Welcome to Sincil Bank…

This morning sees the arrival of brand new Chief Executive, Liam Scully. On behalf of the Stacey West I’d like to wish him the very best of luck in his new role. Although the club is in great shape, Liam will have an awful lot on his plate as he contemplates how to ensure the club continues to become ‘EFL ready’.

I am a pro-club writer as you know and I will always try to promote the Imps as best I can. I am also an independent writer however, and I am not going to pretend that everything is rosy behind the scenes. The club has operated on a skeleton staff for an awfully long time, and through the summer many of the staff have been besieged and beleaguered as we attempt to enter the all-new EFL structure with an incredibly low head-count. Today, Liam Scully enters a club that desperately needs his experience and direction. That isn’t a criticism of anybody currently working for the club, they’ve done a great job under extreme pressure.

The first thing I’m sure he will be looking at is communication. Overall this summer has brought many new challenges, not least the new ticketing system. On the whole it has gone very well, but there are still issues as we saw with conflicting reports at the Wycombe game. Many fans missed out on our return to the Football League as the message from the club seemed to be we had sold out. Just hours later that message changed, but it wasn’t made entirely clear. That resulted in a couple of hundred people not attempting to buy tickets when they would like to have travelled. I’m not one for demanding explanations or pulling the club down needlessly, but I hope the crossed communication wires will be addressed.

I would imagine one of the main topics he’ll be addressing is the potential for a fan zone at the club too. It seems to be a staple of Football League clubs now, and with the number of fans coming to games it would be crazy to rely on the TP Suite alone. It would seem the only option for such a zone is at the South Park end of the ground, and if it served BBQ food such as is already available in the bar, and plastic bottles of beer as we’ve seen elsewhere, I’m sure it would be a roaring success. Towards the end of last season many fans came to the ground with money in their pocket to spend, but demand far outstripped supply. I often use the phrase ‘make hay while the sun shines’, and despite the rainy summer the sun is shining on Lincoln City right now. Make hay.

Many staff will no doubt be hoping to get back to doing what they are meant to do. There are a lot of really good people at the club, people who have worked long hours in fields unfamiliar to them in order to make things work. With a Club Secretary to arrive shortly as well it frees up people to get back to their proper jobs. The EFL isn’t the same beast we fell out of in 2011. Licensing is different, social media is different, media is different also. Press conferences are beamed live to your computer, and everyone now has a mobile phone in their pocket. Trademarks are far more important and I wager we’ll see a stop to these unofficial products being hawked about by opportunist entrepreneurs very soon. When the club have time to deal with these things, they will. Did you know by broadcasting live on Facebook in the ground, you’re breaking EFL rules? Even by filming a goal and putting it on Facebook you’re contravening broadcasting rights, and if the club don’t act on it they could be punished by the EFL. That needs policing, and to police it needs people with time.

It would be wrong to pretend everything is perfect at the club, it isn’t. When a business grows it takes on new people, and Lincoln City have gone from 1300 season ticket holders to nearly 6000. That is around a 300% rise, if that brings a 300% increase in workload then it stands to reason that more bodies are needed to make things run smoothly, and Liam’s arrival is a big step towards us addressing the issue. We must remain on the club’s side whilst the teething problems are ironed out, we must be patient with the small ticketing issues, or the double-booked training days. Our business has grown at a rate nobody could have expected or predicted, even the most optimistic of fans. Lincoln City Football Club isn’t just about the first-team, it is about a business from the very top through to the very bottom. The first-team is the saleable product, and whilst they are winning games we must ensure the support structure for the business is in place to both maximise the income from fans, but to also ensure fans are treated with respect, kept well-informed and continue to feel part of the wonderful ethos the club built up last season.

Welcome Liam, I look forward to the impact you can have on our great football club.

 

2 Comments

  1. Good thoughts, Gary. I sent a moany mail to the club about i Follow on Saturday (commentary not working for large parts of the game)…..and I had a reply from John Vickers within a few hours. Impressive. Totally agree about Fan Zone. Let’s give people access to a good experience and let them spend money at the Club.

  2. They won’t put a fan zone at the South Park end due to existing concerns over health and safety risks . As that end has car parking for the box holders and cars and people don’t mix as could be seen at the end of last season. Good idea though

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