Yeovil Town have announced the appointment of club co-owner Norman Hayward to the board of Yeovil Football and Athletic Club Limited - i.e. Yeovil Town Football Club. Mr Hayward has for some time been a director of the Huish Park Stadium Partnership, along with John Fry, which owns Yeovil Town, but until now has not officially had a direct input into the running of the football club itself.
The statement issued tonight on the club's official site describes Mr Hayward as a "major shareholder" and suggests that the move to appoint him onto the main Huish Park board is as a part of a review of the club's "operating costs" and "operating structure". Club Chairman and co-owner John Fry explains why the appointment has been made:
"Over the past few years a profound change has taken place in the football business, which is wreaking havoc on the running of clubs in the lower leagues. In addition to this and for some considerable time now, all clubs have been operating under very tough trading conditions. We are not immune from this, and after a season on season fall in gate receipts, a full audit of our operating costs with that of a "behind the scenes" review of our operating structure, has now been concluded. As a result of this review and on the recommendations of the executive committee, the directors will be implementing changes to safeguard the future stability and security of the club. I am pleased that as a director, Mr Hayward, will now be involved in the "front line" decision making on the future development of the club."
The statement officially and explicitly credits Mr Hayward for providing financial contributions to help build the roof over the home terrace at Huish Park. This is something that has been widely assumed to be the case, but is the first instance of the club firmly stating this as an on-the-record fact. Mr Hayward is also given the credit for the decision to change the club from a part time outfit into a full time professional side in the summer of 2000.
Norman was previously on Yeovil Town's board of directors around the turn of the Century, and was at one point the club's majority shareholder. However, he sold his shareholding to Jon Goddard-Watts in November 2001. However, rumours began to circulate that he was taking an interest in the club again during early 2006, but without him having a formal position at the club. He was eventually confirmed as co-owner of the Huish Park Stadium Partnership along with Mr Fry, and now has come full circle in accepting a formal directorship on the club's main board. Mr Hayward says of the current situation:
"I feel very positive about what is happening at Huish Park, and also about Terry Skiverton, the players, the off field staff and our future prospects in the Football League. I am determined to continue the club's progress, as we look to develop an even more professional, open and effective business structure, whilst at the same time being sensitive to the needs of the fans who support our club so passionately."
Certainly given that most supporters have assumed for a number of years that Norman Hayward has had a significant involvement in the running of Yeovil Town Football Club, his formal appointment as a visible director on the company board has to be seen as a step in the right direction. What the club now need to do is to communicate the detail of the changes that are being planned and to sell them to supporters in terms of how they will push the club in a forward direction.
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