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Chairman's Notes for Gillingham Programme

Darryl Eales writes in today's match programme

9 September 2017

I am writing these notes immediately after a hard-fought draw at MK Dons. Overall, I think a point was a fair return although, on balance, I think we had the better of the clear-cut chances.

The two major takeaways for me, however, were once again, our fantastic away support, both in terms of numbers and noise, and the quality of our football during periods of the game but especially in the first 30 minutes. I think the latter augers well for the season as the team develops and gets stronger, and executes Pep's philosophy with increasing precision.

It would be remiss not to comment briefly on the 6-2 win at Stevenage. Scoring six goals away from home is a relatively rare event but those who travelled, I think, witnessed a collection of six outstanding goals which will live long in the memory.

Thankfully, the transfer window is shut! I think we can be pleased with the shape of the squad. The additions of John Mousinho and Alex Mowatt will add both quality and Championship experience. There will be healthy competition for places in most positions and Pep will also have increased tactical flexibility.

We missed out on a couple of younger potential acquisitions as we were not able to meet the inflated transfer fee expectations, which I think was a feature of this window.

Sometimes there are times to be buyers and times to be sellers and I think in this window, it was definitely better to be in the latter camp.

The transfer strategy is a collective undertaking, led by Pep and Derek, the recruitment team, Dave Jones and me. We felt, in general terms, that there was better value in the loan market this window.

Although we have added significant experience to the squad, there is no overall change to our philosophy of investing in and developing young talent but this must be on the right economics. Pep has resources available to invest but, wisely in my view, felt that value was not available in this window. I am sure in subsequent windows, we will rebalance this equation.

It is this maturity of decision making and sense of collective stewardship for the overall well-being of the club that ensures our progress is sustainable.

When I stand back and look at the inflated fees and salaries which characterised this window, I do worry about where it might end.

The Premier League seems in excellent shape but is dependent on its continued international appeal and enormous TV revenues. However, closer to home, the economics of the Championship seem increasingly precarious.

In my view, too many clubs are running at unsustainable deficits, presumably chasing the dream of reaching the Premier League, but I do wonder how long this can continue.

There are numerous parallels in other industries but, eventually, the underlying economics usually prevail.

In most walks of life, timeframe is critical. I have always tried to build sustainably and for the medium term - and all decisions are taken based on this central tenet. For me, in sport, and in football in particular, this approach is especially pertinent.

Back to today's game. It is a pleasure to welcome fans, players and officials from Gillingham.

I think we can be reasonably satisfied with our start to the campaign. Over the season, 1.6 points per game would usually secure a play-off position and I believe there is much more to come from this squad.

We can now focus on building the togetherness and collective will and understanding that will drive consistently high levels of performance. As ever, the positive and vocal support of our fans, both home and away, is also a vital ingredient; this unity really can be the difference in such a highly competitive division.

Enjoy the game and COYY!

Darryl

 You can read the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc


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