Executive Vice Chairman Chris Anderson shares his thoughts in his Burton Albion programme notes...
Good afternoon, and welcome to today’s game against Burton Albion. I would like to extend a warm welcome to the Directors, supporters and staff from Burton.
It has been an exciting week so far! I’d like to start by thanking every single supporter who was at the Ricoh Arena on Tuesday. To achieve an attendance of 15,671 on a cold, rainy Tuesday night was excellent and shows the levels of support this side are currently building. Of course, we still have some way to go, but it feels like we are on our way. Our attendances have already increased by over 40% this season. With an extra effort from everyone at the club and the continued performances on the pitch, I am confident we can progress that average attendance mark even further.
Aside from the number of people in the ground on Tuesday night, it was great to see in the build-up to the game how much the city was talking about their club again. It was a shame we couldn’t get the win I thought we deserved on the balance of play; but importantly, the side were able to maintain that unbeaten home league record, the only one left in English football. I see it as another feather in our cap and a marker of how well the team has done this year.
On the football side, we have been very busy, as you will know. With the permanent signings of Joe Cole, Peter Ramage, and Andy Rose, we have already committed to strengthening the squad. I was delighted to see Tony Mowbray and Mark Venus add to the squad further this week with the signing of Stephen Hunt. The signing highlights the eagerness of players from around the country and abroad to join the club at this moment in time. Stephen, a former Premier League and Ireland international, was attracted to the club by the work that Tony and the team are doing, and our ability to have him come on board speaks great volumes of the project we are building at the club.
There still are a couple of weeks to go in the January transfer window, and we are working hard behind the scenes to assemble the right squad to support a promotion push. With the work of the club’s scouting system and the analysis department, the football department have produced some great signings so far this season and I’m sure our excellent recruitment this season will continue. There is still a lot of football to be played, and we need to be ready for the eventualities of a long campaign.
Lastly, I’m delighted to hear tickets for the Southend game are selling particularly well. We are delighted to report that we sold our first allocation before it even went to general sale, which shows to the football world that our away support has been among the very best in the division so far this season. The management staff and players really felt the impact of the traveling support at Chesterfield and Crewe Alexandra over the Christmas and New Year period, and I’m sure it will continue to get even stronger as the season continues.