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MARK'S PROGRAMME NOTES | OXFORD UNITED

13 November 2021

The thoughts of Town's CEO ahead of today's game

Good afternoon and welcome to today’s League One fixture against Oxford United. I’m delighted to invite the directors, staff, players and supporters from the Kassam Stadium to what will be a really tough and exciting game ahead.

The games continue to come thick and fast in both league and cup competitions. We had an impressive crowd of over 8,000 at our game against Colchester on Tuesday evening and I was delighted that we moved into the knockout stages of the Papa John’s Trophy. We have tough fixtures ahead and, as I’ve said before, League One is extremely competitive. There has not been a huge margin defining success or victory in many of the games that I’ve seen this season and I’m sure that the matches ahead will be equally challenging. Today, we welcome Oxford who have been in fine form and I’m sure that it will be another exciting encounter in front of another 20,000-plus crowd at Portman Road.

I’m delighted to have Ed Schwartz from ORG with us today, representing the pension fund who are the major investors in the Club. Ed has spent most of the week with me at Portman Road, taking time to look around the facilities here and at the training ground and taking more time to understand and learn about the Club in detail. It’s been an absolute privilege to have Ed with us and I can’t thank him enough for his continued support.

At last weekend’s FA Cup game, we were honoured to have George Mariner as a guest in the boardroom. George is a real friend of the Football Club and, having spoken to him over the week, I can now confirm that we will be celebrating his father Paul’s life, when we play Plymouth later in the season. Further details of that will be announced in due course.

It was also great to host our second formal Fans’ Forum at Portman Road earlier this week. All of the tickets were taken up and over 11,000 supporters have now watched via our Youtube channel. It was a really enjoyable evening and a great opportunity for fans to ask questions and meet Ed Schwartz for the first time. On a personal note, I can’t thank the supporters enough for their positivity and support that they are giving both me and the leadership team.

On that note, I’ve said time and time again that we have to work together to take this club forwards. You will have seen us announce our #PackOutPR campaign yesterday. I can’t reiterate the importance of this enough. We want to achieve a gate of over 28,000. We want to show the football world that we mean business and create an amazing atmosphere here at Portman Road. I’m delighted to be able to inform you that, for the Sunderland game which takes place a week before Christmas, all of the American board members and directors will be here together. That in itself is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to show what this football club is really about. We have launched a campaign that incorporates the Sunderland, Wycombe and Lincoln home games over the festive period. I would ask fans to get involved with and support the campaign to help us drive attendances. Encourage friends, family and colleagues to come to Portman Road and experience the atmosphere. We want to create something very special and, together, I genuinely believe we can do that. Once again, support the #PackOutPR campaign, get behind the Club and get behind the boys today. You have been absolutely fantastic. Together, we can do this.

Enjoy the game,

Mark Ashton

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