Iron chairman Peter Swann has today answered questions sent in by Iron-Bru.com readers. We would like to thank Peter for taking the time to take part and hope that it can become a fairly regular feature!
On the new stadium…
Is all going to plan with infrastructure and change of status to the M181 which will be needed to allow both construction and access to the new ground once constructed? Those elements will be beyond the control of you and the club but are critical for the scheme to be delivered when you have stated it will. (BadApple, Forum)
We believe that both Highways and the local Council have this in hand and although you are right in that the access is needed, we have full confidence it will.
What is Department for Transport’s completion date for the necessary road works for safe access to the stadium? (Lichfieldlad, Forum)
Access can be done on a temporary order so we can build and whilst this is happening the remaining infrastructure for the roads will be completed as required.
How many local workers will be employed on the new stadium project? (Silverback, Forum)
Overall we are looking at several hundred local jobs being created during the build and another 300 when it is completed.
How many new full time jobs will be created by the new stadium project? (Silverback, Forum)
How many part time jobs will be created by the new stadium? (Silverback, Forum)
Will any of the part time jobs be zero hours contracts? (Silverback, Forum)
Probably. What you must understand is that some of these Zero hour contract jobs are appreciated by a lot of people and in an industry where football is not all year around you can understand why they are necessary. If we can do without these contracts we will do what we can.
How many local suppliers will be used for the new stadium project? (Silverback, Forum)
We are unsure at this moment, but it makes sense to use local suppliers where we can unless they are overpriced. We still have a budget to maintain.
What do you estimate the new stadium will pump into the local economy? (Silverback, Forum)
Over the next 20 years I would be disappointed if it didn’t benefit the local community in excess of £100million pounds
Will the entire project be completed at the same time as the ground? (hes a sad apple, Forum)
We will phase a few sections of the build over the next 18 months but we will be in the stadium next season.
Are we using the latest grass with the synthetic grass strands mixed in? (hes a sad apple, Forum)
We are going to use the highest grade of turf available.
When will the stadium build commence? (Iron Forever, Forum)
I am a little worried that some people who have no transport will struggle to get to the new stadium for a midweek game? Are the club looking to put on buses for these people? (Forum)
A full transport and accessibility programme has been done and although it will take time, we shall ensure there is enough public transport available.
Would you consider naming the stadium itself ‘The Blast Furnace’ whilst keeping ‘Iron Arena’ as a general name for the park overall? (Ironboot, Forum)
No, mainly due to the limited amount of sponsors who would adorn themselves with the “Blast Furnace”. I believe we should align the stadium name with the new sponsors, whoever that may be.
Is it true we are £5 million short on funding for the ground, if so where’s it going to come from? (John Henderson, Facebook)
No, this is incorrect.
What is your current estimate for the cost of the new stadium, and is financing in place? (PStoff, Forum)
The stadium is going through many changes and quite sensitive ones regarding the possible tenants. I can say though that finance is in place and the stadium cost is in excess of £18 million. We hope we can confirm more details in the next few weeks when commercial terms are agreed.
What will be the actual size of the pitch (in Yards)? (Lichfieldlad, Forum)
The size of the pitch will be the maximum allowed.
It’s regarding the lettering arrangements in the seating throughout the new stadium. On the main 5000 seater stand, the word ‘IRON’ is arranged into the seating. May it be possible to arrange adding the letters ‘SUFC’ on the opposite 3000 seater away stand designated for away supporters and even adding ‘1899’ the year the club was formed or the word ‘UNITY’, onto each of the 2000 seater stands behind the goals? (Simran Nijjar, Email)
This is something we will consider when we get to that point in construction
Is it still your plans to have the padded seating throughout the stadium, as seen in stadium:MK and at the Emirates? (Simran Nijjar, Email)
Who will OWN the new stadium and if not SUFC how much will the rent be? (J McCartney, Twitter)
SUFC will own the stadium
On Glanford Park…
Is there any update regarding the plans for Glanford Park once the club has relocated, and any more news as to any interested parties regarding re-developing the site? (Simran Nijjar, Email)
We have a few ideas and quite a bit of interest, but that will happen after we move.
Is it true Bibby Distribution are interested in the Glanford Park site? (Iron-Bru.com)
I have had no communication with them, but I will discuss all options.
