Match Day Posters. Will This Do ?

Thought I’d stick the Clash in as they have featured in our posters, bit random I know burt it is funny as they look like New Romantics !

The Lewes FC match day posters are well known in football circles and excellent they are too. Using iconic cultural images to promote games and identify the club with is smart. Living in the High Street I have each one in my window.

But actually it is a sign of the times at Lewes FC.

Many people are tiring of the spin, the clever initiatives (very clever they are too),  budget parity, 3g, possible ground development, possible new branding options and associates (not the band) and just want to get back to basics.

We have a fanzine out on Saturday. It will not go down well in many quarters.

We will be doing fanzine’s monthly as we believe, and many other people are coming round to our view, Lewes FC simply isn’t working.

Did you know the sugar daddies put more money into the club  2015/16 than the actual first team budget ? FFS we were told we would be self sustained within three years seven years on nowhere near.

I mention posters as a starter so we can highlight where we feel the club has been taken in a wrong direction away from being community based to an unworkable and unfathomable business model that has failed. We will be throwing out a fresh approach to how we can work within Lewes within our means.

So as I stick another poster up do you remember this ?

Rather than swank around our new posters around the national press etc what happened before the community club was formed ? Someone came up with an idea for our old boring posters. Establish a network of fans in outlying towns and villages happy to distribute posters around their local shops clubs etc. What a brilliant form of free advertising and a way of bringing the club together and establishing networks outside of Lewes and building that fan base up. The forum was bursting with people from dozens of outreaching parts to help. I can’t remember if this ever happened in the end, it was when the club was in meltdown. But we must be doing simple things like this rather than court a new soft drinks branding initiative. The focus of the Lewes FC Board is plain wrong.

This is how our club should be run. Not all this slick crap we are fed that has ultimately failed but by utilising the fans into building it.

Lewes FC rather than chewing the fat over how to increase sponsorship etc needs to get back to engaging fans into building the club. Of course it needs dozens of new initiatives like the above. But there are dozens out there and old ones long forgotten.

The board needs to reconnect with the fans after their ham fisted handling of parity and the fanzine will hope over the next issues to contribute ideas so people and fans can cothe-clashnsider how things are. Will this do ?

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A Fresh Approach at Lewes FC

lewesfc_logo_bLewes FC is beginning to take on the look of a failed football experiment.

We have all supported the theory of building a self sustained football club by our continued attendance and support, this has clearly been taken for granted.

In tatters lies the original promise of three years until being self sustained. Extended to five, still nowhere near and continues to be far away on the horizon. The openness and transparency appears to be mere lip service. Democracy? well the budget parity bludgeoning of the fans views says it all. Need I say the farcical decline in the first team performances until Darren came in.

 

People forget the idea of our current model was to learn from the errors of the Elliott years but nothing has been learnt or changed. On the face of it maybe, but the 2015/6 accounts and the recent parity debacle say otherwise. And yes, parity has been an unmitigated disaster. The club may get the sponsors and I hope they do, but getting them or not is irrelevant. The shoddy way it has been achieved has ruined for many brand Lewes FC Community Club. We are now clearly reliant on two sugar daddies on the Board whose commitment and hard work for the club is not in doubt, but whose vision of achieving it lies in tatters. Parity has backfired. As seemingly does the ‘build it and they will come’ approach which was never despite the blind faith put in the idea was never going to work at a non league football club.

 

The development of Lewes FC should have been driven by the success of the first team. This done properly should bring in financial security and investment in a high profile non league club with a brilliant fan base. Instead year after year focus is concentrated building the infrastructure as the off field running costs accelerate away from the club income.

 

The percentage of club turnover going to Darren Freeman is shockingly low and the percentage of club turnover going on back room and admin shockingly high. At this point spare me the crap spouted about lack of volunteers. Few places in this country have a better volunteer culture than Lewes as Bonfire shows yet the Board are haplessly either incapable of harnessing this raw material or it does not fit into their vision of how to run a club. The income from catering is disgrace. I know marque Lewes businesses never even approached for sponsorship yet we are told streams for more sponsorship have dried up. Rubbish. Er try getting out and finding it. That is how non league grass roots football works. Not through slick marketing, talking about it and number crunching but through the traditional rolling up of the sleeves and ‘engaging’ with the business community.

