There has been a lot of speculation over the close season. The reason I have not commented to date, is that there wasn’t anything to comment on. We had no approach for our manager and we hadn't brought any players in to the club. I have a fantastic relationship with Mark. If I had been approached by any club I would have made Mark aware and we would have discussed what he wanted to do, the same as I do with the players.
Just so all the supporters are clear, nothing has changed since the day I came into this club. I have never tried to kid anyone or make false promises. From day one I stated that I wanted to make the club sustainable instead of it losing millions of pounds every season, as it was doing when I arrived. The great news is, the club is now sustainable. If I left tomorrow, the club could now stand on its own two feet as a business and is not reliant on a benefactor putting his hand in his pocket every time a bill needs to be paid. I am confident that the club is no longer under any financial threat and I will do my utmost to ensure that never happens again under my tenure.
One of my goals was to change the identity of the club from a club known to pay big wages to senior proven lower league players, to a club where young ambitious players who wanted to improve, could be coached and able to progress. I think that has been achieved.
I wanted us to have a strong identity from a playing perspective and for Swindon Town to become a club renowned for playing attractive football and dominating the ball as they did in the Hoddle era. Again I feel this has been achieved. I think that has been backed up by the fact that Premier League clubs have chosen to bring their first teams down to the County Ground this pre-season. They know they will get a good footballing test. I think it is great for our own supporters, especially our younger fans who will get to watch the likes of Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku, Leighton Baines and all the other top players that Everton have at their disposal.
None of those things above are going to change. If I need to put money in personally to purchase a player, like have I done in the past, then I will do but I will not take the budget over what we need it to be for the club to remain solvent. This is not lack of ambition. I want to take this club into the Championship and eventually I dream of taking the club into the Premier League but all the time I own this club, which I hope is for a very long time, I will never risk the football club chasing that dream. Too many other clubs before us have fallen by the wayside whilst chasing the dream and we need to learn from their mistakes. We can be successful with the model we are working to. We were ninety minutes away from being a Championship club last season and if we had gone up we could have kept that side together but it wasn't to be. I had to stick to the promises I made those players that if the club received fair offers and those players had the chance to go and test themselves at a higher level that I would not stand in their way. The opportunity now is to try and rebuild the side again, which is exciting. Because of the sales this summer, the club is under no pressure whatsoever to sell anyone else.
Since I arrived at the club, a lot of things have happened. The past two seasons have been extremely eventful. We had an ownership battle that dragged on for a long time which is now resolved. We have had a day at Wembley and produced some incredible football over the past two seasons. The fans have seen some young players that will go on to be big stars in the future. Now, together we need to keep the project moving forward, building a club the town is proud of.
I am out of the country at the moment so will not be there tomorrow but hopefully it will be a great spectacle and hopefully the start of another very successful season.