New chairman wants to get Hawks ready for big move

Whitehawk chairman Jim Collins

Whitehawk chairman Jim Collins

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Jim Collins wants to make Whitehawk a more professional operation off the pitch after being unveiled as the club’s new chairman.

Co-chairman Peter McDonnell and John Summers, whose drive, generosity and business contacts have led the club on a rapid rise through the divisions, will remain at the head of the club as directors.

Former Burgess Hill chairman Collins, who has been out of the game since 2000, was confirmed as chairman on Thursday, directly responsible to McDonnell and Summers while acting as line manager to everyone below them.

Whitehawk were playing County League football as recently as 2010 but are now preparing for their second season in Conference south, the sixth tier of English football.

Collins acknowledges their off-the-field operation has not progressed as quickly as on the pitch.

And that will be his prime role as the club move towards their dream of a new 6,000-seater stadium.

Collins told The Argus: “I have come in under what is going to be a row of directors because it will be run as a limited company from the start of the season.

“I am the chairman and Nigel Thornton, who has been looking after almost everything for the last five years, will be vice chairman. Below us there is a string of really good people at the club who are passionate about Whitehawk. If you cut them, they will bleed Whitehawk, primarily all volunteers.

“I have put in a reporting structure that should help communication within the club. People at the director level will speak to me and then I will disseminate the information where it needs to go. We won’t have people below me talking to the director level.

“That is the idea of it on a communication front but they are also looking for leadership as well to designate roles and encourage more local people into the club to help.

“Basically it is a County League set-up and we are playing in Conference south. That is the reality of what it is. Lots of people have said it is Mission Impossible but who knows?”

The changes at the club will allow businessmen McDonnell and Summers to direct focus on their areas of expertise.

Collins added: “I’m trying to introduce things to make it more professional. We will have polo shirts with the club badge on for all volunteers and staff so they will all look the same so if anybody looks around the club they can see who works for Whitehawk.

“The board and committee will all have ties and you can see they are all part of the club whereas at the moment there is no real identity. The attendances are dreadful and we need to do something about that.

“There is a plan for three years to be in the new stadium, a 6,000-seater stadium that we have plans for all pushing away in the background. That is why John and Ned (McDonnell) want to concentrate on moving that planning process forward.”

Collins is confident manager Steven King will put together a team capable of pushing for the play-offs this season.

It is hoped the new chairman’s work will go hand-in-hand with the manager’s.

He added: “The people at Whitehawk seem really passionate about the club and they want to be more organised. Ned and John are off their feet with work, they can’t deal with it.

“They know they have a County League club there and they have been to clubs who are more professional and they want to move to that sort of standard.

“I can bring enthusiasm, experience, communication and leadership.”

Comments (9)

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9:38am Fri 25 Jul 14

Quiterie says...

Good luck. All sounds a bit 'pie in the sky' to me though...... a 6000 seat stadium in 3 years? No chance.
Good luck. All sounds a bit 'pie in the sky' to me though...... a 6000 seat stadium in 3 years? No chance. Quiterie
  • Score: 3

11:05am Fri 25 Jul 14

Sid East Brighton says...

6000 seat stadium, and where do you intend building this. The actual site has never been mentioned.
6000 seat stadium, and where do you intend building this. The actual site has never been mentioned. Sid East Brighton
  • Score: 2

10:55am Sun 27 Jul 14

hubby says...

Polo shirts with the club logo eh?

Revolutionary!!


Good luck to Jim.A decent bloke.A long time out of the game though.

I believe that the Stadium is to be built exactly where it is now.Look on the clubs website for details.
150 people will rattle around a bit in a 6,000 seater stadium.
Polo shirts with the club logo eh? Revolutionary!! Good luck to Jim.A decent bloke.A long time out of the game though. I believe that the Stadium is to be built exactly where it is now.Look on the clubs website for details. 150 people will rattle around a bit in a 6,000 seater stadium. hubby
  • Score: 1

4:14pm Sun 27 Jul 14

Sid East Brighton says...

hubby wrote:
Polo shirts with the club logo eh?

Revolutionary!!


Good luck to Jim.A decent bloke.A long time out of the game though.

I believe that the Stadium is to be built exactly where it is now.Look on the clubs website for details.
150 people will rattle around a bit in a 6,000 seater stadium.
Been on the club web site & found some very nice drawings of the proposed new stadium & training complex but no indication of exactly where all this is to be built. If it's on the existing site then all the land belongs to Brighton council which may be a problem.
[quote][p][bold]hubby[/bold] wrote: Polo shirts with the club logo eh? Revolutionary!! Good luck to Jim.A decent bloke.A long time out of the game though. I believe that the Stadium is to be built exactly where it is now.Look on the clubs website for details. 150 people will rattle around a bit in a 6,000 seater stadium.[/p][/quote]Been on the club web site & found some very nice drawings of the proposed new stadium & training complex but no indication of exactly where all this is to be built. If it's on the existing site then all the land belongs to Brighton council which may be a problem. Sid East Brighton
  • Score: 1

9:51pm Sun 27 Jul 14

hubby says...

