Local businessman Dave Melin was appointed as Thatcham Town FC’s new chairman in Thatcham Town Football and Supporter’s Club AGM on Wednesday evening.
He replaces Eric Bailey who has been the club’s Chairman for the past 13 years, though Mr Bailey will perform the role of Vice Chairman and use his vast experience to support the incoming Chairman.
Dave Melin is owner and founder of Amtech Business Solutions, who were the club’s main sponsor last season. He moved to the Thatcham area three years ago and started to attend a few matches as the club enjoyed a successful 2017/18 season. As Amtech Business Solutions moved premises to nearby Colthrop, they approached the club around sponsorship, and Mr Melin has been on the committee helping to run the club for the past 6 months.
Mr Melin is a former non-league footballer who loves watching and playing sports, and when not working or watching Thatcham, spends time at home with his wife and young daughter. Upon being confirmed as the incoming chairman he said, “As Chairman, my aim is to help the club to progress on and off the field. I'm keen to ensure that more teams and players of differing ages are representing Thatcham Town. In the short term, I want to try and make the experience of supporting Thatcham Town more enjoyable so we can attract more supporters on a weekly basis. Longer term, the development and progress of the footballing side of the club is very important. Having a structured progression from Youth Team to Development Team and into the First Team is really important in retaining talent, realising goals and aspirations and developing a true club mentality.”
He continued, “All of these things are a team effort and only possible with a strong management committee backed with commitment and loyalty from supporters. I am keen to listen to ideas and initiatives from anyone.”
Mr Bailey has served as Chairman since the club originally entered the Southern League in 2006. The undoubted high point of his tenure was the FA Vase triumph at Wembley in May 2018, which came just weeks after the Kingfishers had won the Hellenic League title and promotion back into the Southern League. His involvement with the club stretches back to the mid-1980s when he joined the committee prior to Thatcham Town becoming founder members of the Hellenic League. He served as Vice Chairman during the 1990s as the club won the Wessex League and additionally the Wessex League Cup on four occasions, and relocated from Lancaster Close to Waterside Park.
Alongside performing Vice Chairman duties, Mr Bailey will continue to work tirelessly around the club on a daily basis in a Facilities Manager role, making improvements to the ground and premises.
Mr Melin paid tribute to the outgoing chairman, saying “I am completely in awe of the work that Eric has done in his 13 years as Chairman of Thatcham Town Football Club, culminating in the lifting of the FA Vase in 2018. He lives and breathes the club and alongside Sylvia – they have worked tirelessly to ensure the club is in the fantastic position it currently holds. I look forward to working with Eric, Sylvia and the rest of the management committee, and specifically using his knowledge and wisdom as the Vice Chairman to maintain progress and help the club move forwards on and off the pitch.”
In other AGM business, Stuart Bailey was appointed General Secretary in an extension to his current Football Secretary role.
Other officers and committee members who will oversee the running of the club during the 2019/20 season are: Sylvia Bailey (Treasurer), Ian Halloway (Health & Safety), Ben Harte (Marketing & Commercial), Andy Morris (Media), Alan Rashbrook (Membership), Charlie Heaver (Matchday), Pete Woodage (Matchday) and Paul Lovelock (Catering). In addition Colin Reid was voted on to the committee, bringing football administration experience from his time with Dundee FC and Didcot Town.