 

So much of what the current set up has achieved off the pitch has been brilliant. But ultimately on too many of the core aims it has failed and the club and vision has now not so much run off course but hit the rocks.

 

Enormous change is needed at the club and sadly I sense no appetite from many on the Board for this. My deepest sympathies go to Darren Freeman. His squad per game are now paid 40%, I believe, less than the ladies an oversight perhaps in the formation of Equality FC. Don’t tell me, in this crucial season where Darren needs all the support he can get, the focus of the Board has been on him and not the launching a national gender equality initiative. I accept of course Stuart and Barry are as focused as ever as they work closely with Darren, but as a collective body ?

 

Sorry I don’t buy it. Too many football clubs have been taken over by smart men with great credentials and buggered it up. Too much faith has been placed in the adventures of the current set up.  Business and football do not mix and we are beginning to see the venture hit the rocks and at last many people involved with the club are waking up and smelling the coffee. I hope there is now a realization at Board level that things need to change.

 

This great sprawl of an entity needs to get back to basics and needs a fresh approach. A random well meaning national initiative is not going to build Lewes FC into the club it should be. Charlie Dobres has said we need to be ‘smart.’ Is this smart ? No, it is a failed vision.

 

Smart is recognising when to change course. Smart is learning from mistakes. Smart is tapping into the volunteer culture the town is famous for and building our club around that. Building a legacy that will span generations not short term initiatives that turn people off. Lewes FC needs to aim to be self sustained and volunteer run. It needs to not have swish ambitions but to set goals year by year harnessing the amazing talents of those currently involved and those who will become involved if, as is the custom, the fans actually feel this is their club and not some footballing experiment.

Bedtime for Democracy Part 2 @Lewes FC

The Battle of Lewes 1264 was a building block to the formation of our Parliament.

Sadly at the progressive Lewes FC we have adopted a less democratic model, more akin to that of a more dictatorial approach.

Just under a year ago two of the founders of fan owned Lewes FC had to stand for re election.

They are acknowledged as the driving force behind the club. It has been mentioned numerous times in the public domain without being refuted that they bankroll the club.

When they created the current fan owned model they promised self sustainability. Fail. Massive fail. 2015/6 accounts are dismal

They promised transparency and openness.

Let’s examine the transparency and openness, something I have argued for ages is simply a bogus claim.

So Dobres and Ramsden stood on the platform of introducing budget parity for men and women. A massive thumbs down was achieved from the fans with zero room for any other interpretation. We assumed it has been dropped then all of a sudden July 2017 it is presented as policy. A fait accompli. No fan consultation apart from a lip service meeting with a handful of volunteers two days before it was announced.

Although Lewes has 1200 members, Dobres and Ramsden are the two who members bank roll the club. Fans are aware if they are not on the Board they may cease to bank roll the club. Turkeys for Christmas and all that. These two members proposed the reforms and without consulting the fans at all it has been passed into club policy. This smacks of poor form. Very poor form.

To add to that they were elected on a 20% turnout. The inevitability of the result a possible deterrent.

It was suggested by one sensible Director the gravity of the parity issue should be voted on by the membership.

Clearly not. Of course a purist will say our constitution means they are elected and therefore are mandated to make these decisions.

Surely the fact that members of the Board are elected on such a low turnout, indeed some Board members have taken their place unopposed, would naturally mean the issue would be referred to the membership ? Surely such a tenuous democracy demands it ?

Furthermore. Last weekend I contacted a Board member asking for minutes of Board Meetings so I could reference the minutes for something I am writing. The Board legally do not have to do so but many Board’s do for the sake of transparency and openness

Disgracefully Lewes FC would not allow me access to these important minutes. I asked the Board member, who has always been helpful to me, if he could at least let me know the vote outcome on the issue. There wasn’t one

There has not been a formal vote on anything for at least 18 months. It was suggested voting may cause conflict. Things are discussed through.

Not very democratic, healthy, open or transparent. Despicable

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