From the Boardroom Response .pdf
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"From the Boardroom"
Goodbye Rowley Group Response
We are pleased that Saturday’s successful supporter’s action is being recognised
publicly by the Chairman. We again want to place on record our thanks to the
protesting supporters on the day for their exemplary behaviour which was a credit
to the Club, and we also wish to acknowledge the overwhelmingly positive reaction
of our fellow supporters as we left the ground. This was a huge source of
encouragement as we took such drastic action, as were the countless messages of
support we have received since Saturday.
It is now time for the Chairman to stop hiding behind the pretence that the
supporters who left the ground do not represent the wider view. And if he does
genuinely believe what he is saying then he should get out and speak to people –
people who do not have their own, and his interests to protect. The football club we
all support is falling apart, on his watch.
As for the offer made by the Chairman, we would question why Grahame Rowley
only wants to get ‘around the table’ with supporters who left the ground? Why
would he not also meet the supporters who walked to the exit in solidarity, but
stayed to watch the game? Why not the many supporters who held up Rowley Out
cards as we left? Why not the numerous supporters who applauded the fans as they
left the ground? Why not the hundreds of supporters already staying away while he
remains in his current position?
29? We are sorry Grahame, you are going to need a much bigger table.
Within the club statement that appeared in the match day programme this past
Tuesday (for the 3-1 defeat by Nuneaton Town), the Chairman appears to be
suggesting that we sit together to discuss how we can keep him in his current
position. There is a clear refusal to accept reality. All of these “grievances” have
been raised before at various meetings and summarily dismissed, or in some cases
Nothing has changed.
Let’s be clear, if Grahame wants a meeting but none the less fully intends to
stay on then there is no point in a meeting.
However, while we accept we have no right to speak for the majority of the fans
who are pushing for change, as a group we would welcome the opportunity for a
meeting with the Chairman to discuss the following agenda points:
i ) Building bridges with supporters
We discuss a public apology, from Grahame Rowley, for his comments about
supporters (in both the Non-League Paper and the official match day programme)
after the departure of Neil Young. This should include an explanation regarding his
lack of communication in the weeks that followed, as well as an apology for the
way the clubs social media volunteers were treated during this past Saturday's home
game against Stalybridge Celtic. We will of course draft this, to be signed by the
Chairman and then published on the official website, and as the lead article in the
match day programme. This to be available for release to the press at our discretion.
ii ) Future of the Chairman
We work on a joint public appeal for a new chairman to come forward, one who has
the required skills necessary to lead a football club. And, if required, we would be
available to play our part to ensure a smooth handover. The current Chairman has
long tried to play up a sense of reluctance, and has previously indicated he
would stand aside if someone else would come forward. Now is the time for
action. Common ground can be found here.
iii ) Shareholding
A share issue equivalent to 51% of current ordinary voting shares, to be approved at
next Board meeting. If not, then Grahame Rowley is to agree to an EGM for this to
be put forward to a vote of current shareholders. The club is strangled and held back
by the fragmented nature of the shareholding. It is widely acknowledged that there
are a number of significant shareholders with little active interest in the well-being
of Altrincham Football Club. There is no way we can properly move forward
without this being addressed.
iv ) Accountability
An immediate end to the constant attempts to spread the blame for poor managerial
appointments onto the fans. Supporters should be able to get behind Neil Young,
and welcome Jim Harvey to the Club, without the risk of being held culpable in the
decision if it does not work out. The Chairman has ultimate responsibility for
ensuring the role is advertised correctly, the Chairman has responsibility for
reviewing the candidates, the Chairman has responsibility for interviewing the
candidates, and the Chairman has responsibility for the appointment. The continual
denial of this highlights the complete lack of accountability that exists at
Altrincham FC, as it sinks to the lowest level in it's history.
Finally, we would like to note on record that there is little doubt that the
infrastructure of the Football Club has been improved by the current Chairman. But
unfortunately, it is also abundantly clear that he is not the best person to get the
most benefit out of the facilities and resources available. The selling of a player to a
Premier League club, increased match day bar revenue, and the financial benefits of
various cup runs over the past few seasons, should not lead to the lowest point in
114 years for Altrincham FC. The greatest gift we can give to the community is a
successful football club, and the current imbalance between the relative
performances of both aspects of Altrincham FC needs to be addressed. Grahame
Rowley has taken us as far as he can. A Chairman should be decided by a person’s
suitability to the role, not based on time given to the club on a voluntary basis. That
said, we of course appreciate every single hour given by every single volunteer for
For the current time, the match-day action from supporters will continue, for this
season and beyond. Regardless of the upturn in fortunes on the pitch that one would
expect to accompany the drop to the lowest ever level that the club has played at. In
spite of the thinking within the boardroom, the unpopularity of the current
Chairman is not intrinsically linked to the current league position. It would appear
to run far deeper than that within the fan base.
A further concern we have with the continued chairmanship of Grahame Rowley is
the effect on season ticket sales, and therefore commercial activity, for next season.
A number of supporters have already indicated that they will not be renewing their
season tickets under the current leadership, not re-joining vital fundraisers such as
the patrons scheme, or will not be attending home games altogether. This issue
needs addressing now to give us the strongest possible budget for next season as we
begin the process of rebuilding Altrincham FC.
Next season is going to be one of the most important in the clubs history. It is
essential that we don’t start it in the same position as we are now, where such a
divide exists between the Chairman and the clubs hard core support.
For the good of the Football Club, and as a fellow Altrincham fan, we again call on
the Chairman to announce his intention to stand aside and allow us to move forward
We await a positive response.