The February Squadbuilder meeting was always planned to be a feedback session following the first game at the Halliwell Jones, and following the admission problems that took place Chief Executive Andy Gatcliffe and new General Manager Barry Pollen were very much in the spotlight.
The event took place inside the brand new sponsor’s facilities at the stadium, and the enterprising range of beers on offer was an added bonus.
Stalwart Richard Shanks opened proceedings with some admin matters, including the news that the profile of Squadbuilder in the press is expanding following Richard’s 10 minute address at the recent Media Day – rumours that Richard spoke for only 10 minutes have yet to be confirmed however. It was proposed and agreed to allocate 35% of the funding to a single sponsored player and to make the remainder available to the coaches of the various junior sides on application, as was Steve Pickersgill to be the single Squadbuilder sponsored player for 2004. It was also agreed to donate £250 to the William Beaumont under 15s tour to Australia, the national champions at their age group.
Phil Docherty from stadium caterers Heathcote’s was on-hand to collect feedback on the first catering attempts, and explained that missing an hour of staff briefing due to the fire alarm and evacuation at 3:30 had a big impact on preparations.
Chief Executive Andy Gatcliffe then gave his thoughts on the first game, which naturally centred on the well-publicised admission problems. He apologised to all affected fans on behalf of the club, and highlighted that some of the teething problems didn’t help, such as the fire alarm evacuation at 3:30 and the unproven tannoy volume meaning some announcements went unheard. He thanked fans for their understanding and understood why some fans had good reason to feel irate – he also said that the club would never compromise safety. He accepted constructive comments from fans on all matters and explained that whilst things are not perfect, improvements are being made.
Squadbuilder has grown steadily over the last 2 years with membership now swelled to 180 – in this time only 3 people have left the scheme. One change with the new stadium is that all the meetings have had to be booked well in advance, and are to be the third Wednesday of each month – any clash with under 21s fixtures is unfortunately unavoidable. Oh, and Neil Dowson’s stadium update is now redundant.
Next meeting is on Wednesday 17 March at 7:30, probably in the Platinum Lounge. As always, non-members are welcome and can join on the night.
Thanks to Squadbuilder member Martyn Ford for the report and picture from the meeting.