Following our meeting with Grant Ferguson, OUFC’s new director, on Friday morning, 22 July 2022, the report below from Paul was emailed to OxVox members at 7.30 pm the same day.
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As mentioned in our previous update we have been pushing the club for a meeting with some of the new directors associated with the club.
Today we spent an hour with newly appointed club director Grant Ferguson to introduce ourselves and to ask some important questions about how the board intend to progress. He was involved with Erick Thohir at Inter Milan where he was also a director and has great experience on the organisational and financial front. While not resident in the country, he has been at the training ground every couple of months for some time now and has been working hard with all sections of the club to identify what is needed to move us forward.
His role at the club
Grant suggested that his role was yet to be defined but that having been brought onto the board he would continue to be present at the club on a regular basis and that work was already under way in identifying key areas in the back room organisation which could be improved.
Shares and ownership completion
He was open and understanding of the need for better communication on this and other fronts. To his mind the deal is being completed as was laid out originally. Nothing is standing in the way of that completion other than formalities that involve companies spread over several countries. While understanding supporters’ concerns, he is confident that the process will be completed soon. We raised the issue that some supporters were worried that there may be a delay while stadium issues are considered but we were assured that was not the case. It is his, and our, belief that work continues on all fronts and that the share issues will be completed in the near future.
The board’s goals and plans moving forward
He was refreshingly clear on where the board wanted to take the club. The key for them is to make the club a sustainable asset with a much higher value. To do that the two key elements are to build a team on the pitch that can reach and maintain Championship level and to build the new community stadium. A huge amount of work is going on behind the scenes to make sure both goals have the greatest chance of success and hopefully more information on the stadium progression will be released over the coming months. Again we ask fans to continue to respond to club surveys and questionnaires with regards to Stratfield Brake and to continue the fabulous work you have done supporting this project. He was fully aware of what this meant to supporters and that we were at the heart of what made this club special. He was also refreshingly honest about the nature of investment in the club. The owners are happy to invest and build the club in the right way but are determined to make this club sustainable and viable and make it a profitable venture. A club built up in the right way and in a positive way for both supporters and investors.
While frustrated at some of the time taken for deals to be completed, Grant was confident that more signings were coming in and also that the player model was continuing to bear fruit. OxVox tend not to get too involved with the playing front but the mood around the training ground is positive and upbeat. We are confident that the funds are available for the right players and that the squad will continue to be strengthened.
Organisation and communication
Communication with supporters has been an area we have pushed the club on for as long as I have been involved with OxVox. It is at the heart of making sure that the vital connection between club and supporters is as strong as it can be. He agreed that this was an area that they were keen to improve. He suggested that by improving the organisation of the club, they could bring in key members of the off-field team to free up the amazing people we already have at the club to focus on their jobs. This is an area we have felt needed attention for some time and it inspires confidence that it is being addressed. From training ground to academy and the organisational side, there has been investment and improvement in the things that really make a club strong. The long term sustainability of the club is paramount in their thoughts and that aligns well with what OxVox hope to ensure moving forward.
We finished our conversation on a variety of general football topics and agreed to meet again when Grant was back in the country in early September.
He also promised to keep the lines of communication open and to keep us updated regarding the completion of the shares allocation. During the time we spent with him we found Grant open and honest about the club, the directors and the direction they wanted the club to take. We were able to put across the concerns and hopes of many of the supporters and we are confident they were taken on board. We finished by wishing Grant the best of luck with the club and he was clearly relishing the task ahead.
As always if you have any questions or concerns regarding any aspect of the club then please get in touch with us. We are here to help protect and promote the club we all love and we are guided by you. We would also ask again for your help in suggesting membership of OxVox to any of your friends who are not involved. It is our members who give us a voice and it is a voice we hope to grow!
Thank you for taking the time to read this update and as always…..COYY