Possibly doing a deal with Brighton College and the Caravan Club?
Isn't the Caravan site on the plans?
I know that a deal with the College was very close to being struck 15 years ago.They own the land behind the South goal.
Possibly doing a deal with Brighton College and the Caravan Club? Isn't the Caravan site on the plans? I know that a deal with the College was very close to being struck 15 years ago.They own the land behind the South goal. hubby
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Sid East Brighton says...

hubby wrote:
Possibly doing a deal with Brighton College and the Caravan Club?
Isn't the Caravan site on the plans?
I know that a deal with the College was very close to being struck 15 years ago.They own the land behind the South goal.
Cheers. Makes it a lot clearer. Still a lot of hoops to jump through t o make it all possible
[quote][p][bold]hubby[/bold] wrote: Possibly doing a deal with Brighton College and the Caravan Club? Isn't the Caravan site on the plans? I know that a deal with the College was very close to being struck 15 years ago.They own the land behind the South goal.[/p][/quote]Cheers. Makes it a lot clearer. Still a lot of hoops to jump through t o make it all possible Sid East Brighton
  • Score: 0

10:55pm Mon 28 Jul 14

hubby says...

It would all be nice if I genuinely thought that the people investing all this money were in it for the betterment of Whitehawk Football Club,whose name they are trying to dump at every move.
I'm afraid that the cynic in me tells me that to "Invest" the sort of money that they have put in, means that they want a return.
This would mean in a very few years time when the lands lease is up for grabs that it could be re allocated for housing.
Whitehawk FC no longer exists and a few people get extremely rich.
It would all be nice if I genuinely thought that the people investing all this money were in it for the betterment of Whitehawk Football Club,whose name they are trying to dump at every move. I'm afraid that the cynic in me tells me that to "Invest" the sort of money that they have put in, means that they want a return. This would mean in a very few years time when the lands lease is up for grabs that it could be re allocated for housing. Whitehawk FC no longer exists and a few people get extremely rich. hubby
  • Score: 0

7:47am Tue 29 Jul 14

Sid East Brighton says...

hubby wrote:
It would all be nice if I genuinely thought that the people investing all this money were in it for the betterment of Whitehawk Football Club,whose name they are trying to dump at every move.
I'm afraid that the cynic in me tells me that to "Invest" the sort of money that they have put in, means that they want a return.
This would mean in a very few years time when the lands lease is up for grabs that it could be re allocated for housing.
Whitehawk FC no longer exists and a few people get extremely rich.
Agree. On my visits to the ground over the past 4yrs it is plainly obvious that the club has changed from a local county league club, attracting players from the immediate area & a homely feel , being run by people that you were at school with or met in Asda. To a concern that seems to be striving for an image which in my opinion is unobtainable ie a mini version of the Amex set up. The club is 2 levels below football league & attracting crowds of 200/300 people on a good day. Some clubs in Conf South are already full time & Conf Prem , the majority are full time. I can not see how the buissness plan will work if the crowds do not increase 3 fold over the next 2 seasons. look what happenend to Lewes locally & many other clubs nationwide who over stretch them selves & try to reach for the stars. I'm all for clubs striving for the best & playing at the highest level of football possible, but I have trouble getting my head around we're talking about Whitehawk. I just hope I'm wrong
[quote][p][bold]hubby[/bold] wrote: It would all be nice if I genuinely thought that the people investing all this money were in it for the betterment of Whitehawk Football Club,whose name they are trying to dump at every move. I'm afraid that the cynic in me tells me that to "Invest" the sort of money that they have put in, means that they want a return. This would mean in a very few years time when the lands lease is up for grabs that it could be re allocated for housing. Whitehawk FC no longer exists and a few people get extremely rich.[/p][/quote]Agree. On my visits to the ground over the past 4yrs it is plainly obvious that the club has changed from a local county league club, attracting players from the immediate area & a homely feel , being run by people that you were at school with or met in Asda. To a concern that seems to be striving for an image which in my opinion is unobtainable ie a mini version of the Amex set up. The club is 2 levels below football league & attracting crowds of 200/300 people on a good day. Some clubs in Conf South are already full time & Conf Prem , the majority are full time. I can not see how the buissness plan will work if the crowds do not increase 3 fold over the next 2 seasons. look what happenend to Lewes locally & many other clubs nationwide who over stretch them selves & try to reach for the stars. I'm all for clubs striving for the best & playing at the highest level of football possible, but I have trouble getting my head around we're talking about Whitehawk. I just hope I'm wrong Sid East Brighton
  • Score: 1

2:50pm Tue 29 Jul 14

hubby says...

Me too mate....me too!
Me too mate....me too! hubby
  • Score: 0

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