To the fans

MONDAY marks one of the most important moments in my time at Northwich Victoria, the outcome of which could define the future of the club.

For that reason I wanted to write this open letter.

I consider it a privilege to be the chairman of a football club with such a long and successful history as yours.

And, contrary to some of the things said and written about me in the past few weeks by others that claim to have the best interests of the club at heart, I continue to.

It takes a huge amount of work to run a non-league football club the size of Northwich Victoria, let alone rebuild one.

I came to the club in 2007 when it was at rock-bottom, initially to be involved in a development role working with a reserve team and the club’s junior players.

But that changed quickly as the full extent of the club’s problems, both on and off the field, started to become clear.

At the same time, I suffered a personal tragedy in my private life that left me with a decision as to whether I should walk away.

After talks with my family, friends and, in particular, my late wife Phyl, I was persuaded that it was right to try to realise my ambition to build a football club.

By then the club had already got under my skin. It was in my blood.

I, along with a number of others working at the club at that time, decided to try to keep it alive without entering administration. In hindsight, that was a mistake.

Together we paid out several hundred thousand pounds as costs spiralled and skeletons linked to the previous regime’s running of the club continued to come out of the closet.

Players were being paid more than the club could afford, leaving us with no option but to enter administration in 2009.

That was a turning point, and from that point I vowed to rebuild the club from its roots and to trust in what I believed was possible when I first arrived.

I’d like to thank those people that have helped me since that moment, in particular Rob Millington and Ray Small who run Northwich Victoria’s junior section.

I’d like as well to mention Dave Smith, who authored a development plan for an infrastructure at the Victoria Stadium site that could serve to support the club long into the future.

Derek Nuttall and Dave Thomas, who between them have given a lifetime of work with little or no reward, and Joe Biddle who also has given many years of loyal service to the club.

I’ve made mistakes, many of them, in the past four years. Given good health, and an opportunity to continue as chairman, I will likely make a few more.

But I am not too proud to hold up my hands and admit it. I also vow to work hard each day to avoid repeating them.

That said it is disappointing when a minority of supporters, at the slightest sign of stormy waters, jump into lifeboats and start to row in the opposite direction.

While they do, others stay behind to try to find a solution to the problems that arise.

I’d like to go on record expressing my sincere gratitude to those supporters, both of this club and others, for your support and best wishes during what is unquestionably a tough moment.

Together we have experienced many highs, and also lows, but I remain convinced that we share the same desire to keep alive Northwich Victoria so it can add new chapters to that illustrious history.

Yours sincerely
Jim Rushe