Date: 3rd June 2018 at 7:00am
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Thank you to Lincoln City Director Greg Levine for answering these questions! Did you miss Part One? Click HERE!

Other than getting great results on the pitch, what can LCFC do to further promote itself positively, both locally and nationally?

Nationally the focus will always start with what happens on the field, however, we are proud of our community interaction and accessibility. Everyone at the club will always do the utmost to promote positivity and engage with our supporters and community. We have a historic football club with so much heritage, people know Lincoln City for icons such as Graham Taylor, Keith Alexander and Colin Murphy. We will always respect our heritage, and to be able to recognise the achievements of people like Colin by letting him lead out the team for the first visit to Wembley in the club’s history is part of who we are, the response to that both locally and nationally was overwhelmingly positive. But it’s not an action to simply gain a response, it’s done thoughtfully, respectfully and more importantly sends a message to the football fan that Lincoln City is more than a football team.

Vitality used to have an association with Arsenal? Are you really a Gunner? We do like a little bit of honesty Greg; now is it Grimsby, Arsenal or Lincoln?

Thanks for this one. I will give you a completely honest answer. Yes, I am now a committed Lincoln City fan, but I must confess I have been a lifelong Liverpool supporter. That said, if Lincoln ever meet Liverpool in the future it will always be the Imps that I will be supporting.

The last Directors Fans Forum was weak and more than a little patronising, particularly regarding our potential ground move. I am in favour of the move but many fans are not, or at least need further convincing. Would you be prepared to chair the next Fans Forum please, and emphasise the positive reasons for the move, and confirm the likely ownership, the potential costs and the likely funding mechanisms?

If it is possible for me to attend the next fans forum I will certainly be there but I will leave the chairing to our Chairman and CEO. As for the possible move, I will only champion and push this change if the economics of such a decision make sense. We need to be pragmatic if we are to build a long-term success story.

Have you any particular role/portfolio on the board or personal interest/expertise which will especially contribute?

I have a strong commercial background and enjoy detail so I will work very closely with Liam Scully looking at ways to ensure Lincoln is the best-managed club in the division.

Greg, as an ex-used-car salesman, what transferable skills do you bring from that role to LCFC?

Wow, that’s a question. I did a little more than just sell used cars but we can leave that for another day. Having been part of the board that founded McLaren Automotive I have experienced the challenges and rewards of building a company/brand from a white sheet of paper. I see similar potential at Lincoln City Football Club. We have an incredible canvass. Our challenge is to now build a true masterpiece.

Have you identified any significant parallels between life at the cutting edge of the automotive world and that of a provincial football club? They are obviously two very different types of an entity with largely separate target markets, but does the marketing of a premium product differ fundamentally to what Lincoln City is trying to do?

I was heavily involved in the launch of the McLaren and building the Audi business in the UK. I have been quite surprised how many commonalities exist. These premium car brands create deep connections with their drivers. In a similar way, Lincoln City is an extension of our fans lives. Although the marketing is fundamentally different the idea of creating a community of advocates and supporters is a very similar concept.

Has the world of football and how it operates come as a surprise in any way? Is it more or less what you expected to find?

I always thought I was passionate about football until I was exposed to the Lincoln City fans. I have been amazed by the passion and incredible support that the club receives from the fan base.

We now have a varied set of skills and experience on the board that we could not have dreamed of three years ago. Is that starting to bear fruit in terms of the overall direction of the club and how it formulates its policies?

We have a very strong board with a mix of skills. The board meetings are challenging but really exciting as we are all pushing the club forward. A strong board is critical when building a business, brand or sports club. I have no doubt that the current board along with our very strong management team will result in ongoing progress both on and off the pitch.

Greg, obviously you will know where the Training Ground is being located, isn’t it about time you actually told the supporters, some of who have donated money, either directly or indirectly. It really is getting silly, bearing in mind it is meant to be up and running for the new season.

You will have now seen the recent announcement of the Elite Performance Centre in the press conference recently and on the club’s official website, the development of the plan is progressing well and we still fully expect that the centre will be opening as planned.

Regarding the new stadium, what models of ownership are we exploring especially with regard to the future economic well-being of the club – I really hope that we don’t end up with problems of the sort that are facing Coventry.

At this moment in time, I cannot divulge anything in terms of specific details, but I can assure supporters of the club that all decisions will be made with the focus being on the long-term sustainability of the club and it’s home.

Can we realistically hope to see Danny and Nick remain with us for several more seasons?

A: We were delighted to announce the new deals for Danny and Nicky. Any successful management team will always be attractive to other clubs. That is a testament to their hard work and dedication. But almost all the talks in terms of contracts were about the future of the football club, not their own. That shows the type of people they are and how much this club means to them. They have been deeply involved with the plans for the club from both a short and long-term perspective. I am massively impressed by the way both Nicky and Danny conduct themselves as professionals and individuals.

Given the recent growth of the city of Lincoln, can we expect a good price for Sincil Bank when it is time to sell, with its proximity to the centre of the city? How far is this likely to go in offsetting the costs of a new stadium?

At this stage, it would be remiss of me to make any suggestions, whilst planning and preparation for any potential move and how this could be achieved has of course been discussed, I cannot expand any further on this at the current time.

Since your arrival, in off the field matters, where do you think the most progress has been made and which issues do you think require extra attention?

Off the field, the progress has been made in many areas. We are a dynamic board with ambitions that are high, but realistic. We are constantly evaluating things off the field, we are happy with the progress on things such as the Elite Performance Centre. In terms of giving things extra attention, there are a number of things which the club are looking to improve. I am confident you will see such improvements in the forthcoming season.

Again referring to off the field matters, what has surprised you most since you became a director?

The most pleasant surprise has been the drive and ambition of the people within the club and the passion and commitment of the supporters. That passion breeds an almost an infectious atmosphere which is a pleasure to be a part of. Up The Imps!

Have you yet started putting UTI as part of your email signature?

HAHA! It’s certainly become part of the vocabulary that’s for sure! Will add it to all my personal mail from now on!

What financial safeguarding plans have been implemented to avoid a disastrous PFI style financial plan that would cripple a small club like us. By the way, we still are a small club with big ambitions. Would it involve ending up sharing with a Rugby team, such as Coventry and Swansea have to.

Plans for the long-term stability of the club form a key component of all development decisions at the football club. We are not looking to make short-term gains which would result in long-term pain. Those other clubs, which you mention, do have associations with rugby clubs, but it’s not something, which we have contemplated.

Exclusive Q&A With Lincoln City Director Greg Levine – Part One

Posted by Vital Lincoln City on Sunday, 3 June 2018

 

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