NCM EXCLUSIVE - Interview with Trust chairman (Part Two)

Last updated : 23 January 2008 By Paul Smith and Gary Moss

You said there isn't people queuing up to invest, what do you do to try and improve the image of the club to attract the investors?

I guess it is a bit like buying a lottery ticket. You can buy lottery tickets and sit there and wait for your numbers to come up, or you can get on with your job and earn money in the normal way. Because as I said, there isn't a queue of investors, there just isn't. As much as you might want that it isn't there so you get on with making the most of what you have. It is just not there. If we had a bidder they would have come in when we was in

Pearson... Derby chairman allegedly wanted Notts first
administration, or in a higher division but they didn't. The only person that did was Haydn Green. There isn't anybody else. It is not just me saying they aren't there. You can see in the last eight years they are just not there to tempt, if you like. That is not saying a Haydn Green can't come along again, it is just unlikely.

Adam Pearson - what actually happened?

I was the Trust PR when this all happened so I know exactly what we said. We was as surprised as anybody that this came out. It was led on Radio Nottingham you'll remember. At that time we made an official complaint to the BBC about the coverage and about two months later you heard the apology and retraction squeezed in at the end of a Matchtalk show really quickly. To get that sort of reaction from the BBC is pretty rare. There was no bid, official or unofficial from Adam Pearson. There were no discussions about the club in terms of ownership or investment. It didn't happen - it didn't happen.

And the recent one involving Colin Hancock?

My first reaction to that is all of these…

(Interrupted by Kevin Rye, communications executive at Supporters Direct, the supporters' trust initiative)

Rye: Do you know all the facts about that?

NCM: Not really, no.

Aldershot... Messed up by Hancock?
Do you know what he did at Aldershot?

NCM: No.

Rye: You know that they went bust when he was chairman? He decided loads of contracts of players in the fourth division being paid third division wages and this is from people at Aldershot that I know. I had a discussion with someone there the other day and he is not someone that this guy would recommend having at your club. And lets be fair the guy is a dentist, and he is the chairman of Glapwell Town Football Club. What qualifies him more than anyone else at running the football club. Where is the money anyway?

Rolley: We were surprised - we listen to Matchtalk just like anybody else and we were surprised that somebody could just start that connection by doing it on the air. I mean you know how difficult it is to get hold of me it is not at all is it? And so if they wanted to talk to me, if they'd have rang the club they'd have got in touch with John Armstrong-Holmes or the Board of directors so it is a little strange how that happened. Having said that any offers and things like that must go to the club Board because they run the business on our behalf. We've contacted the guy, we put a statement out and we contacted him offering to meet him. The guy can't do it for the time being so John said

Sandercombe... One of Notts' fringe getting no games
'well come back to me when you have a convenient time' and that is where it is. That is exactly where it is.

You have spoke about bringing the Centre of Excellence back, what about the Reserves aswell is that in the pipeline because for me that is vitally important for giving match fitness to players who perhaps aren't getting minutes?

I absolutely agree. One of the problems is that you've got to do it in stages. If you remember the old reserve teams they are full of five or six who can't get in the first team for injuries or whatever, and then a load of kids - a youth team effectively. That is one of the reasons we don't have a reserve team because we haven't got a youth team. It is kind of a chicken and egg scenario. By having a Centre of Excellence, a youth team, and with it the scholars you are going to have that basis where you can get 15 to 16 people on a regular basis. But you have to do it that way around. You have to do it a stage at a time. I know the Centre of Excellence is coming back next year and it is hoped that the apprentices will be beyond that, and once you have that in place you can look at having a reserve side because you have physically got enough bodies to have one. If you look at what I said earlier, we set the tone, we put a strategy towards John, and we get this feedback and we all have the same thoughts, 'oh why haven't we got a

Meadow Lane... Getting the most out of its assets?
reserve side,' and so you put it towards John and you have taken the first step towards having that by having the Centre of Excellence coming back.

Around the Meadow Lane area some of the advertising boards are blank. Are you trying to attract adverts?

