Preece Says Thank You To Supporters And Sponsors As He Happily Returns To The Terraces From June 30th

Preece Says Thank You To Supporters And Sponsors As He Happily Returns To The Terraces From June 30th

Long serving Commercial and Community Director Haydn Preece has confirmed he will step down as a Director at Southport Football Club at the club’s annual general meeting to be held in early June.
Preece in a very positive and upbeat statement said ” Firstly I would like to say to Charlie Clapham and Sam Shrouder thank you for giving me a wonderful and much valued opportunity. Mavis Clapham over all my time has been an incredible club fundraiser in a whole variety of capacities. She has been an unsung heroine behind the scenes. Charlie Clapham has achieved so much in his long period as Chairman and as each day goes by he will be appreciated even more.

I step down with a record £900,000 turnover and the most sponsors the club has ever had. That has been a team effort and that’s what it is all about, everyone working together – essential as the club regroups under two wonderful people whom I have known for many years, James Treadwell and Adrian Shandley. They have the club’s interests totally at heart and have made very significant and brave financial commitments. I am honoured both wanted me to stay on and I really appreciate that, but in my opinion they need to have a clean sweep. As part of the old Board of Directors it is time for me to move on. I will gladly help to assist until the end of the financial year on June 30th as I had said sometime ago. Then I will depart from the scene returning to the terraces.

James and Adrian are supporters first and foremost. They should be applauded for taking over the reins. They are good people, well known in our town. The new custodians of the club are setting off on an exciting football journey, a business world like no other.

After being behind the scenes in a variety of capacities for over a quarter of a century I have some experience if they need to pick up the phone but it’s a new era and I’m excited about it as a supporter.
Every day has been different, it really has since July 2006. I left my teaching career as the school summer holidays started and commenced the next day. Will I miss being involved on a daily basis? Of course. Will I miss the responsibility 365 days a year working through each season? The answer has to be no and it’s time to hand over to fresh eyes and views. I’ve inducted far too many managers!
On the outside supporters don’t realise the pressures a Manager, Chairman/Directors and Club Secretary come under. Day to day Ken Hilton and I have worked together seven days a week and I would like to thank Ken for being a fantastic colleague.

As a lifelong supporter, of course Southport FC will always be the club I support and I can relax in the stand and terraces enjoying the seasons ahead. I’m truly looking forward to that!
The role firstly as Chief Executive and latterly (since 2010) as Director has been all embracing and diverse. In many ways too diverse but essentially so, to maximise finance coming in. We’ve competed off the field with clubs who have double figure full time staff and, aided by our incredible, professional volunteer team, we have held the club together, an achievement in itself.

I gave up a potential six figure salary to dedicate all my time to Southport FC and I have absolutely no regrets. I’d do it again!

The last few weeks have been tough and the treatment towards former Chairman Charlie Clapham unacceptable. I have been very clear about that. That is what made me decide sometime ago to depart fully alongside Charlie on June 30th. That sadly is the world of social media, it’s a fact of 21st century life but one I don’t want to be party to.

I am as frustrated as anyone about our dreadful season, in pre season and on the opening day at Dagenham the squad looked wrong. However it was financially on paper a competitive budget that should have been able to achieve at least mid table. By the end of the season we had spent more money on the playing budget than ever before in the club’s history but nothing alleviated the situation. Football decisions just didn’t work out throughout the season. Sport is an unpredictable and unforgiving business. We did have a fantastic Emirates FA Cup First Round financial boost with the two ties against Fleetwood, plus the Emirates FA Cup Second Round draw being televised live from the Merseyrail Community Stadium. Injuries to Jordan Lussey and Josh Thompson scuppered Steve Burr’s progress at a crucial time, however we had spent a long time over the years trying to recruit Steve, so his departure I’m afraid signalled very quickly our relegation. Andy Bishop at the start of the season and Andy Preece in the run in did their very best but for a variety of reasons it didn’t happen for either of them despite both giving their all throughout.

I have to say a very big thank you to every sponsor and advertiser who has committed to the club – many are personal friends – and every supporter who has over my eleven years assisted in gaining advertisers and sponsors. It really has been a team effort. As our Wembley 1998 assistant manager Peter Wragg said, “There is no I in team.”

As a freelance journalist for 16 years with the The Star, The Globe, Champion’s first edition,Southport Visiter, Lancashire Evening Post, Liverpool Echo and Daily Post plus BBC Merseysde, I’ve worked with some tremendous managers, Brian Kettle being the first, Billy Ayre, Ronnie Moore, Paul
Futcher, Mark Wright and, of course, Liam Watson who won the Conference North twice and finished 7th in the Conference National, missing out on the play offs after having been in the top five nearly to the end of the season. Play offs wise Kettle, Ayre and Wright all finished in the top three or four but sadly before the play offs came in. Paul Futcher took us on that boyhood dream of a Wembley appearance under the iconic Twin Towers and onto that hallowed turf in 1998. Great days!

We all want those days back and this summer with the appointment of a new manager and with our new leadership from James and Adrian I’m sure Southport Football Club will be progressing on the pitch. We’ve got so many things right off the pitch – award winning schemes, a thriving Community Programme, our Everton Under 23 partnership, new excellent floodlights with Trust In Yellow’s significant funding involvement, including Colin Aindow’s Grimsby run, showing collaboration at its best, great links with local charities and exciting future projects planned but you are quite rightly judged purely on the product on the pitch. It is all about winning football matches.
As Frank Sinatra said “Regrets I have a few but too few to mention.” Well just one, my ambition was to get Southport FC back into the Football League. That day will come, let’s all do our best to achieve success in the seasons ahead together. “Up The Port.”