Read the Chairman's notes from the Oldham Athletic match day programme

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys and welcome back to Priestfield for our league clash with Oldham Athletic. On behalf of everyone connected to GFC I’d like to welcome the directors, management, players and supporters that have made the journey South and, result apart, hope they enjoy their visit.

Today also marks the first home game as permanent manager for Peter Taylor and I’m sure everyone will give Peter a warm reception and the support one would expect as he continues the process of reshaping the team, insofar as players and style are concerned, which we all hope will result in better performances and more match points. Certainly for those that travelled to Sheffield last week the signs of improvement were abundant and after a hard fought contest it was more than very pleasing to leave Bramall Lane with maximum points. Certainly amongst many positives it was great to witness the spirit, commitment, honesty and hard work of the players, who to a man have really begun to buy into a different playing style, one that is more pleasing to watch and more suited to the talented individuals here at the Club. 

For those that watched the live game on Monday night at Brackley, and I accept it was disappointing for everyone that we didn’t achieve the result we all wanted, I think most will agree there was little wrong with the performance of the team or any individual player on the night, in fact I thought the team to a man played really well, given the circumstances and indeed the changes forced upon the manager for a variety of reasons. To which end congratulations to Stephen Butcher who made his first start for the team in the right back position, and was a credit in the manner he played and his maturity on the occasion. In the end the curse of the F A Cup, plus a large dose of misfortune gave our hosts a night they will cherish for a long time. In fairness I thought Brackley were a very decent side, will be in the Conference next year almost certainly, defended superbly on the night, albeit had more than a fair share of fortune, and all we can now do is wish them good luck in the next round, thank them for their generous hospitality and focus back on our bread and butter business, ie winning league games.

To that effect I am delighted we have managed to sign three new players, John Mousinho and Craig Fagan who will be with us initially to January 4th and Elliott Hewitt, who will be with us until December 14th. I am also delighted we have managed to extend the loan of Michael Harriman to the end of the season and with the deadline for loans fast approaching we are trying to bring in one or two players that will allow Peter more competition for places and more options in playing style.

On other matters, and following on from my Carlisle programme notes, my search for external investment into the Club has begun in earnest with advisors now appointed. Their scope of work will be to contact potential individuals and corporations both locally within the County, Nationally and Internationally and to send them a brief which has been prepared regarding the huge potential I have always believed exists at this football club. I will keep supporters updated on any progress, if and when it occurs.
I have also set a date for the next informal meeting of shareholders for Saturday 14th December, here at the Club, commencing at 11.30am. Accounts to y/e 31st May 2013 are being finalized and will be ready to view by month end. This meeting will once again allow shareholders the opportunity to air their views in an effective and orderly manner and discuss topics of choice.  To assist us in ensuring we set up adequate accommodation/catering for the meeting it would be helpful if members would advise the club secretary of intended attendance by either e mail or phone +44 1634 350150. (Fax +44 1634 850986).
Look forward to meeting as many of our members on the day.

Whilst on the subject of airing views in an orderly and effective manner, supporters will have picked up from my last notes of my alarm and disgust at some of the appalling rhetoric on so called ‘fans forums’ over the past few weeks. I am all for free speech and believe forums are a good medium if used sensibly, but when I get forwarded some of the postings from concerned responsible fans that are clearly inaccurate, misleading, malicious, speculative, damaging, personal or just totally unpleasant, I wonder who these people are that hide behind their secret pretend names and post such garbage, what their motives are, whether they have been somehow disenfranchised from society and what help there may be out there for them. It may also be the case that some of these postings are from individuals who simply don’t have the answers and therefore latch onto a trend generated by the above, but whatever the situation I feel it is time to try and address the genuine concerns some of you clearly have as I don’t want the club to be damaged further by such stupidity posted by a relative few.
In order to achieve this, I have asked our media department to go through postings going back over the past month from various sites, to which I will supply a response and/or comment in a document we will circulate to you all via e mail or through other means.
In addition, I will open my office here at the Club specifically for any fans to visit me and ask questions, air their concerns or discuss any matters they choose. I will not ask for names, details of who you are, where you’re from or anything else. I will be alone and will allow any form of discussion as best possible, save for matters that should remain confidential. You can come alone or with a friend, and stay for as long as the session is designated to last.
The open office dates will be

Sunday 15th December,        10am to midday
Tuesday 17th December       10am to midday then 6pm to 8pm
Sunday 29th December         11.30am to 1pm

Anyone may visit, it will be informal and my office will be your home for the period. In essence this is an opportunity for the posters or others to show up or shut up, please do take the opportunity as you will certainly be better informed once you’ve left. I will report in early January as to how successful these meetings were.

Back now to the issue of football and winning football matches. As mentioned I have been delighted with the progress of the team under our new manager, the team have also been superb in their work rate and commitment. It is now up to us supporters to play our part in strong positive support. Please do get behind the boys through thick and thin, they all want to succeed for you and the badge, so lets be sure the 12th man plays its part, we can only succeed if we stand shoulder to shoulder, man to man (and woman to woman).

Thanks for your support, enjoy the game

Up the Gills
Paul D. P. Scally