Are we putting up a big screen at GP to trial before we can move it to the new stadium? This was muted previously? (M West, Email)
It is not in our plans to do that but there will be at least one screen at the new stadium.
Was there ever any serious interest in the naming rights for Glanford Park? (PStoff, Forum)
On the forthcoming season…
How many more players are United aiming to recruit? (WonderGoals, Forum)
Not many more now. We are looking to bring in a couple more in key positions. The squad has taken shape relatively early as we had planned.
What will we need to achieve next season in order for it to be deemed a success? (Forum)
We are aiming for a top six finish. Although with the building of the stadium you could envisage a top ten finish being a huge success.
Are we still on course for a top 4 budget this summer? (BishopsFinger, Forum)
Probably Top 6 as a few other clubs are spending as well!
How are SUFC funding all these signings? What debt is the club carrying, what are the annual repayments on that debt? (J McCartney, Twitter)
The signings are being funded by share purchase by us, so there is no risk to the club. The club need only ever repay debt when it can afford it and with no detriment to itself.
Will we be making anymore marquee signings? (Liza Pye, Facebook)
They are all marquee signings!
How many season tickets we’ve sold? What’s the target and does it affect our future spending in line with the FFP play (I know FFP doesn’t exist as such in L1 but what if we get to the Championship? (A McCartney, Twitter)
I am genuinely not sure on numbers but we are happy- although could be happier. It doesn’t affect our spending at this stage, but may in the future if we do not get things right.
On the future…
What is your longer term vision for the club? Is it to become established in the Championship, which would clearly require a lot of cash, or to become established as a successful League One side with forays into the Championship, which is probably more realistic. Or, dare I ask, is it to try to get to the Premier League, being realistic, on a ‘one-season wonder’ basis? (Bucksiron, Forum)
We need to establish ourselves in the Championship and when we are there do everything to stay there. The money that will be available at that level over the coming seasons is excellent and we need to be part of it.
As part of the longer term vision, how are you addressing the risk that the club could over-stretch and find itself deeply in debt? (Bucksiron, Forum)
I am not putting the club at any risk. If investment is needed it will not be in repayable loans. We need a business model that ensures we cannot risk the club in the future and that is what I will deliver.
Why has the age for senior tickets been changed from 60 to 65 at a time when the club is supposedly trying to bring fans back and build attendances. Many people in their 50s have retired in the last few years from the towns main employer and not all with huge payouts. I for one am 60 shortly and intended buying a season ticket but will now have to have another season being selective in my attendance. Yes many clubs senior are 65 but many are also 60, Leeds, Sheffield united and Doncaster to name 3 close by. Why change it and penalize the older long time fans? (Pipster55, Forum)
We understand that this will not suit everybody, but we are coming into line with society. People are retiring later in life and working longer. We as a club will ensure that over the coming season or so, that the senior fans will have some extra benefits, so please bear with us.
In which year will the club next make a profit? (bananaskin, Forum)
We really hope that with the new stadium the club could be making money pretty quickly. However I would rather break even and have the money for investment in players and the academy over the coming years.
How many fans do we need to attend to break even in the next season? (bananaskin, Forum)
More than we have now!
Mr Swann, as loyal supporters who have followed the Iron for more than 40 years, how can we assist you in making this the greatest little club in the football league? (BrianIron, Forum)
Keep coming to the club and enjoy the next few years, I promise that my family will ensure its future and give you something back for that loyal support.
Are we going to have the Unity fist back any time soon? (BishopsFinger, Forum)
We are considering it.
Has he put any guarantees in place to protect the club should, in a number of years time he decides he’s lost too much money. What if it’s not working and is now time to get out? After all the fans will still be here! (Si Waters, Facebook)
Yes, there will be lots of things in place to cover that eventuality. The most important thing is the ground and somewhere to play. I promise that I will secure the future of the club in its home for the foreseeable future. You only need see my commitment to Trinity and that I cleared all loans and debts the club had on leaving. However I am afraid you will have me here for a long time, so get used to it!
Is our merchandising going to be more on the ball than previous years i.e kits out earlier and more thought about what is actually sold in the shop. Also even if we can’t go back to the fist badge can we please design something with a bit more class than the current Disney type badge? (mapleiron, Forum)
We begin the journey with the shop coming back into our control in the new stadium and the onset of a new marketing team.
