Chairman's Notes | Preston
Welcome back to the Liberty Stadium for another tough Championship test against Preston North End.
I’m pleased to say we will be going into the game on the back of an excellent start to the campaign following our 2-1 victory at the Liberty over Hull City on the opening day, before an excellent point from our goalless draw at Derby County.
Four points from the first six is a good start, although I know Steve Cooper wanted all six and will be going all out to maintain our unbeaten start this afternoon with another home win.
I spoke in my last programme notes how pleased I was with the new set-up in the backroom team led by Steve. Also, the addition of new signings Jake Bidwell, Ben Wilmot and Freddie Woodman.
Since then there was a bit more activity on the player front before the Championship transfer window closed on August 8.
We did well to bring in Sam Surridge on loan from Bournemouth and Aldo Kalulu from FC Basel, plus the permanent signing of Kristoffer Peterson (Heracles Almelo). All three players will strengthen our forward line and provide plenty of competition for places for the busy season ahead.
We have also welcomed Andre Ayew back into the fold following his loan spell in Turkey last season and his summer competing in the African Cup of Nations.
Andre proved against Northampton Town in the Carabao Cup in midweek what a good player he is after coming off the bench to score twice and secure us a place in the second round against Cambridge United at the Liberty. It was great to see the reception he received on Tuesday evening and although I’m not sure what the next couple of weeks hold for him I’m sure we would all be happy if he were still here scoring more goals for us this season.
I think supporters were also excited to see the debut performance of young winger Jordon Garrick as a second-half substitute. Jordon was one of seven players involved in the 18 on Tuesday who have progressed through the under-23 side, including senior debuts for Kees de Boer and Ben Cabango.
That progression augurs well for the future of the club, especially when you have a head coach like Steve at the helm with an excellent track record of working with and developing young players.
Back to the transfer window and we saw Jefferson Montero complete a season-long loan to Birmingham and Courtney Baker-Richardson to Accrington Stanley. With the window still open until the end of the month in League One and Two, Scotland and abroad, we may see a few more of the club’s youngsters go out on loan as part of their ongoing development.
Off the field, we are continuing to look at ways of restructuring the business side of the club so that we are more efficient and professional in everything we do going forward.
Chris Pearlman is leaving us as COO this week and I would like to say thank you to Chris for his contribution over the last two-and-a-half years and wish him well in his new role stateside. I have taken the opportunity to appoint a new Senior Management Team to support me and the business that will consist of Andrew Davies (Head of Operations, Facilities & Development); Gareth Davies (Chief Financial Officer); Rebecca Edwards-Symmons (Head of Commercial) and Jonathan Wilsher (Head of Media & Communications).
We will also have a strong management team supporting that team covering the various departments and, with everyone working together, I am convinced we can achieve great things.
I also see the community and our supporters as part of that team. I’ve said before my focus is not global but local and while we will continue to look to build our fan base abroad and appreciate that support, our heart beats the strongest in our local community.
It’s also important to keep building and strengthening our links with the community. To do that, I also want to enhance the work we do through our Community Trust who continue to do some amazing work in the community and would like to think that a closer working relationship with the Supporters Trust should be a natural link to facilitate this objective.
I know how important our fans are and we will need to support each other for this football club to thrive.
Enjoy the game
P.S: I would like to welcome the directors, staff and players of Preston North End to the Liberty Stadium.