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QUESTION TIME: 1pm-2.30pm
10:30am Tuesday 16th October 2012 in Sport
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Right ladies and gents, thanks for your time this afternoon. I've enjoyed fielding your questions and I hope that I've been able to help out with any queries you've had.
We plan on making this feature a regular event on the Adver website, so keep an eye out for next week's time.
Until then all the best,
When do you think the players will learn that short corners are a waste most of the time? It’s easier to be offside plus the players are generally under more pressure when crossing after a short corner and so many times it just hits the first man or is closed down. What’s wrong with getting it straight in the mixer? Short corners really do frustrate me!
This is one of the biggest frustrations in the world of football. Slight hyperbole I know but I don't see the point, particularly at this level. Sure, the short corner can create a better angle for the cross but more often than not it doesn't beat the first defender. I'm like you. Get it across!
2:23pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Since 1950 says
Thanks for the discussion Sam. In my view we'll be looking for a new manager before Christmas. Let's hope I am wrong.
You're more than welcome. You may well proved to be right, it's never dull at the County Ground.
Sam, do you think the stadium re-development will actually take place now? I also thought that was Wray's little project. #stfcadver— @Rabcnesbit1982 16 October 2012
2:13pm Tue 16 Oct 12
mustard red says
Sam, I've only just noticed there is a Q&A, so please forgive me if this question has already been asked.
Swindon have had some very dark days in its history, and for me the arrival and subsequent fall out with Terry Brady and his big (non football related) ideas of ground devolopment away from the country ground, was a bad period.
With your brief discussions with Andrew Black, and your meeting yesterday with the new chairman, do you get the impression that 'a focus on building up the commercial side of STFC' is a doffed hat to ground development away from the County Ground?
I have yet to meet Andrew Black, although I hope he will accept our offer of an interview, so it would be hard for me to comment on his thoughts.
I have not heard of any other plans than to redevelop the County Ground, and I believe the "focus on commercial" element of the club's blurb is to build all four walls of the club up at once together rather than erect a skyscraper on the football pitch (metaphorically of course, that would just be ridiculous) and be left with a hut of the other commerical aspects of the business.
2:13pm Tue 16 Oct 12
London Red says
Sam - from your interactions with the players do you think they are actually bothered by PdC's outbursts? Or do they as McEveley hinted at "ignore" the OTT rant and just take the underlying message on board?
As we all know when you do that he has tended to be right - ala Clarke, Caddis and Wes
I think it would be human nature to be affected personally by the public dressing downs he dishes out. We can only go by what they tell us and they say they are all learning from him.
2:11pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Since 1950 says
Sam. If Mr Backhouse were to resign from the board, as Paolo suggested might happen, where do you think this would leave the club?
Could this then be viewed as the dreaded boardroom split?
Also, would you say that from early comments by Sir William that these could be interpreted as diplomatic language for 'Paolo, there's no more money for players'?
I don't think it would be a boardroom split, as there would be very little left of the board.
I think you may be close to hitting the nail on the head.
2:05pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Sam, dont get me wrong Jwray was awesome for following the same vision as Paolo Im just not sure the directors felt the same way at constantly being asked for extra fee and wage money so just seeing it from the boards point of view.
No not yet but as hes said on numerous occasions that unless the board back him financially (or 'sharing the same vision') then he will rethink his position. Basically a contract based on a continous ultimatum in Paolo's favour in order for him to get as high up in the manager's pecking order as quickly as possible.
Maybe unfair but sometimes get the feeling that Paolo is too much his own man and that the football club is priority number two.
Left in 2004 initials WL
I share some of your concerns there. The club must always be in a position to function and thrive for future generations, and those who pass through must be caring and responsible.
We've seen too many examples where a community's club has been corrupted and polluted by greed. If Di Canio achieves success everyone will be happy to celebrate with him.
If in 10 years' time that success has come with a price then the achievements are tainted. There's a balance to be struck there.
1:52pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Paolo alluded to another club (I think its Bournemouth)and how they were able to spend lots of money and not have an embargo placed upon them. The Cherries now have to pay £1.4M in compensation to bring Howe back to the club which by my calculations means that they have to bring in another £2,153,846 just to cover that. This equates to an average gate of 7,692 (currently 5,290) so if they are operating at 65% on a 5,290 gate then need another 7,692 on top with a ground capacity of 9,600 even with my crude calcuations it dont add up! Or am I totally wrong?
That sum of money is unlikely to be in one big chunk.
Does Sir William Patey have a Twitter account? I noticed there are two, but unsure if fake. #stfcadver— @olliehowitt 16 October 2012
2:01pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Sam.......Back to the football - Whats your prediction for Saturday?
I think if Di Canio focuses as he says he will focus there is nothing to worry about. Scunthorpe are not having a great season, they've only won once away from home and only scored three times on the road. I'll go for a 2-0 win.
