I’m sure it was coincidental, but in-between the news of Paul Farman leaving and Harry Toffolo arriving, the club’s official website put out an interview, 60 seconds with Kevin Cooke.
Kevin has held an executive role at the club for four years now, once even interviewing me for a role at the club. However, his links go way back, as far as our emergence from administration and the Keith years. Whilst the news of him stepping down from executive duties might have slipped by, I wanted to ensure the Stacey West got thanks on record for his work, especially over the last four years.
In answer to a question in the interview ‘we understand you intend to step back, Kevin had his to say:
“At the time I was drafted in to the Club, the Club was going through a difficult time and every day was a challenge. Initially, it was a struggle to keep the Club afloat with the demands placed upon us by the Bank and with us fighting off the occasional winding up order. We quickly steadied the ship, brought some stability back to the Club and then, with the assistance of new investment from Sportvest, created a foundation upon which to build. The last two years have been tremendous and the Club is totally unrecognisable from what it was four years ago. My background is financial management and so to step down from my executive duties at a time when the Club has such financial stability is a source of personal pride for me, especially as the Club was virtually broke when I took on the role four years ago.”
Kevin perhaps came to prominence during the first season under the Cowleys where, as Managing Director, he was often in the media explaining ticketing allocations and the like during our great cup run. It was Kevin Cooke at the end of the touchline as Danny darted to Theo Robinson and back at Solihull Moors too. Slowly, he’s drifted into the background amidst Liam’s appointment and that of Tony Bilbie, but his input and dedication should not go without acknowledgement.
I have spoken to Kevin a few times, it was him that suggested my first book go into the club shop and as I mentioned, he interviewed me for a role at the club back in 2015. We spoke for several hours in the interview about the club, the direction he wanted to go in and how he hoped it would progress. This was pre-Clive too, a time when the club was struggling to make ends meet. Kevin spoke passionately about the whole club, not just the playing staff but every aspect of the club. Nobody could question his desire or commitment and that thoroughly impressed me. For the record, I was invited back for a second interview but chose to not mix business and pleasure as it were, something I regret immensely.
Kevin will now chair ‘ExCo’, something you can read more about in the link provided. He’ll still be a figure at the club, but his withdrawal from executive matters is now complete. I’m sure there are many who would echo my thanks to him, perhaps Helgy amongst the loudest voices for the unwavering support he gave the FPS and other fund-raising ideas at a time when every penny counted and every pound mattered.