Chief Executive looks back at his first 12 months at the club...
A year into his role as Chief Executive, Barry Webber took time in his programme notes on Saturday to reflect on his first 12 months on and off the pitch at Stevenage FC.
If you missed it then you can read his column from the Oxford programme below...
"Well, I have now been part of the Boro family for 12 months and what a 12 months it has been.
"First was the warm welcome I received from everyone connected with the club, not least you our fantastic supporters. Then there was the exhilaration of our FA Cup adventure last season with a memorable day here against Everton, reminding the nation of the potential we have. Then the club’s three-year spell in League 1 came to an end which meant a rebuilding exercise both on and off the pitch. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.
"I have the pleasure and pride of writing these notes with the Club sitting just a place outside the play-offs and being the in-form team in the country. Congratulations must go to Graham and the lads for the recent performances that showed our spirit and belief - plus a few ‘goal of the season’ contenders for good measure. Last Saturday at Shrewsbury, our fighting spirit was tested in a highly charged atmosphere against a very good team. Man for man we stood our ground and leaving Greenhous Meadow without three points was a tough blow to take. We deserved more.
"No doubt we will go again this afternoon in confident, but not complacent, mood. We welcome everyone connected with Oxford United and their travelling support will add with our own to make a tremendous atmosphere. I know that we gave as good as we got in the last meeting back in September and am sure Graham will have everyone fired up again.
"Off the pitch I would like to highlight the increasing momentum in our activities, particularly in fan engagement and community participation. I have always said I want all fans to feel they have a voice, are appreciated with their loyalty rewarded and, importantly are listened to constructively as we seek improvements in all that we do. A year ago, we started with going back to our roots to understand the Boro DNA which resulted in a club rebrand and the launch of the ‘Passion, Pride, Ambition – it’s in our DNA’ corporate video.
"We then looked at our season tickets and we took the brave decision to be the first club in the country to align our ticket bands to school years. We now have 1,159 season ticket holders, up from 909 last season. We have more than doubled the amount of U12 season ticket holders in the past 12 months as highlighted recently by the BBC. Our average league crowd is up by 202 even though the away gate at the Lamex is down by 122 fans on average. This means 324 more Stevenage FC fans are turning up to cheer on the team week in, week out. We now have more than 250 fans carrying a loyalty card and benefiting from the discounts on offer. In 12 months we have grown the amount of known Boro fans from 8,971 to 21,895 and seen our social media numbers go through the roof with Facebook likes going from 3,952 to 33,205 and Twitter followers going from 11,615 to 19,131.
"More Stevenage FC fans are turning up to cheer on the team week in, week out"
"We are clearly moving in the right direction. Fan initiatives like the open day, Meet the Chairman/Manager events and the launch of the Supporter Advisory Board are having a positive impact. On matchdays the launch of the Community Zone has been a success. We had a record 1,011 participants on our summer soccer camps, 333 more than last year. We launched the shadow squads and development centres to help strengthen the academy infrastructure and we are working on strategic alliances with the local businesses, youth leagues, North Herts College and the University of Hertfordshire to help deliver on our promise to bring new faces to The Lamex.
"We have new partnerships in place with Tottenham Hotspur U21s, and with Arriva and Roaring Meg in terms of matchday travel and parking. We have invested a huge amount of time and effort to improve the matchday experience for all. We will continue to be creative and launch ticket promotions like 'half-term, half price' and we will be inviting kids to apply for a matchday role in a 'kids takeover' event.
"All in all, we have a robust, well-run business that is supporting the team on the pitch in every way it can. Indeed, the North Stand project is progressing behind the scenes and we hope our Chairman will have something to discuss in the near future. So it’s been a busy but thoroughly enjoyable 12 months. I’m excited by what the future holds for all connected to Stevenage FC and thank you all for the significant part you are playing.
"We simply could not do any of this without you."
Barry took part in the ALS ice bucket challenge back in August
You can read the thoughts from the boardroom of either Chairman Phil Wallace or Chief Executive Barry Webber in each home match day programme. Priced at just £3 the programme is 66 pages full of the latest news, columns and fun features suitable for all ages and can be purchased around the ground. Our next home game is against Bury on Tuesday 10th February and you can buy tickets for this match right here.