New chairman Robert can't wait for his first Bridge Meadow clash!

New chairman Rob Edwards
A welcome visitor last week at The Bridge Meadow Stadium was Robert Edwards, who has taken over the reins as chairman from David Hughes – and he is eagerly awaiting his first match as chairman in the JD Cymru Premier League on Saturday as The Bluebirds entertain Cefn Druids.
Robert had already travelled down from his home in London for what was his second visit just prior to that and he was certainly very busy in meeting businesses, coaching staff and others, including for a ‘Question and Answer’ session.
But he was also delighted to be able to travel to Aberystwyth with coaches Mark Murison and Micky Ellis to watch The Bluebirds play against Welsh Premier League opponents they will meet in the campaign about to start.
Haverfordwest County won 2-1 and Robert was delighted by their display.

“To be honest,” he told us, “I thought 2-1 flattered them, and we deserved our win but perhaps by a bigger margin because we had the better of play, and our only disappointment was the fact that we conceded a goal from a set-piece.”
I had already spoken to Robert a few weeks earlier by phone and was impressed by his willingness to talk; something that was confirmed as we sat, socially distanced, in the stand at the stadium.

This is your second visit to the town of Haverfordwest and its surrounding area. What are your thoughts?

“I have been so busy here that I haven’t had time to see a lot of the county, but the places I have managed to visit here compare very favourably with other popular areas such as Cornwall and The Lake District.
“I have been into Haverfordwest town centre for a walk around and it was obviously quiet but I intend taking a closer look on my next visit.”
“When I travelled with Mark and Micky on the coast route to Aberystwyth I was also impressed by the Cardigan Bay coastline.”

You’ve spent a lot of time this week at The Bridge Meadow Stadium this week. Have you been impressed by the facilities?

Rob Edwards and David Hughes“I have indeed, especially with regard to the playing surface. As you know I have watched a lot of football in the lower reaches of the English Football League and many of those clubs would be delighted to have a pitch like this to play on.”
“We previously had Kevin Craig working hard on the ground until furlough, when we have had Kevin Haldane helping assistant coach Micky Ellis on the ground – and from now on both Kevins will be employed by the club to maintain these high standards.”
“This is because we will now have six age groups in our academy system, with 15 home matches over the season – so our second pitch needs even more attention alongside the fact that we will use the Caer Elen School facilities for some matches.
“The buildings are good but we have already begun to make improvements because as we speak there are new double-glazed windows being put in, and there will be many more improvements over the coming weeks as the season commences. We want the place in excellent shape for when fans return.”

Are you now the club’s new chairman or owner?

!I can confirm that I am the new chairman and NOT the owner!
“Haverfordwest County is a company limited by guarantee and so has no shares or shareholders, with the ground being part of the Bridge Meadow Trust.
“I have provided financial support, and a means to bring more revenue to the club, but in the interests of accuracy I stress that I am not like Sheikh Mansour or Fenway Sports – and could never sell the ground or try to build houses on it!.
“My interests are purely football-based and I am looking forward to the challenge of trying to raise the club’s profile, based on my business experience and acumen, and love for the game.

Do you plan to recruit new directors?

“With the previous group of directors having stepped down but still ready to lend us their considerable experience we will need to bring in more to fulfil the role.
“I have already spoken to two of my business associates/friends in London who are happy to lend their considerable business acumen, one of them already having been involved in football – and after that I will also be looking to recruit a local business person who will have time and energy to contribute to the club’s future, plus someone who is experienced in football and wants to join our board.

What do you think of the management and playing staff?

Rob Edwards and Julie Le-Grice“I am more than happy with the current strength of both, having already built on their strengths since they gained promotion to the JD Cymru Premier League.
“In Wayne Jones we have a very experienced manager who is supported by his assistant manager and coach Mark Murison, plus Micky Ellis, who are both A Grade coaches.
“Mark will also head the academy, where we have terrific coaches dedicated to pushing this vital area of the club forward.
“In skipper Sean Pemberton, Scott Tancock, Steve Hall, Ricky Watts and Nicky Palmer we have players of great experience and some fantastic new recruits from last season joined by our talented local players like Ben Fawcett, Jack Wilson and Jack Britton we have signed players from other clubs eager to start the new campaign having bought into our ethos alongside our Polish/American keeper Wojciech Gajda.
“Off the field we have a fantastic Club Secretary in Julie Le-Grice, who was been invaluable across all areas of the club for since joining last year, and have also recruited Jordan Griffiths as our part-time media manager - and welcome back Wyndham Williams to work in the community.
And we still have David Hughes working every hour god sends; a hardy band of voluntary workers and Dr Richard Thompson as our Hon Medical Officer.”

What do you feel makes you an ideal new chairman of Haverfordwest County?

“In our previous interview you highlighted the fact that I am a director and trustee of the Leyton Orient Trust for Community Project which works hard to provide encouragement in terms of gaining confidence and  employability for under-privileged areas of Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Newham.
“This small club has been in my blood since my grandfather was a life-long supporter and I was taken there as a youngster by my father, whose ashes have been buried at the ground – and the fourth generation has already started because my son Charlie (8) loves going to Brisbane Road too.
“I am also involved in the LO Down Podcast on ‘LoveSport Radio’ until it ceased to be in existence, but the Podcast remains strong and still I look forward to talking about the O’s through the coming season. I am a genuine football fan!”

Your role obviously involves a lot of travelling back and fore – How will you manage to be an effective chairman?

 Rob Edwards and Wayne Jones“Perhaps I could start to answer this important question by stressing that I am not at Haverfordwest County for any financial gain or personal glory but found out about the club and was impressed – and it has long been my ambition to be involved in a club alongside my wine business and other sporting interest like horse racing.
“This is not a passing fancy and I am in it for the long haul, so I have already rented a house in the Haverfordwest area and am very busy in the club’s interests back in London.
Charlie is already very excited to be at the first home match against Newtown and have already arranged to be there for at least five out of the first six fixtures – and if I am unable to be at games I will make sure I can follow them as much as possible.
“I want to see the club develop to its full potential on the field but I also aim to see Haverfordwest County play its full role in the community, especially in schools and making our excellent facilities available to any groups in the area.
“It is an exciting, challenging time for me, and the club in this higher echelon, and I can only promise everyone that I am 100% committed to the Bluebirds’ cause, and everybody at the club wants to provide a club and match day experience the region can be proud of.”