In the final part of our Little Acorns series, we look at how the steering group reacted to last week’s exciting news that the NWCFL have conditionally accepted our application to join their league system from next season and we also examine what the next steps in the process will look like.
“It just got serious!”
This was a common thought that passed through the minds of each of us on the FC Isle of Man Steering Group when NWCFL contacted us to inform us of their decision.
Yes, we admit, there was a certain amount of euphoria to start with, but we have quickly returned to earth and our focus is now on completing the tasks and meeting the challenges in front of us that will turn an idea into reality.
Chairman, Gary Weightman, explains:
There was certainly an initial feeling of joy that all the effort the team had put in in pulling the application together had paid off.
There was also a sense of great appreciation for the enthusiasm that the NWCFL had demonstrated in their support for our project. Not to mention, gratitude to the Isle of Man FA and its member clubs who had indicated a high level of support from day one, and everyone who had taken time to join our ‘supporters club book’. We haven’t got to this stage alone. However, despite that early elation it hasn’t taken long for our attention to turn to the hard work that now lies ahead of us.
First of which and perhaps most importantly, we need to make sure we meet those conditional elements which are required by the NWCFL, and of course the English FA, to enable our application to be formally accepted.
However, while official ratification remains in the pipeline, the project has a multitude of tasks that now needs be planned and prepared for, should we receive formal acceptance from the English FA.
FC Isle of Man Sporting Director, Paul Jones, is in no doubts of the challenges that lie ahead but is confident they will be met head on:
Without a doubt we now have an awful lot to do but we have been trying to work a step or two ahead so it’s now a case of moving forwards formally with conversations or workstreams that we have already started. So, we will continue to work with the Government in making the necessary changes at the Bowl while also moving discussions forward around partnership deals with those who have already contacted us, as well as those who may contact us in the weeks and months to come.
On top of that we need to progress the initial work we have done in terms of arranging all the logistical elements of putting on football matches in the NWCFL. This includes the travel logistics for visiting teams, officials and fans, not to mention our own travel requirements for our away fixtures and the infrastructure required for home games so that supporters have a fantastic experience and want to keep coming back!
In addition, we now need to ramp up our plans to enable supporters to become members of Sporting Club IOM (the company that owns FC Isle of Man). The Sporting Club model ensures the football club, and any other sports team that may ultimately come under the SC umbrella, will always be majority community owned. This business model is critical to the club and its success, inside and outside the sporting arena, as we hope those members become the lifeblood of the club.
We will also be considering the ticketing process and options. All of that is super important but we also have much to finalise on the actual football side of things such as manager and player identification, club colours, obtaining kit, working out training schedules and so on. There will also be a huge amount of administration required from a day to day operating perspective and we will need to recruit an army of volunteers to assist with so much of the logistics that goes into running a football club and holding games with big crowds at the Bowl.
This could be pretty daunting for the Project group, if we think about it too much, as we are all volunteers however, we have already shown what can be done in a relatively short period of time and I am very positive that we will be ready come ‘Day One’.
Consequently, while the task list for the project is voluminous all of us on the project team mirror Paul’s confidence and believe it can and will be done and FC Isle of Man will become a reality for the 2020-21 season.
In closing we shouldn’t forget that one of our key objectives is to be a club that the whole of the Isle of Man can be a part of and be proud of.
Chairman, Gary Weightman couldn’t agree more:
More than anything else we are really looking forward to engaging with the island as a whole and making sure that FC Isle of Man becomes the true community club that we envisage it being.
We are highly motivated to meet the aspirations we have for the club and to adhere to our credo to ‘Be Better’ and for the whole club to be as good as it can be in everything it does.
As you can see FC Isle of Man is now moving rapidly onto the next stage of its voyage, and in our next set of blogs, coming in the New Year, we’ll be providing more information about how you can join and be a part of that journey.