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Andyh @AndyhHolt
, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
So, at a recent #amazingaccrington gathering @ASFCofficial of local businesses I was asked to speak for a few minutes about anything. I chose to try to answer the 2 questions I get asked most regularly.
1. Why did you take over the club?
2. Are you glad, would you do it again?
How I got involved and the running out of beer has been told many times.
Why I got involved is easy, during the month of investigatory due diligence it was clear the club was bust and the heroic folk that were barely keeping the life support machine running had run out of ammo.
But whilst the financial disaster was unfolding I got to meet the guys running the club, the directors that had spilt blood for the club, the managers that never got expenses and the team that wasn’t getting paid. I got to meet the academy guys who look after over 120 kids..
I got to meet the community trust that was doing wonders in the borough from infants to pensioners. These were real plusses. On the negative side everyone that had a bad experience at the club, not been paid, the council not being paid rent or rates, the neighbours pissed off...
There were pros and cons but I felt it was a job I could do. I’m fairly resilient and felt the inevitable shit that comes with running a football club, would be manageable, water off a ducks back. Surely it had to be straightforward...
So I asked my wife what she thought, DONT DO IT.
I asked my kids, finance director, lawyers, accountants, friends, bankers, staff..... DONT DO IT!! All felt it was a no win situation. But I could see the really important role the club played in the community.
I decided to do it, against all the well meaning advice. I asked David Welsby the CEO of the council to meet me at the ground and told him of my intentions. I gave him the opportunity to back me or if he couldn’t I would walk away and nobody would know of our conversation...
David’s comments were, if you’re prepared to take it on, I am sure all the history between the council and the club can be put behind us and we can all move forward. He knew the value of the club to the town and community. Together with Miles Parkinson the council backed us.
So all that was left was the meeting on 28th Oct 2015 at which the shareholders were asked to vote to approve my involvement. This they did but at that meeting I was asked “are you going to asset strip the club” more on this later. I’m in signed and done.
Then we get to the “was I glad” bit.
The simple truth is that for the first 18 month I thought “why the f**k didn’t I listen?” “Why am I so awkward and why do I always get myself in these situations?” I wish I hadn’t done it because despite putting cash in to keep the club..
..going, everyone was pulling in all directions, the “asset stripper” suspicion and lack of trust in what I was trying to do was draining. This is normal, as we all know trust takes years to build and collapses in 2 seconds. I was doing what I thought was best all the same.
Over time trust built, I spent time with all the stakeholders, players, fans, staff and then my feeling changed, yes there was hard decisions to take, but most agreed that we were going in the right direction. Life becomes easy now, we are all working together in good faith.
I wasn’t paying for mistrust anymore, I was working with friends (even Coley sees me as a mate now and he’s bleeding hard work to please!) I understand now what running a football club below the mega bucks leagues means. I know how Eric Whalley must have felt years before me..
I was bitten by the club, it’s as simple as that: the shitness of our facilities I first saw isn’t shitness, it’s ours, the Stanley Family. It’s character and charm that means so much to all of us. Roy Hodgson wouldn’t allow his team to change in our dressing rooms....
....they went back to the hotel to change!! What an insult to come to our club and disrespect our facilities that Bill Holden has struggled to keep going for years! Tony Pulis on the other hand kept his face straight and said “it’ll do us good a bit of reality” (slight edit😂)
Yon manager from Carlisle comes and calls our managers panto horses and our facilities “tinpot” but you know what?
ITS OUR CLUB, IM GLAD I DID IT, we love the character and charm of our club. Yes we will improve it and build it...
But I swear this, it will always be Stanley, never some overbuilt vanity project. We know what we are doing, where we are going, I’m only one in a long line. I’m proud of who and what we are. We go on optimistic and full of hopes and dreams.
Come On Stanley!!!
Note to prospective new owners of other clubs. If you’re going to buy a club be prepared to put enough time in to win a bit of trust, otherwise it will be shit no matter how much you spend.
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