The CEO's thoughts on today's encounter
Mark Ashton's column from today's matchday programme is available to read in full below.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to today’s home fixture against AFC Wimbledon. As ever, I’d like to start by welcoming the players, staff, officials and supporters from Plough Lane. I have to say, it’s a reverse fixture that I’m looking forward to later in the year as I’m delighted for The Dons now that they have returned to their spiritual home.
I think frustration and patience remain the two key words at the moment. Whilst we are still frustrated that we haven’t had the set of results at the start of the season that we would have liked, I think it’s fair to say that - had it not been for individual errors - we would have a handful of wins on the board. Without wanting to be repetitive, patience is key. We’ve signed 16 new players and moved on well over 20 players including loanees. As so many of you fantastic supporters have said to me, Rome was not built in a day. This is a long-term project and if I’m honest with you, it feels like - both on and off the pitch - we have to turn an oil tanker. And this is a big oil tanker.
As we move towards the end of the transfer window, I think it’s fair to say this is a window I’ve never seen the likes of before, and neither have the staff. My nervousness was always that, with so much change, it would take a period of time for the team and the Club to settle down. Be under no illusion - with time, patience and professionalism, the results will come and this football club will move forwards. While I’m on the subject of change, I’m delighted to announce a new addition to our team over the past week. Marcus Nash joins us from Hamilton Academical FC as our new head of media and communications. You will get to see him on our communication channels moving forward and I’m sure you’ll join me in giving him a very big welcome to Portman Road.
There is so much work to do, both on and off the pitch. Once the transfer window closes at the end of the month, my focus will move on to our operations, commercial department, Academy and the facilities. Again there is so much to do here and I’ve had numerous letters from supporters since my arrival. Whilst I’m still in the process of responding, please trust that your comments have all been taken on board. Some fans have talked to me about matchday facilities in the concourses; beer, pricing, and what they feel is a poor matchday experience. Last Saturday when we played MK Dons, Mike O’Leary, Luke Werhun and I walked the concourses between 2pm and 3pm to see for ourselves what the challenges are and understand first-hand what the fans are saying. It is absolutely clear that there are numerous issues with the facilities, product and service. This is now on our radar. One of my biggest frustrations is that things simply don’t happen quickly enough. It’s something that needs to change at the Football Club because my team and I move at pace. We have undertaken a lot of work behind the scenes simply to get the stadium open, but now we need to step up a level. I will start the process of developing all aspects of the Club post-September but, as I said earlier, this is an oil tanker that we need to turn and it will take time. I genuinely appreciate the fans communicating with me and talking to me about issues. I will come back to each and every one who has, as soon as I possibly can.
Back to today’s game - as ever I expect a big crowd at Portman Road and the supporters in our first two home League games have been absolutely fantastic. Can I ask, once again, for you to get behind the boys and let’s get that first win on the table and get our season truly under way.
Enjoy the game.