Spireites' new commercial boss on a mixed reaction, selling potential and a squeaky clean image
Richard Nichols began his role on 22nd August and admits the less than ideal timing will make it challenging to fill sponsorship gaps.
Nichols, appointed in the wake of Kevin Fitzgerald’s departure following ‘Rafflegate,’ also concedes that the town’s perception of their football club isn’t entirely positive.
But now that he’s got his feet under the table, he believes progress is being made.
“The first three weeks it was information overload, there was a lot thrown my way,” he said.
“When you come in and the season is started, it’s not an ideal time.
“There was probably a dormant month between my predecessor leaving and me coming in, and with no handover in that key time it created a few issues that we’re ironing out.
“We had an audit of the advertising boards and some had expired or not been paid for, so we got them down, I’m sure supporters noticed there were a few gaps.
“We’ve started to fill those back up and we’ve got the new stand sponsor. We’re making progress.”
Nichols, who previously worked at Scunthorpe United, is attempting to explore new avenues to drum up revenue, all the while working his way round current sponsors to introduce himself.
He understands why the reaction he gets isn’t always a good one, but wants to play his part in making the Proact a better place for its customers.
“I’m getting a mixed reaction in terms of how people perceive certain things at the club,” he admitted.
“I’ve got no issue with that. People pay their money to come in the door, they’re entitled to their opinion.
“I just want to reassure people that I’m here to make things better in terms of what we offer commercially and from a hospitality perspective.
“We’re trying to be squeaky clean in what we offer.
“There might have been the odd freebie in the past, but we want to be a profitable business.
“I certainly want us to be corporate and close to our roots and fan friendly.”
As he sets about driving the club forward, commercially, he says he’s armed with a ‘first class’ matchday experience and potential.
“You only need to look at the stadium to see where the club could potentially go.
“I think the club in many aspects sells itself but we need to get that product out there and let local firms know what they mean to us.”
And he’s all too aware of how vital his role is in keeping things on an even keel, financially, at the Proact.
“I want people to know who I am, because if they want to spend money at the club I want them to know where to come.
“It’s critical. Without money coming in, any business can’t run.
“We need to keep a cashflow coming in. In football it can be seen as a small drop in the ocean but we’ve got to have that turnover constantly.
“We’ve done quite well in the past but we want to do even better. The facility we have here is first class, that helps, we’re lucky in that aspect.
“It’s going to take a bit of time. I’m already looking forward to having a full summer next year to get things where we want them.
“But that’s not to say this season is a write off, we’re hammering hard on people’s doors to get sponsorship in.”