grail of Conf Nat.  It has been, simply, the expression of an opinion that the investment being made  in the GM might have been used alternatively on boosting the playing budget so the side might be in with a greater chance of the play-offs each season.  The consequence would be (hopefully) increases in gate income etc,  greater awareness of the Club  and lead to, possibly,  a greater return on capital.

There is also  concern that simply bumping along mid-table in this league, against an increasing number of  teams from meaningless locations in Essex, will bite into our core support and make the job of those trying to increase attendances and generate other income  even more difficult.  Perhaps a couple of seasons where we are around  the top of the Southern League  might prove beneficial in the longer term but  not a route I would favour.

As an aside I do see some irony in the fact that Marc, who is avidly supporting the GM in ensuring greater utilisation of the rooms and bars etc, finds that there is already a booking for the date he wants. I assume he wants a weekend date as do many hirers.  I think the GM will have a real challenge to fill the place at other times but just hope I am wrong.

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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:57 pm

Peter Newman wrote:Think the figures do show one thing and that is a winning side boosts attendances.

They show quite the opposite unless you can do a like for like comparison over the course of seasons to show attendances as we go on a winning run. I have to say that, having looked at all the seasons' fixtures, it only really seems to make a difference when we are getting to the last couple of home matches when it looks like we have a chance of making the play-offs or promotion places. Even then they are usually about 100-200 on the gate.

The first year 2003/4 was the old Southern League ( pre Conf South) so perhaps not directly comparable. The next 3 seasons show that gates improved as the team became more successful.

Those seasons are good but possibly have as much to do with Chippenham Town, Newport County and AFC Wimbledon being in our division at the time.  

The average last season was higher than the previous one and probably reflects the boost from a winning side at the season start and extra interest generated in a relegation battle at the end.

That is quite a stretch. I suggest it perhaps has more to do with the publicity from the Trophy run. Whatever, even if you take the Southern League seasons you have mentioned or the higher average last season show that there are many different factors that can affect attendances and it is very very difficult to predict them. The seasons in the Conference South particularly are crazy with no rhyme nor reason.

I don't think anyone is suggesting we throw money to achieve the holy grail of Conf Nat.  It has been, simply, the expression of an opinion that the investment being made  in the GM might have been used alternatively on boosting the playing budget so the side might be in with a greater chance of the play-offs each season.  The consequence would be (hopefully) increases in gate income etc,  greater awareness of the Club  and lead to, possibly,  a greater return on capital.

£35k wouldn't make much of a dent and certainly wouldn't guarantee even a play-off place which, as has been seen, doesn't make much of an impact on attendances - at least until we actually get there or are nearing the end of the season. Of course, should we get promoted via them, it is a different picture but, as I say, £35k is not going to guarantee that.

There is also  concern that simply bumping along mid-table in this league, against an increasing number of  teams from meaningless locations in Essex, will bite into our core support and make the job of those trying to increase attendances and generate other income  even more difficult.  Perhaps a couple of seasons where we are around  the top of the Southern League  might prove beneficial in the longer term but  not a route I would favour.

As to your former sentence, the other point coming from the attendances I posted are that our core support does not below 500 whatever happens. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be complacent and we should be building our core support of course but it doesn't seem like league position does much either way. Profile raising, improved marketing and publicity and community links are more likely to improve our core support. A generation in a higher division might as well but, I am afraid, the way football is going, anything under the Premier League (and even then...) is going to find it harder and harder to make money just through attendances.

As an aside I do see some irony in the fact that Marc, who is avidly supporting the GM in ensuring greater utilisation of the rooms and bars etc, finds that there is already a booking for the date he wants. I assume he wants a weekend date as do many hirers.  I think the GM will have a real challenge to fill the place at other times but just hope I am wrong.

I wanted a date on the Saturday 10th or Saturday 17th December and left it quite late but, yes, those sorts of dates book themselves to a certain extent but the other dates - even Saturday nights -  are exactly what the General Manager (or those he manages, at least) is going to be for. Like I say, I would have also thought there was room for a GM to make the operations run more efficiently thereby saving money to a certain extent as well.


