"As soon as we start acting like a Football League club the sooner we can become one." That's the message from new Chester FC CEO Mark Maguire.
Two weeks into his new role Maguire says that significant progress has already been made on the commercial side of things at the club and believes that all the tools are in place for the club to grow and thrive.
New sponsorship deals on the horizon, possible future development of the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium and a retail space in the heart of Chester are all things on the agenda for Maguire, who joined the club last month.
"It has been fantastic so far and it was a brilliant opportunity to come down here and work with the community club," said Maguire, who lives in Poynton.
"That was one of the main attractions for me, to work with people who are so passionate but also for me to develop the commercial angle to it.
"From previous experiences I am determined to show that you can demonstrate a commercial model for a community owned club and if you can get it working on both sides, harnessing all that passion and commitment but also adding commercial acumen to it, it's a brilliant opportunity."
Having served as managing director at Stockport County and chief executive at Hull City, Maguire boasts significant experience in football and senior management roles but says that the chance to join the Blues represented a unique opportunity.
"There are two completely different and contrasting situations there," he said,
"At Stockport it was community owned but, unfortunately, they never managed to galvanise themselves in the way that Chester have, with a proper structure.
"At Hull I was there when they had just come out of the Premier League and there was millions of pounds sloshing around, most of it debt at the time. My job was to turn that round.
"It is a complete contrast here but I love the way that things have been organised. The financial position here, when I first arrived I had to check that it was a football club as the balance sheet was so clean. But if you can channel that passion and commitment and be a bit more commercial about it then the opportunity is a fantastic one."
"It is essential (to reach out to the business community). I sat down with Jon McCarthy and what I said to him was as soon as we start acting like a Football League club the sooner we can become one.
"Part of that was to ask him for a wish list of everything he required for us to act like a League club. My job is to resource that and go out and build those relationships with local business and gradually, one by one, bring in sponsors to fund what Jon wants to do. It's not about making profit for the club it is about funding growth so that we can challenge to get into the Football League."
Making the Blues an attractive proposition
And Maguire stated his intentions to make Chester an attractive proposition for businesses and that he won't be going cap-in-hand looking for handouts.
He said: "I can't just go out and ask for benevolence from local businesses, I have got to make this a proper commercial proposition for people. It is about making sure that what we do offers value for businesses.
"We our unique in terms of our position in the community, our contact with the community and the reach that we have. The opportunity to represent a brand, as we have shown with MBNA, is a really good proposition for people. If we can harness that and do it properly then that gives Jon more resources to go out and do what he needs to do.
"The reaction has been uniformly positive. I am standing up in front of groups of businesses and saying I am not holding my hand out and asking for a benevolent donation every year, I want to deliver you a proper, credible proposition. Businesses have reacted really well to that and there has been almost a 100% take-up when I have sat in front of people, they want to be involved with us. That will only continue to grow."
And what of potential development of the football club's home? Over the years there have been numerous suggestions by previous owners of Chester City that there was potential to enhance commercial revenue streams with development, but nothing ever came close to materialising.
'Not about the short-term goals'
But Maguire believes that it is something that should be looked at but was realistic in terms of his timescales and what can be achieved.
"We shouldn't limit our ambitions and should look at potential development plans over the next five or 10 years and work out how we are going to get there," he said.
"It's not about the short-term goals of winning football matches, that's Jon's business, it is about assessing a strategy that reacts to what might happen.
"I have always said that there are no surprises in football. You win matches and you lose matches. You gain promotions and you have a run of bad results but you can plan the reaction to all those things financially, commercially and internally.
"I've already started at looking what the long-term plans for the development of the stadium could be in terms of facilities so that we can attract more revenue commercially and improve facilities for the fans."
A city centre presence in the near future?
But while Maguire is keen to see the club grow he has set his sights on improving some things within the club immediately, with the public address system at the club set for a long overdue upgrade. He also suggested that a retail outlet in the city centre was close to becoming a reality.
He said: "There are small things such as us currently undergoing a renewal process for the PA system to improve what things sound like around the ground. The immediate goal is to improve the experience for fans. We have many longer term goals, though.
"There are plenty of positive announcements to come. We have many renewals and new relationships but equally encouraging are things in the pipeline in terms of initial conversations where partners could become huge for the business in the longer term.
"There are ticket initiatives, family initiatives and experience initiatives around the match day experience. There is loads of stuff we are doing on the shop side of things where we will launch an online presence and we are very close to securing a spot in the centre of the city. It would be wonderful to have a retail presence in the centre of Chester."