Paul Barry shapes the off-field future of Cambridge United
PUBLISHED: 06:05 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:30 09 February 2018
Iliffe Media Ltd
Majority shareholder anwers questions regarding the U’s
Paul Barry has moved to clarify affairs off the pitch after two months of uncertainty at Cambridge United.
There has been plenty of conjecture surrounding the U’s since Dave Doggett stepped down as chairman in December.
And after becoming majority shareholder, Barry has addressed the issues regarding investment in United, the future of chief executive Jez George, the status of the executive board and the Abbey Stadium development.
Firstly, Barry has confirmed that he will be providing more funds for United.
“I will be putting new investment into the club but it is important to manage expectations,” he said in a statement.
“This does not mean a sudden windfall to the playing budget. We need to run the club prudently and to break even over the income cycles of a football club.
“These funds provide additional financial security as we enter and plan for the next chapter of Cambridge United.”
After the resignation of Doggett, an executive board was put in place, with Shaun Grady overseeing the business side of the club, Graham Daniels looking after footballing affairs and Steve Chamberlain providing oversight of the financial affairs.
Following an internal review, the executive board will become permanent.
In his statement, Barry said: “Shaun Grady, Graham Daniels and Steve Chamberlain have all done a great job over recent weeks and I believe the leadership and more direct involvement of senior board members in the day-to-day running of the club can be very positive for the future and make us stronger.
“The other members of the board will still help in providing oversight and guidance.”
It has been announced that George has decided to step down as chief executive officer, ending 12 years at the club.
But although leaving his full-time position, he will retain a role as an advisor on a potential new stadium and the Chinese summer school programme he has initiated.
“It is no exaggeration to say he has done everything, literally apart from pulling on the shirt, from recreating the academy and youth development programme in 2006 and becoming first-team manager during the most testing of times, through to director of football when we were promoted back to the Football League and then chief executive,” said Barry,
“I know I speak for all fans in saying a massive thank you. Over recent months Jez has been working tirelessly driving the new stadium project.
“He steps down from his full-time role at the club but will retain a role as an advisor on the potential new stadium and the Chinese Summer School programme he has initiated.
“There are no current plans to replace Jez as CEO. Jez has brought in some very talented members of staff at every level of the club and we will see if and where we might need to support them further in the summer.”
Grady will also chair a sub-group of the board on the stadium development project, and Barry added: “As I have stated earlier no one is making any predictions about the future but this is a further signal of our desire to do everything we can to give ourselves the best possible chance of success.”
In closing his statement, Barry sought to reassure fans that communication will improve.
“Finally, I recognise this has been a period of some uncertainty as we have inevitably had to finalise some of these details,” he said.
“Thank you for patience and, most importantly, thank you again for all your support. Through the good times and the tougher times you have always got behind the team.
“I am acutely aware of how fortunate we are as a club to have such passionate and devoted fans. We don’t take it for granted for a second.
“Inevitably, some things in any organisation will always have to remain private but over the coming months I am keen to look at how we can further improve two-way communication between the club and the supporters.”