The last few months have been a very challenging time, but it’s also been strangely rewarding - giving something you don’t often get in football; breathing space and time to plan.
So, I wanted to give you a brief overview of what’s been happening at the club and plans for the near future. I’ve tried to address the most common questions we’ve been asked, as well as highlight some exciting developments.
Firstly, I’m pleased to say that we have not only retained the same number of off-field staff, but we’ve added new starters. We placed all staff, bar a select few, on furlough in March and ensured they were paid 100% of their salaries - this included Matchday staff. Our core staff are slowly starting to return on a part time basis, getting everything ready for next season, ensuring we are prepared for all eventualities. They’re working within a new organisational structure which we see as being the best setup to both stabilise the business in the short term, but important to support our growth over the midterm.
The majority of new starters will join our revamped media setup, becoming the Content Team, allowing us to produce and deliver more digital stories for you throughout each season. The quality of this work will also go up a few notches so it rivals the very best in football.
Alongside this, we are rebuilding the website, fans forum and, perhaps most excitingly, an FGR App which will be a real game changer for supporters - all the important things in one easy-to-navigate place.
On the subject of season tickets, we’d like to thank those who have decided to leave their money in the club. Today we got the exciting confirmation that the 20/21 season will start on 12th September, but whilst many other clubs have started selling tickets for next season, we won’t be doing this until we know actual detail on when crowds will be allowed in, streaming options and all the other important parts - we’ll know this in August. But rest assured, current season ticket holders will have a window to re-book their seat before it goes on general sale, as always.
You’ll have seen the exciting signings over the past few weeks, including the capture of our top summer targets. It was important that the club got deals done early to allow them to be available for pre-season training, which starts on 3rd August 2020. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we will stage any pre-season friendlies for fans.
Once the players are back in the swing of things, we’ll be releasing video interviews with the new signings, as well as insight from Head Coach Mark Cooper and Director of Football Richard Hughes.
In these video interviews, as well as pure footballing matters, I’m sure you’ll receive more info on the The New Lawn pitch, which has undergone important renovations to bring it up to the standard expected for next season and beyond.
All in all, on the football side, we are where we need to be and pleased with the work we’ve been able to do over the summer despite the uncertainty that remains in terms of season start dates.
Commercially, we continue to grow. You’ll see announcements for a number of exciting partnerships and collaborations, including the recently announced three-year deal with Candriam, between now and September. Keep an eye out for these, they’re worth waiting for.
Talking of ‘worth waiting for’, we’ll be launching our brand new away kit on 31st July 2020. We’re excited to show this to our fans around the world, and we think you’ll love it.
Another important piece of work currently underway involves making the club cashless. This makes sense on so many levels, and we aim to have this in place very soon - we will circulate details in advance to allow fans to make necessary adjustments.
So there you have it, just a snippet of all that has been going on in recent months. There is no doubt this season will be a challenge, as it will be for all clubs throughout the EFL, but we’re confident that we’ll emerge stronger at the other side of all this.
See you all back at The New Lawn soon, we hope.