Last edited by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:01 pm

Palms wrote:
Marc Monitor wrote:Don't ask but due to being off on holiday, anally retentive and Christmas shopping displacement, I have worked out the total and average attendances over the last decade or so.

Shocked A bit late now, but if you scroll a bit further down those Archive pages on the website mate... pale

Why I oughta.... Mad

I will now edit the post to show the more accurate attendances and the changes.
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Re: General manager

Post by stillmanjunior on Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:16 pm

2014/15 was also affected by numerous meaningless midweek home matches at the back-end of the season as we lost a lot of games during the FA Trophy run.

I think once we were eliminated, it became difficult for interest to continue. I basically had to drag myself to some of the games, felt exhausted from the succession of programmes compiled etc.
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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:31 pm

I think you are right there. I haven't looked at trophy/cup games mainly as they are even more unpredictable to estimate attendances for. It would be interesting to see what overall effect cup runs or lack of them have on the league but I am not getting into that.
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Re: General manager

Post by Major Icewater on Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:53 pm

As far as I am aware the new Wimbledon were never in the Southern League. I believe Newport went straight into the new Conf South so we never played them in our last 3 seasons in the Southern League. In fact the loss of that fixture could have had a negative effect.
Chippenham were in the Southern every year so their gate would have been a constant in each season.

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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:37 pm

We played Newport in the Dr Marten's Premier. You are right about Wimbledon though. I was doing it off the top of my head as I couldn't bring myself to trawl through the archives again.
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Re: General manager

Post by Twerton Parker on Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:30 pm

Regarding attendances, looking around at those present when I'm there (albeit for only a pathetic five or six times a season) it strikes me that there are more of us there on the wrong side of 50 than under it.  Although there are no statistics to back this up I'm fairly confident that whilst most of us 50+ folk use the internet in one way or the other I bet very few make use of the infamous 'social media' that comes with it.  It's been the best part of ten years since the Bath Chronicle switched from daily editions to weekly only but I bet that has had a significant impact on the club's attendances.  The demands of a daily publication meant that fresh material was always needed and that demand gave the club an opportunity to keep its presence in front of the paper's readers.  Without it, it seems the opportunity declined and with it the club has become more of a publicity backwater as it has sought to compete with everything else that is on offer and backed by significantly greater resources.

As much as anything, one of the challenges the club faces (whether this is something the new GM has in his job spec or not) is engaging with younger fans by persuading them that there is more to football life than being sat on a sofa 'supporting' a team from that outrageous monstrosity that is the Premier League.  That's probably a job in itself ..............

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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:49 pm

We have already started with the Students' match which will, hopefully, be an annual feature where we can build on what we did this year.

Another demographic (sorry) is people who have moved to Bath with their kids who support other teams but - for logistical or family reasons - can't make it to see their first team so we need to entice them to Twerton PArk and its cheaper admission, family friendly atmosphere and more traditional surroundings. While the parents are welcome, it gives a chance for their kids to experience live local football and, hopefully, build up a habit of coming to Twerton Park that will last long-term. What would be good (but is difficult to pinpoint how) would be to encourage more of these types to come along. Answers on a postcard to the 1000BC team.

There has been a certain amount of success there by accident really. I stand with a lot of 'exiles' of other clubs who come and see City. Indeed, I don't want to make out that we only want the ones with kids either. We can't expect everyone to want to convert to City but it would be great for many of them to adopt us as their second team.

Good point about the Chronic but, to be fair, they were great with publicity about the Bid and are usually happy to put something in if there is a new angle on it for them - especially in a quiet week.
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Re: General manager

Post by Mothra on Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:00 am

I think this is a great point. Speaking from experience it seems that a lot of the people/families who move to Bath that don't necessarily work in Bath. A number commute to either Bristol/Swindon or further, many of whom will use the train. I wonder how much it might cost to get some presence at the station in the form of posters, murals etc. There is certainly a market there with vast numbers passing through those turnstiles everyday....

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Re: General manager

Post by Twerton Parker on Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:13 pm

As with all things like this there are several parts in the equation that need to be right and ideas such as getting publicity at key points like the railway station can only work if there is indeed something worth shouting about when the publicity has convinced new people to come along to the club.

