Chairman’s Letter to the Advertiser
Posted on 14th July 2023
Club Chairman Peter Griffin wrote to the Maidenhead Advertiser this week in response criticism of the club and our proposed relocation to Braywick published in the Viewpoint section of the paper the previous week. Please see below for a full version of this letter.
I am writing in response to the letter from Maidenhead Rugby Club Chairman Steve Bough published in the Maidenhead Advertiser on the 7th of July 2023, as I need to address the many inaccuracies about Maidenhead United FC and our proposed move to Braywick.
Maidenhead United has been open and transparent about our proposals for the new community stadium at Braywick Park including the various reasons which have and continue to drive our decision to relocate.
Our York Road ground requires the investment of millions of pounds to improve both the spectator and wider stadium facilities. The reality is that such improvements are not possible to deliver due to the size and access limitations of the site. The inference from Mr. Bough that this is our fault because we have not invested in our facilities over recent years is simply not true. We have spent over £1 million at York Road over the last 10 years including the construction of a new stand, new terracing, new turnstiles, new toilet and catering facilities, and pitch improvements.
We also have an immediate need for additional facilities for our growing grassroots football and community programmes which cannot be provided for at York Road. For the coming season, we will be running at least 58 teams in our Juniors section, a new women’s development team, as well as men’s and women’s walking football teams. The reality is that local astroturf facilities are now at capacity to the extent we have teams having to train outside the borough, meaning additional astroturf facilities need to be delivered to meet growing demand in Maidenhead.
Mr. Bough appears confused about both my and the club's finances. We do not have access to the many millions required for these new and improved facilities. Furthermore, we are pragmatic and understand that investment from RBWM or other public funders is not available, meaning the only realistic option to raise funding for capital investment in football facilities in Maidenhead is through the sale of our York Road ground.
I am not ashamed to say we want to establish a more robust and diverse financial model to support the continued growth and long-term financial sustainability of our community club. The suggestion that the driving force behind our relocation proposals is to enable me to pull away from the club is simply preposterous. Our relocation proposals have no bearing on my continued commitment to the club.
The continued suggestion that we are going to build an office block on Braywick is simply not true, which we have indicated to Mr. Bough privately on several occasions. The proposals do include a mix of facilities designed to add value to and complement existing facilities at Braywick and support the wellbeing of our community, whilst enabling the club to establish a more diverse business model. Further info about the scheme is available at www.braywicksportshub.co.uk.
Mr. Bough’s suggestion that the club is wealthy and has adopted a perilous approach to spending on players, whilst provocative, has no basis and is simply disingenuous and designed to grab headlines.
We do pay our men’s first-team players, as you would expect given we are playing in a professional league where most clubs are full-time. We have always operated within our means in this regard and our playing budget is fully covered by the income generated from match days and related commercial income. Each season we spend more money on our community programmes and infrastructure than we do on players.
We already have a legal agreement in place with the council, which will enable the club to acquire the lease on Braywick should we achieve planning consent. The value we have agreed to pay for the site was determined following an independent valuation commissioned by the council. Mr Bough’s point on this does make me wonder how much Maidenhead Rugby Club paid to acquire their lease at Braywick?
Whilst we understand that not everyone will support the proposal, we believe strongly that its public benefit credentials are strong and, crucially, that this will be determined as part of the planning process.
I am immensely proud of how Maidenhead United Football Club has grown over the last ten years and the impact we have across our community. It is not run for private commercial benefit and as Chairman, my absolute responsibility is to ensure future generations of Maidonians have a football club and ground to enjoy. Our plans to achieve this are underpinned by our proposals to relocate to a new community sports hub and stadium at Braywick Park which will not only incorporate a range of football and wellbeing related facilities but a state-of-the-art new athletics facility and astroturf facilities available for use by Maidenhead Rugby Club.
Maidenhead United FC
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