Absolutely. The simple fact is that they have not been sold. Are we happy about that? No we are not. John, when he took over as chairman, one of the things we've asked him to do is make the best of what we've got, lets get more of what we have and he's going to do that and he's looking at the whole financial market at the club to make it better so you can some of the boards sold, or you can get more people in the banqueting suites and the Meadow Club. More people, more money. And that is what he's doing. He's not been around very long and there's lots to do but one of the things high on his list of priorities we've told him to look at is commercially, make the most of what we have got. If the boards are black they aren't making us any money.

Was there a formal interview process in place for Ian McParland?

Rye: Shall I tell you something about the interviewing process for managers?

McParland... Was he formally interviewed?
Albeit they operate at a lower level, but you know AFC Wimbledon? They operate in essence the same way as Notts are run. The interview process for the appointment of the second manager they ever had, they found an interview process in a similar to that of the England manager. In football you just can't do it in the same way. You must be shown to be looking for the right candidate and there has always been a point that a lot of managers get appointed because they know the chairman - rather than because they are good at the job. You do want to make sure you get the right candidate, the best candidate, but don't fool yourselves into thinking that you can interview the way you would a normal job. It just doesn't work like that. It is not an easy process. It is easy to start picking the process apart.

Rolley: Obviously when there is a football vacancy you don't need to place adverts, plenty of people come in. People make themselves available. It wasn't a decision made by John, it was a decision he made in conjunction with the rest of the shareholders, the rest of the Board. They identified the person they thought was right for the job, they got him and they got Dave Kevan as well. That was the dream team they were talking about at the time.

And that is what the fans seemed to want at the time as well. NCM ran a poll and McParland was the fans' favoured choice.

Not everyone will always be happy, that's not the way it works. Football is very up and down. As you say when Charlie was appointed I wouldn't say it got universal approval, but it was pretty close to that - we are happy with the decision and yes it is going to take time for him to turn things around. We

Wilkinson... Believes the Trust won't bring success as majority shareholder
think we have the right guy, the Board certainly think they have the right guy and they are supporting him in the best possible way they can. Obviously through signing players and hopefully a centre-forward will come. We want to get the right people and then support the club.

Howard Wilkinson made some comments about the Trust when he left, saying along the lines of a Trust being the majority shareholder will not bring success. What is your response to those comments?

Howard's got his views like everyone else. I disagree with him - you'd expect me to say that. I think football has changed from about five years ago, it is very different. And I think a way where supporters can actually have an influence on how the club is run, and operate it, is the right way to do it. There was a bit about the soul of the club a few weeks ago and somebody said they think it is the manager but I don't think it is. It is the fans, we are the soul of the club, we will be there home and away whatever - we are the soul of the club. That is not to say we should all be sat there in the directors box. You pick the right people to do that, the people with the right skills and abilities to do it and you let them run the day-to-day business.

How best is it to get in touch with you? Are letters a good way because some people have commented you perhaps haven't received or replied to them?

Lots of ways you can contact us. I know a lot of your guys think they can just put a question on NCM and think 'why aren't they answering it?' Us simply trawling all day through every question looking through all the message boards is simply not the best way to do it. We've got our own message board on our website. If you want a question, it is not much more different to come on our site. If you ask a question on there you will get an answer. Our contact details are on the website too; email us. You can get hold of us on a Saturday and on a Tuesday match day - we are in the office, that is another way to do it. We try and make ourselves as open as possible. There is the

Moore... Former chairman
Fans Forum on Thursday. Some say that we hide away but you know how easy it is to get in contact with me. It is dead easy - it is not real to say we can look through all the message boards.

Steve Thompson was given a new three year contract. The Supporters Trust made no secret of there unhappiness that he took over in the first place, so why was you behind the new deal - if you were?

It was a difficult decision to be made and a decision to be made by the Board at that time and for Jeff Moore as the chairman at the time. It was difficult to disagree with the decision at that time.

NCM would like to place on record our huge thanks to Stuart, Kevin and other members of the Trust for this interview. Good Luck to all.