Chairman’s New Year Message

I had provided a general club update in my programme notes for the Dartford game but the weather means you won’t get to read them for a few weeks so I thought I’d send out this message in the meantime.

Twerton Park remains a special and unique ground, but does need a bit of TLC in certain areas. Most of you will be aware, part of that process of improvement includes plans for a 3G pitch.

We have been making steady progress and have recently had some great news that we have secured £75k from the B&NES Community Infrastructure Levy fund. We have other funding bids in and are hopeful that these will also be successful and we are still aiming for works to start on this at the end of this season. However, we have struck a slight challenge with the surface we wanted to use. The alternative we have been asked to use isn’t a proven top-quality surface and has not been tested over long periods.  So, whilst looking into the best option for the pitch, we are also talking with the council and the planners about any flexibility. Our aim is to use a proven, quality surface, recommended by other clubs.  We will keep you up to date and hope to have some more clarity in the coming weeks in order to deliver the new pitch over the summer.

The overall redevelopment plan has also sadly slowed down. The market has tightened for funding such projects and, without the ability to put in some element of Purpose Built Student Accommodation, the financial model doesn’t work for the club and our partners.  We are seeking to challenge some of the restrictions placed on us and hope that through presenting a good case to the council, we may be able to generate more support and flexibility to rejuvenate the project and enable it to go ahead successfully.

Both these projects need to work in harmony with each other and a small volunteer team is once more looking at the ancillary facilities needed for the 3G and how that fits in with the longer term, bigger project.  We are frustrated by these hurdles, but rest assured we are all working hard to try and overcome the issues.

The good news is your support remains strong and our attendances in the 13 league games played is a total 20,311, an average of 1562 per match, well up on last year’s 1150!  This of course includes the huge 3500+ crowd for Yeovil, but is still a very healthy increase.  Our revenue per match is also showing a significant increase.

These stats are always tricky to compare directly. We have already staged two big crowd games, Community Day and Family Day this season, but it is encouraging and a reflection on the level of football we have been playing and general good results.

The Bath City Foundation continues to deliver fantastic results off the pitch. We should all be very proud of the work that they do to effect positive change and enhance the lives of people in Bath and North East Somerset through football. They have just released their impact report which shows that last year they supported 3,462 B&NES residents, an increase of 47% on the previous year. With programmes from Man v Fat, Walking Football, Women’s turn up and play sessions plus lots of programmes with young people, including holiday programmes, they deliver on average 41 sessions per week, making sure that the impact of our community club is felt by more people than those of us who support the team at matches. If you’d like to read more about them and see the impact report in full, visit their website.

Nick Blofeld