David Clegg Summarises Issues Raised At The Chairman’s Meeting With Fans -
After months of enforced silence, our Chairman, John Wilkinson, was, last night, eventually free from constraint to bring fans up to date with the current position of the club. On a night on which a pair of waders would have been of more use than any shoes, it was remarkable that over 500 fans made the effort to attend and packed into Pendleton Church, to listen to what Mr Wilkinson had to say.
Not only fans, but media people, too, were in evidence, including reporters from BBC’s Look Northwest, Manchester Evening News, and BBC Radio Manchester. Filming, in the hall, was restricted to the half hour immediately prior to the commencement of the meeting, whilst Look Northwest did interview fans, at the end as they left, outside the church.
The Chairman started the meeting, prompt at seven, by outlining, in his introduction, some of the background scenario, which had led to the meeting’s having been called. Certain of these comments showed how hard he has worked, over many years, to keep the club alive in Salford. In particular, we learned how in the past he has turned down offers to take the City Reds to the Reebok Stadium Bolton, Maine Road Manchester, and Cardiff.
The bulk of the evening, however, took the form of pre-submitted questions, which the Chairman answered, fully. Indeed, Mr Wilkinson was heard out in absolute silence, for just under 2 hours, and at the end, following a spontaneous vote of thanks from Mrs Audrey Alcock, was given a standing ovation.
He had, undoubtedly, earned this, as he had shown openness, humility, and sincerity throughout the whole meeting, and had treated each question with the utmost respect. As chairman, he accepted full responsibility for the difficulties in which we now find ourselves, though truth to tell, I feel that he could have claimed to have been the victim of circumstances, to a much greater extent, particularly in view of the current recession which has lasted far longer than any of the politicians either predicted or expected.
He did, however, apologise for the lack of communication, which had not been of his choosing, but had been required of him, by the parties who were endeavouring to assist the club. He assured everyone that this would be rectified, henceforth, and we in the media section, will do our part towards that.
There were many questions about the club’s finances, and each of these was reported, at the time, on Twitter. The bottom line to it all, is that we need to realise £600,000 in order to keep the club afloat over the coming season. The most immediate problem will be the resolution of the current winding-up petition, due to be heard in court, on 7th Jan, but which Mr Wilkinson is confident of bringing to a satisfactory conclusion.
As for the playing aspect of the club, he was confident that we would be able to start the season, but was insistent that if we did, then we would have to be capable of completing it. As far as player recruitment is concerned, he admitted that this is being hampered by the bank account having been frozen, and pointed to the importance of 7th Jan, in this respect.
Nobody could have left the meeting unsure about anything, and this was evidenced by the response to some of the helpful suggestions made in the last round of questions. This response included offers of help, and also financial help from some of those who had attended.
The lasting message, which I feel we should all have taken away with us is, that whilst we are certainly in some difficulties, the situation is not beyond redemption, and that we can all play our own part, however small, to help us through it, and so ensure that the club survives beyond it.
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