Following our announcement confirming the appointment of Gary Seamark as Joint Chairman, we caught-up with him and Matthew Smith about the changing times at the club.
Starting with Gary, our new Chairman was grateful for the new challenge: “I am delighted to have been asked by Matt Smith to come on board as Joint Chairman at the club. Having been our Youth Section Chairman for the last 3 seasons I have seen what a great club it is for the local community. We have built a great youth structure that starts from under 8’s through to our brand new post 16 full-time academy. Everything we are doing at the club continues to build the foundations for a great future, and progressing youngsters through the youth sides and academy will ultimately benefit the club in the long term.
“The facilities at Holm Park are something we are all proud of. The current ground redevelopment to accommodate a new state of the art 3G pitch offers great opportunity to all of our teams as well as the public. We’ve also invested in new floodlights which look amazing and we can’t wait for you to see all of these new improvements soon. These are very exciting times for me to be getting involved.
“I am very fortunate to be joining a fantastic and highly supportive committee. It was clear to see at the AGM that everyone within the group are driven to see the club continue to go from strength to strength. We have plans to increase our activity on our already great following on social media – please subscribe to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for all of the latest news and features.
“I’m thrilled we have Kerri Godden on board to manage the day to day business at Holm Park, which I am sure will see the facility become a real community hub.”
Matthew Smith added: “Yesterday evening was a pivotal moment in the evolution of Sheppey United FC (Limited). As Chairman I have taken the club as far as I could and a new impetus/direction is needed to push us forward and onto the next level. In Gary (Seamark) I believe this to be the appointment that will benefit the senior club, bringing the same values as Gary has delivered through the junior section.
“The only reason I have not stepped away/down as Chairman is the intricate nature of running our club, and Gary will need my help and support in the interim as he comes to terms with running/managing a £200K plus a year football business. Gary will be the lead next season with me supporting as time allows, however I honestly feel that after 9 seasons at the club I have given it my heart and soul – from walking into the old ground as it was, to leaving with a team competing in the old Kent League and playing on a 3G surface under LED lights that will benefit the island for generations to come. I can step aside knowing that I, along with all the committee along the way, have made a real difference. I am in no way forgetting the great work that all of the committee have and will continue to do in running this great club. I just know how much I have given to the football club.
“Over the past few years and what has happened outside of football, I have come to realise that time is a commodity that cannot be bought or sold like anything else in life – and the time I have spent I will never ever get back. I have been torn for a number of years between the time needed to run this club and the needs of my beautiful wife Clare and our children. I have and will always put Sheppey United FC first and in stepping aside in this manner I am again doing what is right for our great club. We need the new drive that Gary and the committee will bring – and I know that when I come to games from now on I will not need to worry about (money) change or re-stocking bars etc, I can just support and enjoy the games just like you all.
“I beg each and every supporter to welcome Gary to the senior side of the club and give him and Ernie your full backing in what I am sure is going to be an exciting season ahead. I will not be a stranger at the club and intend to be at as many games as I can – and rest assured Clare will be staying on at the club to annoy you all on email etc about club shop bits and pitch bookings LOL. UP THE ITES.”
Finishing up with a focus on the playing side, Gary was keen to see the football start back up: “I am really looking forward to the pre-season getting underway, starting with the Nigel Prettyjohns Swale Cup game at Sittingbourne on Thursday evening. Ernie and Marcel have put together a good pre-season programme to prepare us ready for when the season starts for real. It won’t be too long now before we can start welcoming our amazing supporters back to the stadium in the very near future.”