The next question from the floor centred on where we are with Cheshire East Council in terms of the ownership of the ground.
I think that it was back in 2013 when Cheshire East stepped in and bought the freehold for the ground for £285k.
We had the option to buy back within five years so that will expire in May 2018. We have spoke about extending this deadline and I do not see any reason why this would not be granted.
It is imperative for the Football Club to own the ground”.
After recovering from his earlier misdemeanours, Andy Worth then provided a brief update from the Supporters Trust and stated that they were looking in to ways in which they could help the club out with a variety of projects. Andy stated that one such idea is very close to coming to fruition and it is thought that a statement will be made very soon concerning this.
A supporter then took the mic to advise of some very sad news. Geoff Thorley, a life-long Silkmen supporter has sadly passed away and although he has been unable to attend matches for the last two or three years due to ill-health, he remained a well respected and popular supporter at the Moss Rose. It was advised that anyone who wished to attend the funeral would be made most welcome – this is to be held at Stockport Crematorium on Monday 24th July at 14:15. Following this, there will be a gathering at the Harvester Pub in Offerton where everyone can share their stories of a wonderful man who will be sorely missed.
Andy Mellor then asked John and Steve what was happening with Shay Given and Wes Brown training with the club?
Well Shay lives in Macc and Wes is also local – I keep in regular contact with both of them.
In the summer just hammering the gym can do you no good really and nobody really enjoys it, so I invited them down to come and train with us.
It is great for the lads – especially the younger ones to have the guys around the club. It is a different voice for them and we have really enjoyed them being about – it does everyone good”.
Sir John then added;
These lads came in one day and then the next and then the next – they would not be doing that if the Football Club was not being run properly”.
Following on for this, John was asked about whether or not he was happy with the pre-season schedule, as it was pointed out that the amount of games we have arranged is substantially reduced from those of previous seasons.
Yeah, I am really happy with the games which we have got. When we looked at arranging the games we wanted to face teams who may bring a fairly big away following. Blackpool don’t really get much home support for obvious reasons, but they do get a decent amount of people following them away.
Stockport is always a good game and because of all the triallists which we have – it will give us a better understanding of what they can do.
Sometimes when you play so-called “lesser teams” you don’t really learn that much as the players are always going to look pretty decent in those games. You can have a really positive pre-season and then start the season poorly too.
So we think we have a good balance with what we have – we are usually crap at Buxton anyway!”.
John then went on to talk to the fans about some of the criticism which he received last season – in particular, around issues with the formation of the team and our attacking prowess at the Moss Rose;
I know that I have been criticised for trying to play the same way but at the end of the day, we can only play with what we have got.
I am still looking for that one vital cog, which if we had managed to get last season then we would have definitely won more games.
We always try to play 4-3-3 like most teams in this league, but unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of three strikers and sometimes it is not natural for some of the wide players to cut inside to support what may seem like a striker who is playing on his own.
I thought that Jack Sampson would be a really good striker for us, but all it was with him was his confidence.
But we get results with what we have – if we went 4-4-2 then we would not really have a chance in this league at the minute, so until we get the right personnel in the 4-3-3 works for us.
We are still trying to find that one up and coming striker who would make a massive difference to us – we are always looking for ways to improve.
The National League is improving all the time, there are some big teams in there with us with some big benefactors backing them. Anybody can beat anyone in this league but I just keep telling the players that we are not playing Manchester United – it is Ebbsfleet or whatever. that was how I used to think when I was a player – you know I would say to myself that you may not be very good but neither are the team who you are playing against!”.
This was added to by Steve Watson who stated;
We have nothing to fear”.
The Management team were then asked about whether or not there was a reason behind why we tended to start games well, yet in the second half seem like a team “who had never kicked a ball in their lives”.
Yeah I can answer that one straight away – it is when Steve does the half time team talks!
No seriously, we have struggled to score at home this season. Teams sit back against us, nick a goal and then sit back even more – especially towards the end of the season where I think we really did seem to struggle”.
Steve built on John’s answer by adding;
We are one of the fittest teams in the league so it is nothing to do with that. I just think that sometimes we didn’t have a Plan B, and then confidence may have started to dip which is really difficult to address whilst the game is going on.
This season, we have loads more experience in the squad, so we are hoping that this will improve”.
The final question of the night asked Sir John why he thought we were much better away from home than at the Moss Rose;
Home teams have to attack, and so it suited us better to play away from home if I am honest.
I was still disappointed with our home form last year as our support here at the Moss is really important to us. Away from home, the support has been magnificent and if we had won just a few more games in front of our own fans then we would have got into the play offs”.
Andy Worth then brought the evening to a conclusion, leaving everyone to enjoy a few beers and friendly banter – the mannequin incident was not mentioned at all!