#stfcadver much has been made of potential investment or the existing owners looking to sell, do you believe there is any substance to that?— @kizzsmyth 16 October 2012
#stfcadver Sam, do you know how PDC is feeling at present with STFC? Is he happy in general or could the Wray situ be the final straw 4 him?— @general_77 16 October 2012
1:58pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Since 1950 says
Sam I didn't mean to imply that Sir Williams arrival would cause a melt down. I am given to understand he's a top bloke without any side to him. However, I am worried about Paolo - given that Sir William sounds like he might not be an ever present due to his many other commitments.
Fair enough point but remember Jeremy Wray also had other commitments to deal with. He wasn't earning money at Swindon Town. Let's wait to see how he operates.
1:52pm Tue 16 Oct 12
I think like many I'm concerned at the fact that Sir William will not be on the board of Directors and therefore we'll have this black hole between Paolo and the Board.
Did Mr Black give any indication that this communications link would be bridged at some point soon with a new appointment or is that only supposition?
Oh and could you ask Andy to post the Predictions League Results thread for me please :-)
1:47pm Tue 16 Oct 12
What role does Phil Spencer have at the club?
I know he is Paolo's agent but he seems to play a big part in everything that goes on at the club.
Phil Spencer has a big part to play in identifying players Town want to bring in and negotiating their transfers to Swindon Town.
Has Andrew black being underwriting the losses of previous years? #stfcadver— @chetanv82 16 October 2012
1:46pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Since 1950 says
Sam. It is said that Mr wray acted as a peace maker between Paolo and the players when things got a little rough. Who will keep the peace between Paolo and the players without Mr Wray?
In your view, could Paolo push the self destuct button without the close support of Mr Wray?
The mediator role is always down to the chairman, who can act as the voice of reason between so many parties.
If anyone is qualified to act as a mediator it is the new man in charge, a former senior diplomat who has run huge embassies in some of the world's most dangerous regions.
He knows people and know how to deal with people. I appreciate Di Canio is a different case but Sir William Patey has to be allowed the time to create a relationship with him.
We can all be shocked at Jeremy Wray's departure but there is no point immediately jumping on Sir William's back saying his arrival will cue nuclear meltdown.
If Di Canio is a man of any maturity he will give himself and Sir William the chance to work together, and his statement yesterday suggested he will do just that.
1:44pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Who is going to be the link between the fans and the board?
JWray did a wonderful job of keeping the fans informed something previous boards had failed to do, and something the Town fans appreciated.
I just can't see Patey doing a similar job.
Where do you see Town finishing this season Sam ?
Let's wait and see what Sir William has to offer before making snap-judgements.
Inevitably it will be hard for him to gain the reputation Jeremy Wray procured for himself over 18 months in a short space of time but he has to be given the opportunity to bond with fans.
Over the phone last night he was friendly, chatty, polite and just as open about himself as an individual as Jeremy was with me earlier in the day.
In terms of where Town will finish, I said sixth pre-season and I see no reason not to stick with that now.
1:43pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Not really a question, more of a frustration.
I always think an empty Stratton bank always seems such a waste, why don't they offer free tickets to schools with the aim of converting kids into future season ticket holders.
Even if only 5 - 10% support the club long term, surely it would be worth it?
That's a question you're better off asking the club directly. I imagine it's because they'd rather fill the other three first before adding the stewarding/police expense of opening a fourth for only a handful of people.
I think we live in a Town where too many children arrive with parents already associated with another club and therefore they do not become Swindon fans.
There are so many Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and even Man City shirts in the town now that Swindon Town gets swallowed up.
It's down to the transient nature of the region, the movement of people from London and the Midlands during the 1950s and 1960s and the breaking down of the GWR.
Now we have a smaller core of Swindon supporters despite our relatively large catchment area. Addressing that situation can be done in many ways, and free tickets to schools is a great suggestion, but it has to be supported by those schools and the local community as much as it has to be promoted by the club.
1:35pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Hi Sam, do you think Paolo is aware that no 'big' club will take him seriously taking in to account all the drama in 18 months. I mean his 500,000 on agents, falling out with players, paying umpteen off, race row, publicly flogging players, generally seen as being difficult, singing with Toploader. He's no doubt done OK but has he really proved anything yet given the budget, backing and almost endless supply of players?
It's an interesting question, and seeing as I am under the understanding that no approach has yet been made for him at any time you may be slightly right.
He does things the way he sees right to achieve success. Some may say it is heavy-handed or excessive and it is certainly extrovert and unorthodox.
For the record I think tactically he is very, very good. I disagree with some of the ways he deals with certain situations but he is his own man and will run things his own way. That's his prerogative and he'll live and die by that.
