A Message from Richard Pym
After eighteen months as chairman of the club board I am now standing down and handing over to our marvellous Trust chair Nick Hawker who will now chair both boards. He will be very busy!
When I joined the board as chairman in summer 2020 I had hoped to serve for a maximum of two years but when I looked at the requirements of the club over the next six months and compared it to my own time availability then I knew it was time to hand over.
Back in July 2020 the financial condition of the club was looking difficult. We were in the grip of Covid and had just enough cash to survive a year but then the Ollie money appeared and we could invest for the future. The money has gone into the playing budget, the training ground, the pitch, and once we can find some steel, a big screen. The club is in a very good place.
Above all we have a fantastic manager. Matt is perfect for City. I have sat beside him for eighteen months and my admiration grows. He is totally professional and is tuned into the ethos of the club. “Character” is one of the recruitment characteristics he looks for as well as the technical and physical attributes. As a community club we want players whom the kids can look up to as exemplars of good behaviour. The discipline and commitment which Matt insists on also needs to be replicated on the board and the commercial side of the club.
Our vision as a club is to be a sustainable member of League One. The strategy to achieve that has two pillars, pillar one is obviously excellence on the pitch and pillar two is a commercial operation which can generate the cash to pay for pillar one. Sustainability requires both to operate in synchrony. Our commercial operations have lagged behind but recent recruitment should see a material uplift in our commercial potential over the next year.
Chairman, players, directors, managers, come and go in football clubs over the years but what endures is the supporters who day in day out, no matter what the weather or what the results, come and cheer the team on. Thank you to all our supporters.
I joined the board because the club was supporter owned and it has been a privilege to serve a club my grandfather played for a century ago. I will offer my services to the club in the future for volunteer help on projects but not chairing anything please! I will also continue my personal sponsorship of women’s football at the club. What a joy it was seeing the match against Argyle at St James Park. A crowd of 1380 and a penalty shoot-out which City won, just brilliant.
I want this club to be really successful and to deliver its potential. A city the size of Exeter is economically capable of sustaining a League One club but we have to be professional and ambitious to achieve it. It requires an acceptance of change and the adoption of a culture which does not tolerate anything less than the highest level of commitment and focus. I want to see City be an exemplar of successful community ownership and it is now within reach.
Good luck Nick, and good luck to all of you at the club.
Richard Pym CBE