Summary from the Fans Forum..

Firstly a big thank you to everyone that came along to last night’s well attended forum..

We will be looking to hold them quarterly so please keep an eye on the social pages/ websites / program, etc for the full 2020 set which will be published shortly.

Here is a brief summary of the items covered on Thursday 16th January evening:

Firstly apologies from Chairman Dave McCartney who was in Ireland working on one of his charity roles plus Andy Cosias and Dan Groves who had previous engagements.

With it being his first Forum we started with a full introduction for the newest member of the consortium Rob Dowman. Rob gave us a insight of his involvement with the club having his children playing for the club and being a colts manager taking a team through the years into the EJA.

Rob is a director and has the same shareholding as the other consortium members. Along with Nick Hutt, he will be at the forefront of the set up of the U18’s and U23’s, both are already in full swing in making plans to have these up and running for the start of the new 2020/21 season. Rob explained that it would provide a pathway from the excellent colts youth teams allowing players to challenge for places in our first team. We are looking to progress players from our current teams but also recruit new players. With the season in progress, external recruitment will be on hold. However, we are confident that our planned new facilities will help to attract some of the best of the local talent on offer. The pathway is in already evident with the women and girl’s team. That chant of ‘one of our own’ could soon be heard from the blue army on a frequent basis.

Talking of facilities, the board thanked our groundsman Del for all his hard work in these very testing times, and assured everyone that we are doing everything possible get home games played during the weeks of heavy rain. A discussion followed detailing the work that had been carried out, and yet, we are seeing the historic issues occurring in the same areas of the pitch. That is one of the reasons why the plans to install both an artificial pitch on the main pitch, and also a full artificial pitch at the rear of the ground, are now in full swing, The club outlined where we are in terms of that planning, and that they were confident in meeting the deadline of the end of feb for all the plans to be completed and an order placed. This would allow us to have the work completed in time for next season! It was noted that the current lease had been an issue but, since the last forum, all outstanding works have been carried out and have been signed off so we remain very confident of an extension on the lease.

The idea of the two new pitches is to make New Lodge a hub for ALL the teams we currently have at the club . As many as possible will be able to both train and play their matches there. This will transform BTFC as its the starting point in really making us one of the best community clubs around. Jamie O’Hara commented that he is looking forward to having the 3G pitch as this will allow for some much needed momentum which has been hard with the current pitch issues, and the new surface will allow him to work on the style of play we have seen from him and the team and attract fans that love the style of play that he wants to adopt. Our women’s first team manager, Kim Coster, echoed that and the forum noted that many of the more successful non league sides have gone down this route.

Once the plans are finalised then further details will be released and the next forum will allow us to have a much better discussion on what the new overall facility will look like.

In other news it was announced that from the start of Feb, the club will only be opening Thurs, Fridays and indeed matchdays. The online facility will be available for those wanting match tickets when the club is shut.

We will also have the clubhouse open every Saturday form the start of Feb, we will be showing all the live games on the screens and for those that can’t make the away games we will be having the LIVE commentary played in the bar, an update on when this will start will be announced shortly through the website/social pages.

A new management committee will be set up including Kim Coster ( operations manager) Sharon Hind ( commercial manager), Ian Ansell and Dan Groves, members of the board plus representatives from the BTSS, Pastors, the Colts and Girls’ sections and the ex Players group. As well as improving two way communication, this group will also agree and manage community projects. One of the ideas mentioned was working in local schools touching on subjects such as mental health and wellbeing.

A change in the media team at the club with Rob Rank & Matchday Media leaving after three years and Ben Robinson now overseeing all social media activity and match filming for both the men’s and ladies. The club all thanked Rob for his fantastic contribution and look forward to seeing him at games moving forwards.

Amongst Other Questions from the supporters:

Can we harvest the water from the pitch – A company called Water harvest was mentioned – Greg will look into this. Advertising – it was said that there isn’t a lot of advertising being done around the town so would it be something that can be looked into, again Greg will look at ways of advertising around the high street and station.

Thank you once again. These forums mean that we can all move forward together as one united club.

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