Ian Barry- Northwood FC

Ian Barry- Northwood FC Chairman
Northwood FC currently play at Step 4 of non league football and finished
10th in the 2018-2019 season. #Offthepost spoke to chairman Ian Barry about the challenges the club faces and more.

What made you get involved with Northwood football club?
 I was contacted by someone who asked if I could help out the club, which was in severe financial trouble. I attended a Committee Meeting and after, I offered my help on the basis I became Chairman; this was in January 2007. The rest, as they say, is history!

What has been your greatest challenge during the time with the club?
To put it simply, initially to keep the club going due to the high level of historical debt; then establish relationships with our debtors and try to get them ‘on board’ whilst we tried to increase our income
What has been your proudest moment with the club? 
There have been a few, but to complete the major refurbishment (started in December 2014) and then see the reaction to people visiting the club is probably my proudest achievement as this is visible; a lot of the work is unseen.

Where do you want your club to be in 5 years on and off the pitch?
 Realistically, at least one level above where we are now, but with a thriving clubhouse which will be the hub of the community.

How vital is the relationship between chairman and manager?  
It’s vital, as we have to have the relationship where we are both on the same page in terms of trust, honesty and football philosophy. Communication is key as ultimately we are both trying to achieve the same thing: success. 

What are the biggest challenges facing non-league clubs these days? 
When I speak to clubs, it’s always the same answers; mostly to do with the finance to just keep operating at our level, but also in terms of help at the clubs, where there are seldom new, younger people wishing to get involved. 

How vital is social media and websites now to boost attendances at games? 
Interesting question as a lot of our supporters aren’t on social media but many are and it certainly can help, but the quality and relevance of information given out is important. Our website achieves over 2 million hits per year and is a vital tool for supporters, sponsors and other clubs. 

Name one thing you would like to change in the game? 
 Probably for the FA to understand this level a bit more and adjust various regulations in line with that, including an increase in FA prize money in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, also reaching out more to the losers in games.

Do you think that part of the broadcasting rights should be handed down to non-league clubs to improve facilities?
 I think we will see this in years to come, though I’m not sure to what level the income will drop down to. It would have to be managed properly and to improve stadia and pitches would be a good start

What can clubs do to get more volunteers helping non-league clubs? 
It’s hard to attract more volunteers as society has changed over the years. Ithink that by increasing footfall into clubs and by running successful youth sections, we do have a chance of more people getting involved after this current generation.

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