Looking at new chairman's history, should we read anything into his work in the Middle East in terms of chasing new investment? #stfcadver— @talkinghawes 16 October 2012
1:33pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Since 1950 says
Sam FYI. The twitter conversation was posted up by 'joeyeah' at 09.22 this morning on the exclusive interview.
I read the conversation last night and it was good to see Andrew Black opening up. I hope he accepts our offer of an interview.
1:32pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Redhouse Red says
By commercial what do they actually mean.
As in different businesses its stands for different things?
The development of all things Swindon Town away from the football team itself - sponsorship, sales, advertising, ground redevelopment, the whole package.
1:28pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Sam, imo it seemd that J Wray was replaced because he was too much of a 'yes man' to Paolo (I assume those are the difficulties that are being mentioned in the board room.) Do you believe that unless Paolo gets his way with everything, he walks? And if this is the case then are we happy that club has all become about one man?
From an old pinewoodian!
I think Di Canio is certainly demanding. He sees a certain way of achieving success, so far the board has been more than happy to go along with that.
I would not call Jeremy Wray a 'yes man' simply because he shares the same vision as Paolo Di Canio but perhaps his methods were not following the same path as the primary investors.
Di Canio has not walked as a direct result of this situation, so he is willing to adapt. In any business there has to be compromise, and if that doesn't happen who knows what we'll see.
Great to hear from an Old Pinewoodian. Give me a hint who you are...
@SamMorshead_SA what are your best memories from your interviews with Jeremy Wray #stfcadver— @thewashbag 16 October 2012
1:27pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Do you have any idea how the embargo is likely to be tackled, knowing investment isn't included. Is there a possibility of the naming rights to the CG being sold to a potential sponsor?
You didn't answer this one Sam.
Any clues from the club as to where the extra revenue will come from? Surely it must be in the form of new or increased sponsorship if gates don't suddenly increase dramatically or we continue with good cup runs.
Sponsorship or increased gate receipts will obviously help, as will progress in the League Cup, all of which is unbudgeted revenue.
I have not heard of any dicussions regarding selling the naming rights to the County Ground.
1:27pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Since 1950 says
Sam. It's up to read on these comments pages. It was from Andrew Black. Goes some way to explain relationships, but not reasons. In it Andrew Black mentions 'difficulties' at board meetings.
What Mr Black says in the discussion is "the football side has gone well with Paolo doing such a good job, but it has been difficult at the board". That, I imagine, will be down to the money needed to support what is going on.
What is your understanding of nick Watkins position? #stfcadver— @chetanv82 16 October 2012
Did you find out what sir Williams favourite cheese was? #stfcadver— @chetanv82 16 October 2012
1:24pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Do you think Luke Rooney will return to Swindon once his month is up at Burton?
If so what sort of impact would this have on our embargo situation as I presume Burton are paying part\all of his wages currently?
I do not know what Burton think of Luke Rooney but if he has been doing well I would expect the loan to be extended.
Coming back would only up the wage bill slightly, and would not make a huge impact.
@SamMorshead_SA #stfcadver (re chairman chg) Do u see STFC being taken over/sold to an Arab investmnt grp inthe future? If so, a good thing?— @general_77 16 October 2012
1:13pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Since 1950 says
Sam. In a twitter discussion it is reported via the comments that there were 'difficulties' at board meetings with Mr Wray as Chairman. Any ideas what these difficulties were? Do you think it relates to Paolo's demands for more players?
Who was involved in this Twitter discussion?
1:11pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Sam I asked JW this question and he answerd it, so I'm going to ask you and hope for a answer!
What is your favourite type off cheese?
I'm partial to comte and plenty of nutty-flavoured cheeses. Emmenthal is a good one. Good enough answer for you?
1:09pm Tue 16 Oct 12
What is happening with Miles Storey? Surely he deserves a chance.
I think youth is a big area which must not be neglected by this club. The board have sunk significant money into the EPPP and the youth set-up at the club is pretty impressive.
Town will continue to churn out talented youngsters and they need to be given a chance to impress, something I worry will never happen under this management.
As for Miles Storey, he is evidently a very capable player but when you have the likes of Paul Benson, Adam Rooney, Andy Williams and James Collins in front of you, you are always likely to have limited opportunity.
For his sake I hope he starts getting gametime quickly, be it here or out on loan.
1:09pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Hi Sam, as someone who is in and around the club on a regular basis, how is the mood on the inside? are there positive vibes coming from the club, do all employees at STFC seem happy and motivated as I have heard rumours of un-rest.
The vibes of most clubs are positive when a team is winning, as Town have been doing for some time. Different people react differently to different regimes, but generally the mood is good.
1:07pm Tue 16 Oct 12
How much money is needed to get us out of the transfer embargo. Or if say, the Sheffield Utd game sold out would that do the trick?
