MY two years as chairman of our great club came to an end on Saturday, as did my role as National League board representative for the National League South.
Jacques Le Bars is taking over the chairman’s role at the Jezzards Beveree and Ben Hudson, a newcomer to the club but a long-time friend of Jacques, is the new vice-chairman. I’m sure you will join with me and the remainder of the board in wishing them every success in the time they will be guiding Hampton’s fortunes.
If I can take you back a little over two years ago, it was following the death of my friend and the club president, Alan Simpson, that Jacques (who is Alan’s godson) and I learned that the club was experiencing financial difficulties. We decided it would be good if we could offer our help, while preserving a link between the club and Alan at the same time.
The plan was that I would become chairman for a minimum of one year, maximum of two, during which time Jacques would familiarise himself with running a football club. It was also the intention that we would seek new investment during this period.
Together with the Supporter’s Trust, we provided substantial funding for 2017/18.
Last season, due to the FA Cup windfall, our investment was smaller, yet still substantial.
Unfortunately, we have not so far managed to bring in major new investors and it is this, together with some heavy, but necessary, upcoming maintenance costs, that has led to the need to reduce the playing budget for 2019/20.
Naturally, the much-anticipated sale of our former star, Jamal Lowe, by Portsmouth, could change matters, but clearly that cannot be counted on.
All of which means that Jacques and the remaining board members will have their work cut out in the weeks ahead so we can maximise every penny and every opportunity. Naturally, I wish them all the best in their endeavours.
In signing off, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my colleagues on the board, the staff and all of the volunteers for their dedication to the cause. It has been a pleasure working with them.
I shall remain a member of the Supporters’ Trust and will still come to as many games as possible from my home in the North East. One of the principal incentives will be a chance to touch base with so many good friends made during my time at the helm - and from before that.
Thanks also to the supporters, some of the friendliest and most loyal I’ve encountered during many years in football.
I shall also be able to watch how things develop via the National League as I’m pleased to report I have been co-opted back on to its board as an independent director.
Furthermore, Hampton will continue to have some influence at the top table as our club secretary, Richard Parsons, was elected unopposed on to the NL board to take over my previous duties as representative of the South Division clubs.
While it’s farewell for now, I’m sure it will not be too long before you see me once more, as an interested and committed supporter, at a home game in 2019-20.
Come On You Beavers!