When 'new' people turn up at the ground the bottom line is that they have to see something that makes them want to return. Nothing breeds success like success, as witnessed by the proportionally vast crowd of around 1800 we had a couple of years ago for the North Ferriby FA Trophy semi-final and people will turn out for something they believe to be worth watching. We might 'only' be a Conference South side at the moment but if we can become known (with 'known' being the key word here) as a successful and entertaining side, even at this level, the momentum this brings will surely make the proposed General Manager's job easier and help the club progress as a business.

(And before anyone suggests otherwise, none of the above is directed at the current team or its management - the entertainment thing is all about what I think the club's footballing 'mission statement' should be!)

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Re: General manager

Post by Colin Voutt on Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:08 pm

[quote="Twerton Parker"]When 'new' people turn up at the ground the bottom line is that they have to see something that makes them want to return.  Nothing breeds success like success, as witnessed by the proportionally vast crowd of around 1800 we had a couple of years ago for the North Ferriby FA Trophy semi-final and people will turn out for something they believe to be worth watching.  We might 'only' be a Conference South side at the moment but if we can become known (with 'known' being the key word here) as a successful and entertaining side, even at this level, the momentum this brings will surely make the proposed General Manager's job easier and help the club progress as a business./quote]

The match day experience becomes very important. We may never always perform on the pitch.

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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:15 pm

I disagree with Twerton PArker and this is a point that has come up often on this forum before. If people only turned up to see successful football, you would see nobody at Twerton Park, most non-league grounds, most grounds outside the EPL and, indeed, a lot of them inside. You would only see people at Man United, Chelsea, Man City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern etc. Of course, many armchair-bound watchers have traditionally flocked to those sorts of teams and increasingly so in these SKY TV times. However, attendances at and interest in non-league football in recent years and, as has been seen at Dulwich Hamlet, this isn't just because the team is successful, indeed, it is often despite a lack of success.

There are many factors - that are nothing to do with football on the field - that are already present at Twerton Park and just need people to experience - close proximity, pay on the gate, lower prices, sit or stand where you like, normal prices at the bar and food outlets (apart from the chips), no segregation, family-friendly welcoming non-threatening atmosphere, light touch stewarding and policing. There are other factors coming on - a greater possibility of a say in the club through community ownership, greater chances of volunteering etc.

There is a truism that, perhaps, those who have followed City exclusively and long-term don't realise. If football was just about the 90 minutes on the field, no-one would often turn up as it is surely the only social pastime where, at all levels, disappointment in the product is more often the result than not. I speak as someone who has followed Wales away in Europe for decades. I once saw us lose 7-1 in Holland with Vinnie Jones as captain and still had a great weekend and came back for more. It's the disappointments that make, for instance, this summer's Euros so fantastic for me.

Football is as much about the social aspect of going with your mates, the beers before (after and during), letting off steam having a moan about the team, being part of a community, having something to chat about afterwards. I have taken many people to a game and been appalled as City have turned in a dreadful performance only for them to say that they really want to come back. I have a mate who is a Leicester City supporter who came last season and really enjoyed being there. This is probably as much because, as a Leicester City supporter, he knows what watching football is about. At the Concord Rangers game, I talked to a load of students about the upcoming students game. They were really enjoying the game even though, at that stage, we were 2-1 down and it hadn't been a great game. Of course, the late winner added to their enjoyment but that wasn't what it was about for them. Some of those lads and, I think, a lot of younger football followers (perhaps even older) haven't had the atmosphere of 'proper' football like that before.

People didn't turn out in droves as much for the FA trophy because they thought that they were going to see great football. When you think about it, they probably didn't even turn up for the event. At the end of the day, it was only an FA Trophy semi-final. Many probably never even knew that there was a FA trophy beforehand, certainly not the kids that turned up. What happened was that the FA Trophy run caught the imagination of the local media leading to a great deal of publicity. It was a one-off easy sell which is great for hooking people in but you can't legislate for such one-off event. How many times have we seen crowds swollen at grounds for cup action and possible giant-killings never to be be repeated.

