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Prestatyn Town chairman Jamie Welsh answers 20 questions from supporters

Prestatyn Town chairman Jamie Welsh has made it clear he is at the club to stay.

Welsh was invited to answer 20 questions from the fans at an online meeting tonight and he did exactly that.

He said: “I have been asked to answer 20 questions by the Prestatyn Town Supporters Club and after establishing that this is a genuine supporters group we are happy to answer the questions asked.”

1 What are the plans for the current season?

Promotion to the WPL has been the aim since I arrived at the club. Over the summer we felt we gave Gibbo (Neil Gibson) a healthy playing budget which enabled him to keep all but two of last year’s playing squad together.
Obviously due to the current financial climate due to Covid-19 we hope to be able to offer the new management team a similar budget to build his squad.

2 What are the long term plans for the club?

To build a club that is not dependent on one person putting their hand in the pocket to sustain it and to build a reputation in the community so the club is respected by the local community off the pitch as it is on the pitch.

3 What is the explanation behind the reason why the manager and the players had to leave? (Neil Gibson resigned this month and the vast majority of last season’s Cymru North title-winning squad have joined other clubs)

Neil Gibson

The manager resigned.
The players I spoke to left to get first team football in the WPL with the understanding they would be willing to return back to the club once we start playing again. The other players had their contracts cancelled by a clerical error as Leigh Williams will confirm as he has seen the explanation from the FAW.

4 Did you tell the players they could leave the club without informing the manager first?

No I had a conversation with a player and indicated that we knew Welsh Premier teams would be sniffing round, and if he heard of any players getting offers then to let me know as I would be willing to arrange three-month loan deals for the players allowing them to remain PTFC players and be recalled once we received a start date,
I was then informed by Alex Jones that he had spoken to the manager and he had told him it didn’t need to be a loan deal he could sign for Flint on a non-contract pay as you play to be registered in time for the midweek fixture flint had.

5 What are the plans to improve the communication with the fans? Most of us don’t even know who you are.

All fans were invited to a Zoom meeting in the summer. Obviously with no football at the ground it is hard to meet anyone at this time but when I have been at the ground for training or academy football I have always taken time to introduce myself to people attending.. We are currently in the process of forming a fan based committee that will meet once a month to keep the club open and transparent. We welcome a nomination from the supporters group to sit on the committee as has been already proposed to members of your group.

6 Did you realise that the assistant manager you appointed had a history of betting against his own team, giving him a 10 month ban.

Yes he has served his ban and he has assured the club this was a one-off incident.

7 Did you realise the manager you appointed (John Lawless) was sacked from a previous club for inciting Munich signs to opposing fans ?

The manager was not sacked. He terminated his own contract because at the time he felt he was not receiving the backing of his club.
He was later found not guilty, so unless you have evidence to suggest otherwise could you please refrain from printing false statements.
If any fan would like to see the manager’s letter from the FA clearing him of all charges you are welcome to.

8 Do you believe the above is the right sort of character for our football club?

I feel 6&7 have answered this but I believe the manager appointed and his team assembled will be great assets for the football club on and off the pitch going forward.

9 What qualifications and experience does the above have to manage a Tier 2 football club?

John is a new manager to the league but if Neil Gibson’s experience was taken into account he would have never been offered the job.
John has enjoyed an illustrious playing career in Wales playing top flight football and achieved the ultimate goal of winning the WPL John is very well respected in these footballing circles and will be able to use his contacts in Welsh football to benefit the club.

10 How much debt is the football club in?

We do not wish to discuss the club’s finances on social media.
We understand the fact that fans may be worried after certain Twitter accounts posted tweets that previous chairman are still owed money by the club from money they put in being turned into directors loans, but we feel we have put in place an agreement with the people involved to safeguard the club’s future.
We are currently opening dialogue with one previous chairman regards a court case that was brought against the club before we were in charge. We are happy with the way both parties have agreed to sit down and do what’s best for the club.

11 How secure are the debts ?

Refer to question 10

12 Are the FAW aware of the debts in the club and what is their opinion if any?

We got the license and the accounts were posted

13 Why did you feel you had to accept the resignation of Neil Gibson?

Because in his email and text message he made it clear to me that he couldn’t work with me going forward due to what he said was a breakdown in trust.

14 Are the Vaughans (previous owners of Bangor City and Chester among others) involved in the club?

No

15 If you have invested money into the club will this be a gift or will you load debt on to the club like previous directors.

Anything I do will be for the best for the football club. As I said on the Zoom meeting in the summer I am not going to stand in front of you all and make empty promises or false gestures.
I want to be judged on how I run the club not what promises I make. Times are hard and I have said from day one the club is open to anyone getting involved who can financially help us, so if any of the supporters group are in a position to be able to gift money to the club then just because the football has stopped the bills haven’t.

16 Why Prestayn Town? Why pick us?

I have always followed the football club from when I was younger and used to visit Prestatyn on holiday.
I then brought my local football team to one of the games in summer and the day out we had and the hospitality Apple (Tony O’Reilly) put on for us at the time just increased my love for the club.
Three years ago I held a summer of football at the club to help raise funds as the team and club was decimated from players leaving the club on mass (en masse).
That summer was great to see the ground buzzing with kids enjoying football, volunteers giving up their time all mucking in to help the club. Why wouldn’t I want to be involved in that when I know when this club gets it right and everyone pulls in the one direction how great a place it can be. Wouldn’t I want to try and replicate it?

17 With all the resignations in the Academy, what is the future of it, will it still have the same pathway to our first team with local footballers?

The resignations were a blow but we managed to get most age groups a training session in before lockdown and we will be ready to go once lockdown is over, We have never once said we don’t want the youth players involved or the pathway will be closed – that is complete made up nonsense.

18 Would you be open to resigning and letting the fans take over?

No

19 Do you feel you have lost the support of the fans?

No. Some supporters may be disillusioned by the resignation of the previous manager and some players leaving to join the local rivals, but I am more determined than ever by these setbacks to make Prestatyn Town Football Club a force in the WPL.

20 Why did you feel the need to attack and point fingers at previous committee members on social media?

Not too sure about this question but if it was in reference to me asking fans to give us a break of the situation we find ourselves in and look at the previous regime’s failure to get a licence then I feel when something as simple as sorting a ground share has stopped you gaining promotion them questions need to be asked – how this was allowed to happen?

Welsh concluded: “I hope this answers your questions and you can all get back to focusing your efforts on supporting the football club. We hope to see you all first game back when safe to do so – take care in lockdown.”

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