On the Iron Trust…
What do you feel about the Trust’s change in membership options? (Iron-Bru.com)
They should have gone to committee, that’s what they stand for. It’s a rudimental change and one that should have been discussed with all the members. It need not have been a costly EGM, just a consultation.
Do you believe that you have treated the Trust fairly in the past and would you be willing to work with them in the future if they represented a bigger section of the fanbase? (M West, Email)
I believe that the trust could play an important part in the clubs future, however it needs to grow and represent the fans on a larger scale. Remember it is only very young and these organisations usually come to the fore when a club is in trouble and needs fan backing. Fortunately the club is moving in a great direction supported by myself and my family.
We must also recognise that there are other fans groups who have been going longer and have greater membership, we should not alienate them or force them to form one group. They have their own identity and are just as important.
Some fans think that the treatment of the trust has alienated sections of the support, how would you respond to this? (DragonIron, Forum)
I do not feel I have treated the trust poorly; I have just been completely honest with them. Whilst we are putting huge amounts of money into the club and investing in it I cannot see a trust board member being on the board.
Buying shares as an organisation is a waste of money as the shares are being diluted every time I put a £1 in. The focus should be on building links via projects in and around the club and I am sure over the coming years that will happen.
On new staff…
What benefits will we see in the areas of the club where you have brought in new staff? (PStoff, Forum)
We hope that the new staff will drive us forward and onto a new level. The clubs income will increase six fold over the coming years and we need many different talents within our operation to make that a successful transition. Customer service and quality of product is going to be key.
Are you looking to add to the board? If so, what skills are you looking for? (PStoff, Forum)
If the right person comes along we will consider them, spending power will be key. We are however moving towards our professional staff becoming board members, where applicable, as they have huge motivation to ensure the club is run correctly.
On the charity sponsor…
I like having a charity on our shirt. Will we have any further links with the charity? (PStoff, Forum)
Yes, it is a superb charity and one which we can give a helping hand towards. Prostate Cancer need not be a killer!
The catering tried different menus and one off specials lasts year like the pulled pork, but it did not look appealing. Can we have better bread buns, like those used for a McDonalds chicken legend and not frozen hard chewy ones?(BishopsFinger, Forum)
Any return for chunky chips? (BishopsFinger, Forum)
I hope so. I love them as you can probably see!
On away ticketing…
Will the club try to negotiate a reciprocal arrangement with other L1 clubs to keep away fan ticket prices at £20 or below? Several clubs did this last season and it is a reward for the loyal travelling fans. (J Needham, Email)
We are looking at this and also a few other options to reward away fans.
Any other questions…
Are we going to have a shop in the town centre or at least a ticketing outlet? Café Indie was muted last season. (Iron-Bru.com)
That is of interest and we are considering it.
Why is it when I write to the club with suggestions, ideas or complaints I never get a reply!? (Julie Taylor, Facebook)
You will now. Please direct the suggestions to Jim Rodwell
If you could sign any player for the iron (finance the key) who would you sign? (Chris Green, Twitter)
Why has Iron player taken a payment from my account? I joined for 1 month ages ago- this week it took a payment out of the blue? (fans64, Forum)
I am unsure, but our team will help you, so please give the club a ring.
If you could ask your future self a question, what would it be? (Steve Bocock, Facebook)
Why the hell did I put myself and my family through all that?!
What about an incentive to those who are thinking about sponsoring kits? (Twitter)
We hope that the signings we have made and the investment in the club for this season will be incentive enough. You will have the players shirt and opportunity to have your photo taken with the player and I think this is great value.
Have any acts been booked for the opening of the stadium? (FC Star, Twitter)
We will probably put acts on in the spring of 2017 after we have settled in.
What is your relationship like with Iron Bru. Do you envisage you will be able to carry out a similar Q&A with Iron Bru in the future? (BishopsFinger, Forum)
Hopefully. Maybe I can ask the questions?
This has given every opportunity for your forum to post a question to me. The only thing I would ask is that when people post on the forum they consider what they write re us personally. It is alright moaning and groaning, but if they have a true wish to understand me or my family ask us directly, don’t guess.
If people don’t like us fine, but we have the club at heart and will endeavour to make the right decisions. It is easy to criticise these decisions when there are no consequences, consequences we deal with every day.