Damian Chadwick has resigned as Chief Executive of FC United of Manchester after nearly two years at the helm.
He took charge in November 2016 having joined from Bolton Wanderers FC where he was responsible for managing the year round operation of the Macron Stadium and the adjacent Bolton Arena.
It was quite a coup at the time for the club to find someone of this calibre to step into the Chief Executive role who was also steeped in the history of FC United – Damian was a founder member of the club and was on the pitch on that famous day at Leigh RMI in 2005.
He joined with the club at a very low ebb - less than a month into Damian’s tenure the board issued a statement that outlined in stark terms the perilous financial position of the club barely half way through the second season in our own ground. Damian immediately got on with getting the basics right and overhauled the club’s staffing structure to establish a more professional operation befitting a sixth tier football club with its own multi-million pound facility.
At the same time, he looked to boost the club’s non-match day revenue by reaching out to local and national businesses to maximise the use of the function room and pitches and also generate much needed sponsorship and advertising revenue.
As a result the club now not only operates at a profit (quite an achievement when you look around at our fellow non-league clubs and many of those much further up the football pyramid) but has a robust, carefully prepared, business plan supported by the club’s co-owners that is designed to allow us to meet our all-important financial and other obligations to our stakeholders over the next few years.
In addition there have been a number of other significant successes; last season saw a renewed focus on bringing through young players in the United tradition that allowed the likes of Jason Gilchrist, Nathan Lowe and Kieran Glynn to move on and further their careers and also generate transfer revenue for the club. And slowly but surely Damian has overseen improved relations with our partners Moston Juniors FC and the local community, to the extent that Moston Juniors now attend FC United board meetings on a quarterly basis and will form a key part of the club’s strategic vision, and better relations too with other stakeholders in the club’s future such as Manchester City Council.
Later this week the redeveloped space under the St Mary’s Road End terrace will be officially re-opened allowing the club to significantly expand its already extensive community work in Moston and across north Manchester by providing a facility for meetings, events and a range of activities including fitness classes, yoga, tea parties, homework clubs and health clinics and drop-in sessions for local residents in partnership with local NHS organisations. It represents a key development for the club and the local area.
A review of the club’s structure and governance arrangements is currently being carried out by three of the club’s members but, in the meantime, Damian has concluded that it is in the club’s best interests if the structure changes without him.
Speaking of his decision he said: “It’s been a privilege to be in charge of this wonderful football club over the last two years and although it’s been a very challenging period in the club’s history I think we have made substantial progress and emerge from it a stronger football club.
"However, as the club reviews its structure and looks to set out its strategic vision I feel that this is an opportune moment to step aside to allow the club to move forward with an operating structure that supports its growth both on and off the pitch. I would like to thank everyone that I’ve worked with during my time at the club for their invaluable assistance and support – board members, staff and volunteers – and also say a big thank you to all the club’s members and supporters for their continued support. I believe very strongly in the future of FC United and look forward to continuing to support the club”.
Damian will leave the club in the next few weeks after a short handover period and a recruitment process will commence based on the recommendations of the current review of the club’s structure and governance arrangements. The review is now at an advanced stage with the team due to present their recommendations to the board at this month’s board meeting.
Adrian Seddon, chair of the board, added “Damian arrived at the club at a time when we were struggling to adjust to the challenges of managing our own ground and establishing roots in the local community.
"There is no doubt that Damian leaves us in a much stronger position than when he joined us and that is down to the drive and determination he has shown over the last two years and he has assembled a very capable management team who will continue to build on this good work.
"On behalf of the board, the members and supporters of FC United I would like to thank Damian for his considerable efforts in stabilising the club and providing us with a sound base from which to build for the future. We wish him all the very best for the future and look forward to seeing him back at Broadhurst Park very soon”.