If so would the club and adver do a 'call to arms?'
I believe it is around £170,000 - roughly half of the £340,000 that was owed to Shrewsbury and Exeter up front for the purchases of James Collins and Troy Archibald-Henville, but I have not been told officially how much it is.
What is needed to help reduce the expenditure within the 65 per cent of turnover maximum is increased revenue - this obviously does not include cash injection from investors.
On that basis, a sell-out against Sheffield United would help but would not overhaul it completely as the 66.5 per cent spending is based on a projection made by the club month-on-month.
That projection would have taken into account a certain number of people attending the game against Sheffield United. I am not sure of what the board would expect for a fixture of that magnitude, but I imagine around 9,000-10,000.
1:01pm Tue 16 Oct 12
So what's your view of Di Canio's future with stfc?
I think he is a reasoned man behind the fiery exterior. He will give the new set-up time to see whether the dynamic is what he, as an individual, wants to work with.
He said in his statement that he was encouraged by the vibes of the club with a new chairman on board.
On the flipside, he is now without the man he held an incredibly close relationship with on the board and that is bound to be slightly unsettling.
I don't think there is an immediate risk of his walking away from the club, but it would not surprise me if the thought has crossed his mind.
12:35pm Tue 16 Oct 12
Is that you Lovesey says
Is it true that the club are now looking back at the land near junction 16 of the M4 with a Ricoh styler ground including Casion and conference facilities, and will also be involved in new houses, that William is here to help grease the wheels for the funding that this requires
I have not heard anything of this. When senior members of the club talk about this issue, they refer to "redevelopment". That would not suggest anything of what you have heard.
12:00pm Tue 16 Oct 12
London Red says
1950 - Sir Arbib has only ever been a director of Swindon Town Holdings Ltd - never one of the Swindon Town FC Ld
Whether he is still that now is a good question?
I always thought Backhouse was his representative on the Swindon Town FC Ltd (the club) board - but it now transpires he came in alongside Fitton
Another question is who is going to join the board as if Backhouse does leave (on top of AF and JW) we will only be left with SWP, AB and NW - not really a board
Also what is the latest on the redevelopment - is the Town End still due to be revamped in the summer?
Or has this been delayed thus the need for change?
To clear this up, I have the list of directors of the holding company in front of me now. Sir Martyn Arbib is not a director.
It would be impossible for me to guess who, if anyone would come onto the board in the near future.
In his interview yesterday, Jeremy Wray told me that several palns had been "resubmitted" and that Nick Watkins continues to liaise with the council regarding the process. I'd expect some movement on this in the next few months.
11:51am Tue 16 Oct 12
Since 1950 says
Sam, I have a couple of questions:
Where does Sir Martyn Arbib fit into the equasion now? Not been mentioned for some time. Didn't apear as a director of the club at the last AGM in July in the 'Annual Report and Financial Statements'.
How long has Mr Black been the sole investor?
If Sir William has been brought in to secure new funding, why couldn't he have come in as a consultant? Did he have to come in as Chairman?
Was Mr Wray offered a position as 'director of football' at the club.
It is my understanding that Sir Martyn Arbib still invests in the general infrastracture of the club - ie stadium plans and the like. He is nto a major benefactor when it comes to wages and fees, that is where Andrew Black comes in. Therefore Mr Black is not the sole benefactor, he is the majority shareholder.
Sir Martyn has never been a director of the club. When he was brought in it was said he was to keep "a close eye" on the runnings of the club.
Sir William Patey has been brought in at the request of Mr Black, for reasons which have yet to be fully explained on his end but which are believed to be a desire to tighten up the commerical side of the club with the fooballing side.
Jeremy Wray was offered a position on the board of directors after being asked to stand down, but he turned the opportunity down.
11:24am Tue 16 Oct 12
When are we to hear from the protaganist of all this upheaval and unrest, Andrew Black? Come on Andrew, have the courage of your convictions and talk to us!
I am currently trying to set up an interview with Mr Black. He is generally quite media-shy, although if you view his Twitter feed from last night you will see some of his reasons behind what has happened recently.
His username is @bertthebold.
10:41am Tue 16 Oct 12
London Red says
Is this just with Sam?
Or is anyone from the club lined up to answer the questions?
It's just me I'm afraid, we plan to make this a regular opportunity for those of you who comment daily on our articles to have the chance to have some one-on-one interaction with the people who write them.
Right then everyone, hello and welcome to our live webchat.
Any questions you may have for me post them in the ways listed above and we'll see how much we can get through in the next hour and a half.
Please note the house rules - not many of them but quite imporant.
I look forward to hearing from you all.
Join Sam Morshead from 1pm for a question and answer webchat, tackling all topics of life at Swindon Town.