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Positive feedback following first group chat

25 March 2020

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Positive feedback has been received following the first group chat organised by the club which saw John Pemberton take part in a discussion with a limited number of supporters via a conference call.

The club's head of media & communications, Nick Johnson, hosted the session and the manager spoke to the group for over 45 minutes.

Pemberton began by explaining to the participants what he hoped to achieve from the new initiative. "One of the big things for me is to try to strike up more of a rapport with supporters and get their take on one or two things," he said.

"I want it to be informal and I want you to ask whatever you want to ask. I'll try and answer as honestly as I can. In my time involved with the football club, I've had brilliant support from everyone so I think the least I could do is to give a little something back."

Among the topics covered, Pemberton explained what the players are doing to keep fit during the pandemic and gave his thoughts on the current situation and how it affects everyone.

Several participants used the opportunity to praise the manager for the job he has done since taking charge.

Pemberton said that he was aware of the disconnection that existed between the players and fans when he returned to the club, immediately identifying that as a problem which needed addressing.

He commented: "The big thing for me was to try to bridge that gap and the only way you can bridge that gap is to try and win some football matches and connect with the supporters in some sort of way.

"The players are fighting for each other now and they're working hard. I think if the supporters see that, they'll give me some leeway and allow me some mistakes. I've made some mistakes but they're honest mistakes.

"It didn't need a lot of change, it just needed some focus on what we were doing. Definitely some organisation and definitely a change in the tempo of how we trained."

The discussion appears to have been well received by those who took part. One participant, Ian Swift, got in touch afterwards and said: "Really useful to have conversations between club and fans, really does help us all get together while we can't get to games."

Ian also had a message to pass on to the manager, saying: "Thank you for taking your time to chat to the fans. You can already feel a slight buzz coming back amongst the fans. Thank you for your efforts and the honesty with the fans."

Another participant, Paul Goodwin, said: "Thanks for setting this up. It's a really good idea and I enjoyed the opportunity to take part. John was very clear and the 45 minutes flew by as he went much further than just answering the basic questions."

Further group chats are planned, involving the manager, members of his backroom staff and players.


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