An open letter to the chairman

by , November 24, 2015

Dear Mr Al-Hasawi,

I write to you as a supporter of our club, but with concerns about its direction, and I see with many other fans of the club on social media platforms, that I am not alone.

The first thing I would like to do is extend my thanks to you and your family for your time, effort and money that you are devoting into our football club. I would also like to state that I can see you are a genuinely decent man, with great intentions and it’s clear that your heart is in the right place.

My concern for the state of our club, however, is based on simple grounds. We have no vision. I feel the club over the last few years has operated under one premise – ‘Get to the Premier League’. Whilst this is, of course, an obvious and tangible goal that I’m sure everyone involved in the club will share, it lacks the significant depth to be meaningful.

I feel the Premier League goal epitomises the issues we have. You are currently running the club as owner and chairman, with no CEO, no director of football, no head of recruitment. Add to this that we have now had a succession of managers who all inevitably had different ways of operating.

My question is, would you run a business this way? You are clearly a successful businessman, and let’s face it our club can not operate on solely a romantic basis as a community based sports team – we are a business and we must plan as such.

We need a vision of how we operate going forwards, you cannot have a mission statement and no business plan. My thoughts are that your heart is ruling over your head – you want to make sure that everything is right.

I don’t think it is possible for you to do everything, you have to delegate, get people you trust, who know English football and leave them to do the work you set out – a vision of what you want our club to look like. Our owner/chairman should set the long-term vision, a CEO and director of football take care of the medium term and the manager and coaches deal in the short term. All must work together pulling in the same direction. This means that the key is hiring the right people.

Please look at the best examples of running a football club well in recent times, Swansea and Southampton. You must have a vision across the club, from operating structure to first team through youth teams, and stick to it.

You must be cold. Don’t dismiss the feelings from your heart, but give your head (and the head of your CEO and director of football) the final say on all matters.

I would like to finish by again thanking you for everything you have done, but leave you with a simple summary – work smarter, not harder.

Yours sincerely,

Joe Burton