By Mike Gilham
It has been three months since I started working in this new role and so at this point it would be right to share an update with our club members and wider supporters.
I knew before joining the Board of Directors just what this football club meant to the local community and since undertaking this role I have been blown away by the level of professionalism, enthusiasm and commitment from a workforce that is largely volunteers.
Firstly, I want to be clear about what this role is at our community club. There are many different versions of the role across football – some with different titles ranging from Director of Football to Sporting Director or Technical Director. Each role seems to have slightly different levels of focus. At our club, the role is about connecting the boardroom and the pitch and joining together different areas of the club. Think of it as spokes of a wheel – men’s first team, women’s first team, academy, community, medical, sport science, recruitment, loans and performance analysis – it’s about aligning all of those areas together and getting everyone to move in the same direction.
The big project in motion now is an update of our club wide coaching and playing philosophy. We need to determine what it is our teams stand for, how they want to play and how they want to coach from 2022 and beyond. This process is not a quick one and will involve all our football staff to pull this together but once we have that, we have something that further sets us apart.
There have been some areas of focus over the past few months that have been quicker wins. We’ve implemented a scouting network, analysing our opposition, and looking for talented local players to join our teams. We’ve added more medical support in a partnership with Solent University, added more sport science support and grown our community outreach in a partnership with Dove House School. We’ve also worked hard to revise our processes behind the scenes which is less exciting but equally very important.
My role is very forward looking and about planning for the future. We’re developing a strategy for our Women’s side of the club, we’re working on player recruitment for next season, we’re planning new teams for next season, new coaching and support staff and trying to improve and professionalise things on the way. We’re building our portfolio of partners with some announcements on that to follow.
It is an exciting time for our club.