Marcus Reynolds became FGR’s new CEO last month. He met with members of the Supporters Club recently to chat about the club, about himself, and about issues that fans had raised.
Marcus was born in the UK but emigrated to New Zealand with his parents when he was young. His wife and 2 boys are still in Auckland, so the daily family chats are important to Marcus – the time difference between the UK & New Zealand is pretty big! Marcus’s family will visit later in the year and he hopes to make a visit back to New Zealand at some point during the season.
I’m sure Marcus will really look forward to his family joining him at some point. The organisation of schooling for his 2 sons is a little tricky – New Zealand school years start in January (mid-summer in NZ) rather than in September, so there are some planning challenges! Marcus is keen that his 2 sons learn to be global citizens, and he hopes that moving to the UK will help them to develop more of a global outlook.
Marcus trained as a lawyer but he has spent the majority of his career working in sport, including the organisation of major tennis tournaments. Marcus joined the club at about the same time as FGR’s new Director of Football, Alan Steele. Alan & Marcus work closely together and, according to Marcus, are combining very well in these early days for both of them.
There are 3 pillars at FGR – 1. Football 2. Operations Facilities & Commercial & 3. The Community Trust. The Community Trust is separate from the club, but may become more integrated with the club’s operations in future. Marcus’s role is in charge of Operations, Facilities & Commercial.
Marcus has been impressed with the ambition of FGR. The club is not satisfied with staying where it is and the plan is to make it to the Championship in 5 years. He sees it as important that the club needs to prepare itself to be ‘Championship Ready’. There was a word of caution, however, that progress towards the Championship was not likely to be linear and that fans may have to be prepared for something of a ‘reset’ during the coming season.
Marcus sees ‘culture’ as important. He wants enthusiastic staff who care. Staff numbers aren’t limitless so staff do need to be versatile but the core ingredient is that they care!
The Eco Park is important for the sustainability of FGR. It is not just a stadium & training pitches. Eco Park will feature 38,000 sq m of office space, 18,000 sq m for an industrial zone, a 100-room hotel, a 70-bed care home, parking for 1,700 cars, 500 new trees planted and just over a mile of new hedgerows. A ‘lost’ section of the Stroudwater canal, linking Saul Junction with Stroud, will also be re-engineered along the west side of the facility as part of the project.
One of the key areas that Marcus wants to work on is the FGR ‘experience’. He believes that sport should not be simply an entertainment industry but an experience industry. The relationship between club & its supporters and the match day experience are major considerations for Marcus.
Fans had been invited to raise concerns and comments to put to Marcus at the meeting and a range of issues were discussed. These included signage at the stadium, catering, ticketing, a link with Brazilian vegan club ‘Laguna’, looking after international supporters, transport to and from the ground, communications, and a number of other issues.
It was great to meet Marcus and we thank him for his time. The plan is for regular meetings with Supporters Club representatives so do e-mail us if there is anything you would like us to raise firstname.lastname@example.org