Dorchester Town Football Club can confirm that chairman Scott Symes has announced he will be stepping down from the role at the end of the current 2023/24 season.
Speaking on his decision to step down after five years in the role having been appointed in 2019, Symes said: “First and foremost, when you take on something such as chairman of a community based owned club you have to think about timelines, and I did come in with a vision, and then set a business plan against that vision, which was a five-year plan, and that five years is coming to an end.”
“Questions I've asked myself is has that five-year plan been achieved, and although I'd love to have finished a little bit further up the table last year and this year we're very positive about where we can get with the performance of the first team, everything that I came in and set myself and the club with that vision and plan, we've achieved it.”
“But probably the biggest driver is my work situation outside of being chairman of the football club which will change quite significantly early next year. I need a clear head and a clear diary in terms of what my work is going to look like, because it is probably going to involve a fair bit of travel and so forth.”
“Those are the main reasons, with a bit of a heavy heart, but I'm really proud of what myself, the volunteers and the other board members that I've worked with have achieved over the last five years.”
Speaking further on the last five years, Symes said: “I'm really proud of what the whole group down here that I've worked with has done - it's been a massive team effort, you know the chairman is one position, but in a community club volunteers are important as a chairman to actually keep the club moving forward, and that's probably the biggest thing is how far forward we've come from where the club was five years ago.”
“The development pathway that we've implemented with our U18s and U23s has been outstanding - massive thanks to Brian Churchill, Craig Robinson, John Cook and a few others, and all the first team managers as well who really brought into that, because it's so important that a football club at this level has that. What those teams have achieved over the last two/three seasons has been nothing short of a miracle in terms of the two trebles last year, it was just fantastic.”
"Then those local players, who've come through that, then given the opportunity to play and experience Southern League football. Again, as a football club, I've been watching this football club for many, many years, it has been in the past so rare for local lads to actually get onto that pitch. I think we've done that, which again is just enhanced the whole point of the football club as a community owned club, so I'm really, really pleased with that."
"Five years ago, I think the SAG (Special Advisory Group) were just about ready to shut us down as we had so many renovations that needed doing. I think it was coming up to 30 years the stadium had been open - there had been a few renovations, but you know hardly a paintbrush have been picked up in those thirty years. So the whole sort of stadium infrastructure was in desperate need of renovation - the new seats, the renovation of certain areas around the ground - and all of those things that are now in a really good place. I think it's a very different place when you come down now to experience and watch a football match."
"I think our average crowds last year were well up and we're seeing a lot more children down here and a lot more local people coming down, so that that's been fantastic because that was again one of the key pillars of the of the plan."
"The first team, which is a massive part of having a football club at this at this level, I think like I said previously, I'd love to been a bit higher last year but Glenn, Woodsy, Churchy, Dodge and everyone involved did a fantastic job last season. I think just the culture that's always been the challenge - you can change the personnel all you want, but if it's the same culture within that first team, you just don't get the results. That's what was achieved last season, and which again gave the whole club a different vibe and now Tom has come in, that's only going to enhance that now. We can see that within the performances over the last few games where we've been at home, we're really starting to get a feel that we can go toe to toe with anyone in this league."
"Finance is always difficult, so you have to have a vision and a plan of how financially the club can work. You've got to write that down and you've got to explain that to people, and then you've got to live it and get people around you who can support you and deliver that. Luckily, the vice-chairman Lee and the rest of the board, we all get that now. I think if you speak to members of the board who were here previously, board meetings are very different now as to what they were six years ago with no detriment to previous people, but they are action orientated, they're focused on the really important things that need to get the football club to keep going week on week on week."
"I'm really pleased with how that is because whoever comes in to take over from me, they can see what needs to happen every week, they can see what finances need to come in and what needs to be paid and it's clear, so it gives them a good place to start."
On the timing of announcing his decision well in advance of the end of the season and before the AGM next week, Symes added: "I think first of all with the AGM, it gives our members who attend the AGM a chance to have to think about any questions they may have on this matter."
"Then going forward and over the remainder of the season, it gives us all time and other people that may show an interest that we've got plenty of time to talk about what goes on and what needs to be done and all of those things that go with being a chairman. It gives other board members a chance to have a think about if they might know people that might want to stand up and say yes."
"What is important is that it is the right person. I'm a people manager within my day job, but I underestimated the sort of multi factual management skills you have to have to be the chairman of a football club. It is dependent, I mean it changes because then some board members come on board and they've got a stronger skill sets in certain things and it's nice then because that can be delegated. It's something that if people take on, it's a voluntary role and there is a good amount of time that you need to spend doing it. All I would say is if somebody has run a successful business out there, that's the sort of people you need, a good people manager, somebody who understands the ebb and flow of P&L's and businesses and people. So it will give us a good amount of time to really help anyone who is interested to bed in and see what it's like."
"The other thing is I will still volunteer. What I what I have learned over the last four or five years is this place will not function without people who volunteer their time, so as much as I can give from a voluntary perspective I still will. I'm not ruling out that I still wouldn't be involved from a board level, but it wouldn't be as chairman, it would be in another capacity. So 100% I'm not going anywhere and I'll still be around the football club, I'll still probably be down on Saturday mornings cleaning leaves up before games and so forth - I don't think I'll ever not be involved from a volunteer perspective."