Last night I called a meeting to discuss the future of Aldershot Town Football Club in the presence of the Majority Shareholder, Kris Machala, the Board of Directors and a selected representation of supporters, staff, sponsors and shareholders. There was a strong presence from the Shots Trust including Terry Owens and Peter Bridgeman.
I called the meeting after being involved internally concerning a number of issues that emanated from last weeks AGM when the Majority Shareholder blocked a resolution that had previously been agreed by the Board of Directors. The decision proved for an embarrassing evening as it showed a notable difference of opinions into the future of the football club between Mr Machala and his fellow Board members. It was concerning. At the time Mr Machala had confirmed to those present that he would have positive and exciting news regarding the future of the club on Monday 22nd April that would secure its future.
Monday came and went and there was no news. I was invited to attend a meeting that evening with the Board of Directors and there was disappointment when Mr Machala was unable to confirm his original proposal.
There have been a number of stories that have circulated within the media over the last few days and one option Mr Machala suggested on Monday evening was that he was considering entering the club into administration. I categorically informed him that if he chose that route it would rip the heart and soul out of the club and it would never recover from it. I said that it would leave a “seriously bad taste” to those who had experienced the “dark days” of 1992.
I asked Mr Machala to reconsider a previous offer that had been on the table from the Chairman Shahid Azeem.
Since Monday there have been extensive and detailed communications between Board members and external parties all aiming to safeguard the future of the football club. However deadlines kept being extended and I could see no other alternative but to call a meeting to ensure that explanations were provided to those that deserve to know.
Those present on Thursday evening were informed by Shahid that since the meeting had been called negotiations had progressed between Mr Machala and the remaining Board members. He also confirmed that there were now two genuine options that would benefit the football club and that he would be in a position to provide further information within 48 hours. He did state that administration was NOT one of the options.
There are delicate discussions still required to resolve the matter satisfactorily and it will not be all plain sailing and there is much hard work ahead. I can give an assurance that I am in regular dialogue with Shahid and I know how committed he is to ensuring that the football club can move forward. We have spoken and met consistently over the past week or so. He has the best intentions.
At the meeting I spoke about the respect that we all have for those that have committed themselves financially to the football club in the past. It is commendable and there is a tremendous sense of gratitude there. What we now need is clarity going forward and I hope that there is good news soon. We need to know that our football club will not make the critical mistakes that it has made this season.
It is my view that season 2012/13 will go down as the worst for Aldershot Football- not just for the new club but from 1926-2013. You may ask how can that be the case when we saw a club liquidated in 1992. My answer is yes, but we failed to learn our lessons. To be on the verge of losing our Football League status is unforgivable. As a football club we have taken our finger off the pulse, especially since the end of last season. Some of the activities that have occurred from within have been totally unacceptable and a sequence of events has ensured that we are where we are and it is extremely sad.
One purpose of the meeting was a call for transparency and a guarantee moving forwards that everybody is kept informed through the correct communications channels.
It was also because it is my duty, not just as the Head of Media of the club, but also as the President of the Shots Trust that I was able to share the information I was in possession of.
It is because I care passionately about the future of our football club. I spoke about the dream we had in 1992 and the fun and excitement we had in building the foundations of our club. I asked Mark Butler to attend the meeting. Our record goal scorer, an Aldershot lad and somebody who epitomises everything that our club stood for. We lost our way and we need to gain it back. I also spoke that there should be a Shots Trust representative present at Board meetings moving forwards.
I cannot dictate the future of the football club. I believe the aim of the meeting has ensured that it has forced the issue with regards to positive negotiations to safeguard its future. If that is the case then it was a worthwhile exercise.
Further information will be provided as soon as it is readily available.
I will revert back to my role as Head of Media at the club for the time being and leave the powers that be to conclude negotiations that I hope will be in the best interests of Aldershot Town Football Club moving forwards.
President (Shots Trust)