Guiseley Football Club is in a new, exciting phase and wants to reach out to a wider audience according to its new Chairman James Ferguson.
“The ultimate aim is for Guiseley AFC to be a self-sustaining model that has its destiny in its own hands,” said the man who recently stepped into the shoes of retiring Chairman Phil Rogerson.
Ferguson, the Commercial Director of Otley-based Tate Fuel Oils, added:”One of our biggest commitments is to progress up a league into the Football League and we have to have the infrastructure in place to achieve that.”
As the club approaches a third season in the National League, the highest level of Non-League football, Ferguson spoke of the work that has gone on over the Summer months to improve facilities at Nethermoor.
“We have removed the old hospitality buildings and office and are currently installing a new modular building to include and improve on those aspects of the club. Overall this will improve the look and feel of Nethermoor and will also offer improved facilities for our commercial partners.
“Those partners, and indeed any new ones we can attract, are vital to our success on and off the field and as we move forward we will be looking to establish a GAFC Business Club with a dedicated website for our commercial partners which will help to enhance their profiles.
“We also plan to hold regular networking events and encourage inner trade amongst our sponsors. Hopefully that will help them to get a bigger return for their investment in our club. We hope that it will also appeal to potential new sponsors.”
After two seasons of battling for survival on the final day of the National League season Ferguson is looking to Guiseley making a better fist of things in the coming season and said that the first priority was staying up but in a more comfortable manner than the last two seasons.
“We have given our manager Adam Lockwood a competitive budget that will hopefully enable us to achieve our aim. In terms of players Adam has worked hard to retain many of last season’s squad and we have already signed up more than double the amount of players we had at this time last season.
“Adam has done a fantastic job. He and his assistant Dave Penney have identified the key players they want and there are some big names in the pipeline but there are ongoing negotiations, some involving compensation, and supporters will have to be patient before all is revealed.”
As well as the changes to the hospitality and office areas Ferguson highlighted other progress made at the ground in the close season.
There have been some improvements to the changing rooms and there will be a new players’ medical room.
The electronic scoreboard provided by the Supporters Club will be finally up and running after being hard wired to cut out the previous WiFi problems.
There will also be work done to lower the dug outs to enable better spectator viewing on the terrace behind them.
The new catering facility, built at the Railway End of the seated stands, will be in use as the prime outlet in the coming season with the catering van only brought in for segregated games.
The new Chairman, who had previously worked with Silsden FC, is eagerly looking forward to a pre-season with home games lined up against Leeds United, Barnsley, Bradford City, Doncaster Rovers and Darlington.
“We have some great friendlies lined up and at these we will be trying things out to improve the match atmosphere.
“I did suggest having a drum and asked for opinions on our club forum but that idea was quickly vetoed by the majority of our supporters!”, laughed Ferguson.
He added:”We are looking to our supporters to make suggestions for improving the atmosphere. Last season, mainly away from home, our supporters made themselves heard to great effect. We are looking for them to improve on that at home as it can be a game changer. We need our supporters to well and truly become our twelfth man. I am a great believer in having that twelfth man, it really does help the team.”
The new man in the hot seat concluded:”Overall we have to constantly improve and strengthen year on year or the stimulation will decrease. We have to make sure that we are hungry enough to drive this forward and keep improving.”