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Club News

CHAIRMAN: We did this together

Pride and a heartfelt message from the boss

1 June 2023

Club News

CHAIRMAN: We did this together

Pride and a heartfelt message from the boss

1 June 2023

United chairman Andrew Jenkins admitted this morning that watching the team lift the trophy at Wembley on Sunday was one of the proudest moments he’s had in the game, with the celebrations accompanied by the fact that the club has returned to League One following a nine-season absence.

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“I think we all agree that we’re back where we want to be,” he said. “Paul, his staff and players have done us proud with the way they’ve performed on the national stage and under the spotlight over the course of the semi-final legs and in the final, and it’s very fitting that such a decent and hard-working group of people have now got this achievement to remember.

“I also feel so pleased for the office and admin staff at the club, in every department, because they have worked so hard. That’s not just with the play-offs and final arrangements, but from the moment the planning started for last season’s campaign.

“The hours that have been put in across the board have been incredible, and the efforts to make our match day experience something we can all really enjoy have helped to build the feelings of positivity that have led to increased support and some amazing atmospheres.

“Winning in that way has to be the best way to achieve promotion, and looking around at the smiles on your faces, and hearing about the reaction across our social media channels, I know that is the best possible way that Paul and his squad could say thank you for your efforts both home and away this year.

“Thank you from me, as club chairman, and from the board for everything from the flags for United initiative, the warwickroadend fans who have added a real sense of pride for our younger supporters, and for the numerous volunteers who have helped to clean the place up, paint, sell tickets, organise events and help out at the drop of a hat. It has been magnificent, uplifting and heart-warming to witness.”

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When asked where it ranked for him in terms of the club’s achievements, he told us: “It really is right up there, because there has been a lot of hard work and some tough situations to deal with for a number of years.

“Obviously, looking back, getting to Division One, which is now the Premier League, was a massive moment in the club’s history. That will live long in the memory and ring loud from our history books for many years after those of us who saw it first-hand have gone.

“A wonderful moment for me, and another occasion when I felt so proud of everybody, was when we beat Brentford at Wembley in 2011. Just a year before Greg [Abbott] had got on the team bus, after we’d been beaten by Southampton, and he apologised for what he felt was a poor defeat.

“I remember he looked me in the eye as he said, ‘Mr Chairman, I am so sorry, but I’m telling you now, we’ll be back here next year and we’ll win it for you and for the club’.

“True to his word, that was exactly what happened, and I felt really pleased for him as I looked at him lifting the trophy, because I knew how much it meant to him to have put things right in that particular competition.”

“But with this being so fresh, and with it being a promotion as well as a Wembley victory, I have to say that I am still bursting with pride as I think about the players – our players – and the efforts they put in over a long, hard season to earn the right to walk up those steps as promotion winners,” he added.

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“Paul, of course, has transformed things since he came 15 months ago, and his calm, professional approach has spread across the club, with everyone picking up on the positive and proactive way in which he wants people to deal with each other.

“As they all came up for the medal and trophy presentation there were two moments that made the hairs stand up on the back of the neck and, I have to be honest, brought tears to my eyes.

“The first was when Paul Huntington leaned over to tell me that, on behalf of all the players, he wanted me to know that they felt they had done this for me and for my wife Diane. That meant a lot.

“That was quickly followed by the manager, who turned to me with the trophy in his hands. He told me to take it and raise it – I have to say, I was taken by surprise at just how heavy it was! Again, it was a really nice thing for him to do and it’s hard to put into words how proud I was to become part of their celebrations.”

But there was amusement to be had as he looked to return to his car, parked in the bowels of the stadium, after the post-match ceremonies and duties had been completed.

“We found that the usual exits had been closed down due to us all hanging back to celebrate for so long, so we were guided along the corridors to the service lifts,” he explained. “That took us behind the scenes, and we ended up outside the kitchen, which we then had to go through to get to the car.

“We had Wembley staff shouting ‘well done’ as we made our way, and we all had huge smiles when we got finally got to the car – it was certainly a departure with very little in the way of ceremony included.

“As the club’s chairman the whole season has been one where we have felt excitement and togetherness from day one. Paul has been a fantastic leader, not just with his team but with the way he has engaged with the community, our business partners and sponsors, and with the most important people of all, the supporters.

“We are off on the next stage of our journey now, in League One, and it’s exciting for us all as we wait to see how Paul builds towards and prepares for that.

“Well done to everybody, we did this together.”

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