Good afternoon and welcome to both sets of supporters, as well as the officials from Notts County.

Tony Daws has decided to step down after holding the fort as interim manager. Tony is claret and blue through-and-through, and I respect and understand his decision. Tony will continue as Academy Manager with Michael Nelson overseeing first team affairs until further notice. 

Due to the passing of my father I have had to spend some time away from the club over the last couple of weeks. I have managed to attend both of our recent away games at Dagenham and Wealdstone and thank you for your continued support during difficult times. I have not missed a league game since returning to the club in April and feel the pain of defeat maybe too much at times. 

As a club and as a team on and off the pitch we are finding it really difficult at present. I must thank the staff for their patience and understanding. We all know there has to be a resolution to the current situation, sooner rather than later. 

Takeover speculation is unsettling for everyone connected to the football club and that uneasy atmosphere does affect employees and fans alike. I have been in professional football for 38 years, every day of my working life, since I left school in 1984 and this is probably the most testing period I have endured. 

We have been on the wrong end of a few decisions recently which have ultimately cost us valuable points. The standard of officiating in the last two games has been below the required level in my opinion, and I have made my feelings known to the referee’s assessors. The professionalism of the National League unfortunately is not mirrored by quality of the officials. 

Notts County are going to be a tough nut to crack and will no doubt fancy their chances against us today. There is no possibility of adding to our squad until our destiny regarding new ownership is completed, equally injuries and players banned made Tony’s job even more difficult. Trust me, we have identified and discussed numerous players that we would like to add to the squad, I have spent hours speaking to clubs about players that will improve the squad but the position is clear that until a takeover happens we must dig in and compete with what we have, and get right behind this group of staff and players. 

We have to strive to get results with a positive mentality that galvanises the players and fans to fight for every point. Keyboard warriors and faceless instigators will always abuse and criticise, bad mouthing everything that we as club employees are scrapping every day to try and improve under extreme measures. My door is always open, I try and update when I can regarding club issues, I will not bow down to anyone regarding when and what I should say. I want to be factual and truthful and have gained a number of our supporters’ trust by doing this. Equally a number of fans will not be satisfied that my last couple of updates have been via the club programme, which in years gone by was the only medium of communication. I have done a radio interview with BBC Radio Humberside, updated in the Maidstone programme and have spoken face-to-face with a number of our fans at games home and away. We can’t facilitate a Fans Forum at the moment because the one question you want answering has no answer at present. I understand your frustrations and once we have clarity then yes we will be arranging Q&As, etc. 

Our group of incredibly hard working volunteers have again humbled me and the staff with a new lick of paint to smarten up Glanford Park. Volunteer Julie Taylor has worked tirelessly since I came back to the club in April. Julie turns up nearly every day to put a real shift in. Today we celebrate Julie’s achievements by bestowing the honour of the PL Community Captain to her for the contribution she has made to club and community - commitment that is deservedly recognised! Thank you, Julie. 

Ian Baraclough comes back to GP today. Ian played for both us and Notts County with great successes at both clubs. Ian is a personal friend, former assistant and manager of the Iron and a great guy. Bara most recently managed Northern Ireland and will be back in work very soon no doubt given his fantastic coaching skills and superb man management. I’m sure you will show Bara your appreciation today and thank him for his years of service. In my opinion, one of our best ever signings who sweated blood for SUFC, a true great! Brilliant player, brilliant lad. 

Sheffield United have been in town recently, after agreeing a deal for their Womens, Under-21s and Youth Cup team to play here at GP. This agreement not only brings in much needed revenue but also builds relationships. Moving forward, plans to improve the playing surface and floodlights at GP are on the agenda. Sheffield United WFC played versus Everton here last Saturday and they play Aston Villa next Wednesday (December 7th) at 7.30pm.

Sheffield United Under-21s played Newcastle United Under-21s last Monday at GP which was a cracking game, then we host Sheffield United’s Youth team v West Ham in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday 14th December, 7pm kick-off. Many thanks to the ground staff, Nathan, Gaz, Josh and Reg for their excellent work and diligent approach to getting the pitch ready for the heavy games schedule. Season ticket holders will be admitted free to all games played here by Sheffield United here at GP this season unless games are deemed to be behind closed doors. 

I’m not going to lie, the last few weeks have been a real challenge, professionally and personally but we must roll our sleeves up, look people in the eye and get fired up! 

The chance to upset the odds, ruffle a few magpie feathers and get GP bouncing today is a challenge that everyone associated with the Iron must grasp, and fight tooth and nail for every inch to move us forward! 

You get kicked when you are down, knocked down and put on the canvas at times, it’s how you react, respond and start to fight back! Iron in the blood, actions speak louder than words!


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