Saints appoint Ridley as chairman

Herts Advertiser speaks exclusively to new St Albans City chairman

ST ALBANS City have appointed former director Ian Ridley as their new chairman.

Ridley’s main task will be to oversee all the club’s footballing matters and he has experience in that role from his time as chairman at Weymouth as well as a wealth of contacts from his work as a columnist in the national press.

In an exclusive interview with the Herts Advertiser, Ridley outlined his vision for the club with his number one priority making Clarence Park an enjoyable place to be once more.

“I’ve been coming here for the last couple of seasons and there’s been a gloomy atmosphere to the place and it’s been a club on the decline there’s no getting away from that really,” explained Ridley.

“It’s needed fresh impetus and fresh ideas, so that’s what we’re going to try and bring and what we want to see is once we’ve got a few initiatives in place once we’ve got a few things going that they will prove attractive enough for people to want to come back to Clarence Park.

“I’ve always believed that we have a great core support here and I think it’s not outrageous to think we can start getting 500 people through the gate again as a basis and build on that.

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“We’ve got our core support and we’re going to make sure that core support is happy again and that this is a football club that is an enjoyable place to be again. We’re going to try and play some attractive football and have things going on around the place to make it a more fun place to be.”

Ridley’s new role will also see him have responsibility for the club’s commercial activity and its public relations work and he will sit on the board of directors alongside McGowan and Levy.

“I’m going to be the chairman of the club and what that means basically is that I’ll have three areas of responsibility that I’ve agreed with Lawrence and John,” he said. “That is, I will oversee first team affairs and liaise with the manager, players, (deal with) contracts, budgets and all those kind of things. I will also work on sponsorship and commercial activities as the second part of it and I’ll also do what press and public relations need to be done to try and help get this football club’s name out there and people feeling a bit more towards it.

“We’ll have a board of directors which Lawrence, John, myself and a financial director will sit on and we’ll keep that very tight but we will also have a management committee that will embrace other elements of the club and we’ll meet regularly to determine club policy and the practicalities of running a football club.”

One of Ridley’s first tasks since taking up the position has been to meet with manager Steve Castle to discuss the 45-year-old’s future at the club. The pair discussed various issues regarding the first team but Ridley says no decisions have been made yet regarding the manager’s position.

“We’ve met for the first time and we’ve had a long talk,” said Ridley. “Steve’s had it tough here at this club for the last couple of years and he’s done a very, very manful job in keeping it all going through adversity when he could have walked. We’ve talked about the vision for the club, we’ve talked about potential budgets, and we’ve talked about potential signings. I wanted to canvass his opinion and his views on things and the way we’ve left it is I just need a bit of time to think about how we’re going to implement change at the football club for the better. I just need some time to think about that and then Steve and I will talk again.”

Saints’ inclusion in the Southern Premier Division will pit Ridley against his old club Weymouth and the City chairman believes the move into the Southern League will be a good one for the club.

“I think of the two options, we’re very pleased to be in the Southern League,” he said. “It suits us better to travel more north than around the Ryman League, none of us like the M25 at certain times of the day and season. The Southern League will be good for us, we look forward to all those games against local rivals and that will be good for us, it’ll create some interest and the ones further west we’ll enjoy that too.”