Following on from part one of our interview with Simon Olorenshaw, in the second installment the new Chester FC chairman gives an update on plans for a new training base and talks about making an impact in the community.
Olorenshaw was confirmed as the fourth chairman of City Fans United earlier this month, replacing Blues legend Grenville Millington, who stood down from the role on December 1.
Along with his wife, Olorenshaw is a season ticket holder at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium and works as head of asset management at Merseyrail,
JG: Being a fan-owned club provides different challenges for someone who has been in business for a long time such as yourself but it also presents a lot of strengths in terms of the attachment people have for the club so is that something you'll be looking to tap into even moret?
SO: It is but I think there's always that fine balance of trying to pick the pockets of the same people to get the monies. I think we've got to be a lot more innovative around how we're marketing the club and how we can bring in income from elsewhere. I think with some of the new directors there's people who are really prepared to reach for the stars if you like and I think that's where I can help as well.
A big part of my day job is bringing in third party funding for schemes in my business so I'm always keen and looking for ways to prepare business plans because there's a lot of funding out there, especially for the community side and having that community link opens the door. We've got to start using that to pay for the bedrock which would then free up more money for the playing budget.
Which of the following do you see as most important for the new board?
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JG: One of the projects which has been spoken about for a long time is a community training facility. I know there's been a lot of discussions so is that something that's still on the table?
SO: It is and Neil Bellis has been doing a lot of work with the local politicians on that. He was down in Westminster before Christmas talking to a couple of them and they all want to get around the table and find out whether the relief road is ever going to happen or can we actually put something in place that would allow us to move that forward.
Again we're looking at setting up a meeting in the New Year to really start discussing it. I know there's been a lot of talk but now we want to sit around the table with people and say 'is it going to happen or is it not going to happen and do we need to like elsewhere'. It's great having a strategy but if we haven't got the delivery plan that sits behind it then the strategy is nothing so it's about getting those plans out there that can actually deliver what we say we're going to deliver
JG: I'm sure you've seen the positive impact the club has had on the community since 2010 and that's perhaps something people higher up the football pyramid don't necessarily recognise or appreciate,
SO: It's all too easy to look at the bigger clubs where it's all about the team on the pitch, gate money and they've got a youth set up that's very well funded.
I think for us to be able to get out into the community is vastly important. The Junior Blues party before Christmas showed that because we had 140 youngsters at the club really enjoying themselves and again we're talking to a potential board member who will hopefully come on board and really push that side of it.
I recognise that in the past the community has been left to the community trust almost but whereas now we'll have a portfolio and a dedicated director to pick up all of the groups out there like the Junior Blues, the Exiles and push that forward.
JG: For the fans who perhaps don't know much about yourself, where does your attachment to the club come from?
SO: I'm fairly new to the club and first came down here in the late 1990s. I'm form Warwickshire born and bred but I got back into the club since it was reformed primarily because former manager Neil Young worked for me and that was the connection.
I started coming down here to see Neil's team and how they were getting on and it's grown and grown from there really. My wife and I are both season ticket holders and both enjoy coming down here and it's almost been a natural progression for us to go from sitting in the stands and enjoying watching the games to getting involved and trying to help the club move forward.