OUTGOING chairman Sir William Patey won’t be rushing back into football when he leaves Swindon, after comparing the stresses of the job to those he experienced working in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The former diplomat was brought in by Town’s soon-to-be ex-owner Andrew Black to help sell the club as non-executive chairman, and as soon as the consortium led by Jed McCrory complete their takeover he will step aside.
Patey has had to deal with a transfer embargo, the sale of star man Matt Ritchie and manager Paolo Di Canio considering his position during a rollercoaster four months at the County Ground, and is in no hurry to take on another position within the game.
“I won’t be rushing back into football because it’s a pretty intense engagement,” he said.
“I will never take on a part-time role in the game again, as a non-executive chairman, as it hasn’t been part-time at all. You have to be there all the time, and you are on the phone all the time. It’s not a part-time role, and if I did ever get involved in football again it would have to be a full-time job.
“In terms of its emotional intensity it is probably up there with Iraq and Afghanistan, and in terms of the energy and intensity you have to put into it, it’s up there.
“I have enjoyed it and it’s a very different experience, certainly a lot more emotional than most other jobs. There is a lot of emotion invested in football by the players, management, board and fans, so it’s a tense experience.”
Patey is now looking forward to an improved work-life balance after cutting his Town ties, although the club will continue to hold a special place in his heart.
“I haven’t had as much free time as I had planned post-Foreign Office, and I had a scheme to have a better work-life balance which has not been possible since I became chairman,” he said. “I wish them well and I enjoyed my time there, although it has been a bit of a rollercoaster and a steep learning curve, but there are some great fans out there.
“I have never pretended to be a lifelong Swindon fan, but I am a lifelong Hibernian fan and I know what the pain is like and how hard being a football fan can be.
“There will always be a place in my heart for Swindon even though my association with the club has been brief.”
The Adver understands the takeover of Town could be finalised as early as today, however it is believed that there will be no official comment on the matter until Monday at the earliest.