NEW REDDITCH United director Paul West said he is ‘relishing getting stuck in’ to his role at the Valley Stadium as the new Southern League Premier Division season approaches.
The 46-year-old businessman, who lives in Redditch and is a well known face around the town, has joined the Reds board to work with the club’s newly-appointed general manager David Lawrence and is excited by the work which lies ahead.
West had a four-year career in the Football League with Port Vale, Bradford City and Wigan Athletic before moving on to Evesham United via Morecambe. He is also highly regarded for his work as Evesham manager over two spells and believes he can bring some valuable input to the progress at the Valley.
West told the Standard: “I have done the playing, coaching and managing and this is now an exciting opportunity for me. There’s been a real buzz about Redditch United over the past couple of seasons and it’s a great time to get involved and try and help take the club further forward on and off the field.
“I have known Chris (Swan, chairman) for quite some time now and, having spoken with him about the wider project at the club, I feel I can contribute a lot.
“I have got experience of both the professional and non-league game of course and if Darren (Byfield, manager) wants my opinion or help with something on the football side, then I’d be delighted to chip in, but unless I’m asked then I won’t be sticking my nose into those affairs.
“I’m here to build on the good work the club has done in the community in recent times and help continue to improve the infrastructure and overall project by boosting commercial activity and our links with local businesses and schools.
“In football, you must have the right team behind the scenes and have a well managed club on and off the pitch. We have seen many times money thrown at things but clubs get themselves into a right mess.
“You only need to look at the non-league clubs in the Midlands with big reputations where poor off-field management has left clubs in tatters. Bromsgrove Rovers are no more – all that proud history just gone – and Hereford folded.
“Kidderminster were playing the likes of Peterborough and Sunderland in the FA Cup, selling Joe Lolley for a six-figure sum and chasing promotion to the Football League, then all of a sudden they’e two divisions below the Football League. Kettering and Rushden & Diamonds have had big problems too.”
West, who runs a successful Redditch engineering company working primarily in the aerospace industry, believes his experience in the game will stand him in good stead for his new role.
He added: “With my experience in football, I know you need to get things right off the field and part of my job is to make sure we at Redditch are a club which leads by example.
“We want fans – men and women, boys and girls – of all ages to love coming to the Valley and I’ll be out and about in the community striving to make this happen.
“Liam McDonald did a great job here and there’s still a feelgood factor from his time here with attendances on the up, etc, and it’s up to myself and Chris Swan and David Lawrence to maintain this momentum.
“With Jordan Jones and Jamie Spencer in the first team squad we have local lads playing for Redditch again and that’s important, but we need to produce the next players of this ilk and the club’s work in schools and the community is vital in this respect.
“We also have a fantastic reserves team here and the tie in with Bournville College has made things even more exciting.
“I believe we have something like 60-odd youth teams at the club now and my daughter has just joined an under 12s girls’ team here. If you want to play football, then there’s a team here for you.
“With every youngster we get involved with the club, that brings parents and schools into play and that can only help us.
“I played my first game for Redditch United at the age of ten against Birmingham and I’m honoured to be asked by Chris to join the board at my hometown club.
“I’m relishing the challenge and confident that we can build a football club the town can really embrace and be proud of.”
Chairman Swan said: “Paul is the perfect match for what we are doing here at the football club.
“He is a highly successful businessman who has extensive contacts around the area and who wants to see the football club prosper.
“His appointment to the board further enhances the expertise and knowledge we have here at the Valley Stadium as we look to take the Reds to the next level.”