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SWINDON TOWN: Trust STFC chief hails Watkins impact
TRUST STFC chairman John Ward has branded Nick Watkins’ departure from Swindon Town as a “great loss”, but he stressed that the chief executive’s decision to move on seems the most natural course of events under the club’s new ownership.
The Robins yesterday confirmed that Watkins had left his post at the County Ground after five years of service, during which time he was instrumental in associating the club with major headline brands such as Adidas, Samsung, FourFourTwo and EA Sports and building a tremendous rapport with the fans.
However, with a new board of directors now in place, Watkins - the last remaining representative of Andrew Fitton’s 2008 takeover consortium - was ready to step down.
In a statement on the club’s official website, he said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed each single minute of my five years with the club and I shall remember my time here with great affection. I have been privileged to work with a great team of people, and I am proud that I can hand to the new owners, a club that is in peak condition.
“To the STFC staff, sponsors, suppliers, and the fans, I would like to express my genuine and very sincere gratitude for your friendship and support. COYR.”
Ward enjoyed a strong relationship with Town through Watkins over the past five years, and the Trust chairman wanted to put on record his appreciation for the outgoing CEO.
“He has been an amazing servant of the club. He’s really been the person putting into practice the aims of the previous consortium, which were to demonstrate a club like Swindon - against received wisdom - can be run as a proper business breaking even,” Ward said.
“They were on the road to achieving that and one of the reasons they were doing so well was because of Nick. He was such a wonderful person to have implementing their ideas in the day-to-day running of the football club.
“He’s a very great loss but on the other hand but, on other hand, when you have completely new owners who want to run the club in a different way with board members being very much more hands-on it makes sense that there wasn’t a job for him at the level he was doing it. We thank him for everything he’s done and I am very pleased that he is remaining as a consultant, which I’m sure will be really helpful to the new owners in the transition to the new way of operating.”
Meanwhile, STFC Supporters Club spokesman Nigel Bennett was equally grateful for Watkins’ input during the past half-decade.
“The Supporters Club have enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Nick Watkins during his tenure at the football club,” he said. “He always had fans’ hearts in his interests and would always be happy to meet and solve any issues that were raised by fans.”