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Message from the Chairman

It’s hard to find any corner of St James Park where the words ‘Project 6000’, isn’t uttered! It is the focus of both Club and Trust boards and, outside of the team, one of the most important mechanisms that we hope will lead us to greater success.

People measure success in different ways; our profit & loss breaking even (maybe having a small surplus!), cash neutrality, a great match-day experience, or of course, the all-important promotion to league one. Maybe all the aforementioned! So, as we approach a new season, I want to start telling you of how we’re going about that!

To begin with I’m delighted to welcome Darren Henderson to the Club, as our new Chief Commercial Officer. Darren arrives brimming with ideas that will, over time, cautiously increase our revenue earning capability. The club already operate at close to maximum efficiency and it’s difficult to see where we can make savings without damaging our ability to deliver a good service.

As such, we must focus on revenue growth to fund our aspirations and become less reliant on windfall monies. Please help us get behind Darren, just as we would a new player signing… as I’ve observed before, our ownership model needs heroes all over the club, not just on the pitch! Darren will be supported by a Trust approved, hugely experienced non-executive appointment to the Club Board.

In my March newsletter I wrote how Trust Elected Directors (TED’s) were chairing club board sub-committees on Finance & Governance and Supporter Experience. A third sub-committee, Audit, Risk & Compliance, is being temporarily led by our Chair of Club Board, Richard Pym.

Subject to final checks, the Trust have also approved the appointment of a non-executive director, of great experience, who will take over the chair of the Audit, Risk & Compliance committee. I’m hugely grateful that Richard Pym will continue in his role as Chair of the Club Board.

Finally, we will make one further appointment to the Club Board, an additional non-executive who again, will come to us with significant experience.

More details about these appointments, especially who they are (!), will be made once all the usual checks are satisfied.

I know that Trust members (some of whom will be monitoring transactions at Companies house!) will be keen to understand the voting protocols on the Club Board. These are not always clear at Companies House as the records do not differentiate between voting and non-voting directors. I can tell you that the Trust will retain the controlling vote.

Our new appointments are coming to us because we are Trust owned, and we will be both grateful and privileged to be able to access their significant skill and experience to help drive us onward. I will publish more detail on this once the appointments have been finalised.

Over the past 20 years the Trust and Club have evolved, and will continue doing so, this season signifies the start of the next instalment of true supporter ownership. We held our Fan Led Review 20 years ago – the decisions made then have meant that today we are stronger than ever. Come on you reds!

Nick Hawker

Trust Chair

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