I think that a lot at Twerton Park is absolutely fine on matchday, on and off the pitch, but there is a lot we can do to make it easier for people to enjoy that experience and to improve the experience - finding out about fixtures, being able to buy tickets and merchandise with cards, buying a beer at half-time, even finding Twerton Park. As I say, what then happens on the pitch is often a lesser consideration. People choose to watch a football club for all sorts of reasons - family loyalties, local loyalties, ease of access, peers, etc. Yes, a lot go for success above everything else but we really aren't scrapping over the same demographic as Man Utd, City, Chelsea etc. Having said that, I think the tide is turning against that level of football and I know of a fair few supporters of bigger clubs that come and see City regularly.

At the end of the day, football is a ludicrous business, unlike any others, where it is difficult to ascertain why the customers come. As I say, no other sector would you get people coming to see a 'product' that is ultimately, in terms of results, disappointing. You don't get any other sector where loyalty to the 'branding' - the kit and badge - and location is more important than to the 'product'. Supporters are often more bothered about the 'idea' of the club, the symbolism of the kit and the badge, the stadium than they are to the players or the football that is being played (sensible considering how transitory both often are). No other business would have customers left if it made people stand out in the wet and cold, queue for ages to get food or drink (again often in the cold and wet), make them stand for 90 minutes and then spend that 90 minutes being frustrated and disappointed more often than not. Put it this way, I can book tickets with my credit card on a website to go and see "Rogue One" , sit in a warm comfortable cinema, eating - admittedly overpriced - food and drink throughout the film without having to queue and know that I am 90% sure that I am not going to be disappointed at the end of 90 minutes. However, outside of Star Wars related films, I would rather go to Twerton Park than the cinema any day of the week and there are many more people like that.

Football supporters are the most important part of football, should never be taken advantage of, underestimated nor treated as sheep who will accept anything. However, we all do accept quite a lot from football and bad unsuccessful football is the smallest cross that we will bear. As it goes, I have always thought that we play a fairly attractive form of football.
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Re: General manager

Post by pete mac on Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:34 pm

Agree with all that Marc especially the misery bit. So many games are poor but I love the community of people at the games - not many places in our modern society where 'community' - people coming together - exists.

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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:00 pm

Indeed. For good or ill, people don't go to the local community centres of the pub, church, shop, post office, even school (to a certain extent) anymore. Football, as you suggest, is a chance for the local community to meet up. An element of Twerton Park that I enjoy echoes the same as when I used to go to Ninian Park in that I rarely had to organise to meet people - I see them in the pub, on the way to the match, in the ground. I always have a wander from the Mo-B-Q to pay homage to Roy D Hacksaw and the amount of people to say hello to is amazing.

I think there is a lot to be said about that sort of community spirit and cohesion about lower and non-league football in particular and, as we become more enmeshed with the community and vice versa, this will hopefully only increase and add to the attraction of the club.

Let's face it, it is never going to be about the toilets (even with the genius viewing windows).
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Re: General manager

Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:02 pm

pete mac wrote:Agree with all that Marc especially the misery bit.

Maybe that's where "misery loves company" comes from. Perhaps, we should make it more miserable and we will get more company! Wink Hmmm, perhaps, I am not the marketing speaking guy.
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Re: General manager

Post by Twerton Parker on Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:28 pm

Some perfectly valid points there since my previous post, chaps, but I'm not sure that people currently without an interest in the club will see things as you do. Don't forget people are constantly being told to "believe in better" and this "better" is to be found in the comfort of their living rooms.

What I'm saying is that anyone who is new to the club is going to respond initially to what is presented to them on the day of their first visit. You are right in saying that there is much in the matchday experience for people to enjoy and buy into but I put it to you that if the thing they've primarily come to see (i.e. the match) fails to connect with them then I think it unlikely they'll want to return. It really doesn't matter how good the feel of a properly run non-league club with its sense of community can be if people only come the once. Surely they'll need to come to a few games to start getting a feel for it and this is why I think putting on an entertaining game is so vital for getting first timers back for more.

Twerton Parker

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Join date : 2014-02-25

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Re: General manager

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