Dynamic CEO Alex aims to take the Boro to the next level off the pitch
PUBLISHED: 16:56 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:02 05 September 2018
A professional football club in 2018 needs a dynamic CEO as much as it requires a talented manager - Stevenage FC are lucky to have both.
While Dino Maamria has spent the summer reshaping his squad into one he believes can compete in the higher echelons of League Two – despite a disappoinitng 1-0 home defeat by Cambridge on Saturday – off-the-field, Boro boosted their club through headhunting Alex Tunbridge from Newport County AFC.
Chairman Phil Wallace identified 31-year-old hometown boy Tunbridge as the perfect man to rejuvenate Stevenage away from the cut and thrust of the fourth tier of the English game.
Wallace was determined to get his man, and did, with Tunbridge starting his role this summer, as the Stevenage supremo hailed Tunbridge’s appointment as vital to strengthening the club’s off-field team.
Tunbridge’s delighted to be back, even if he greatly enjoyed his spell in South Wales after joining the Exiles in January 2017.
Speaking to CometSport he said: “It’s very exciting to be back at the club. I’ve worked here before for eight years, for the foundation, up at Shephalbury. I’ve got a good understanding of the club. I’ve supported the club since I was ten. I want to use my experiences at Newport here. Stevenage has great potential and is a great platform to develop.”
Tunbridge rejoined Boro after an impressive stint as Newport CEO, including playing a large part in the Rodney Parade outfit’s academy achieving category three status, resulting in funding injections rising from £140,000 to £410,000 from the EFL.
He was also influential in increasing attendances by 22 per cent during his time at the club, as crowds rose from 2,861 to 3,489.
What’s the secret?
Modest Alex says: “There’s no secret, just hard work and togetherness. I want to ensure the key staples and infrastructure are met. You can always improve efficiency. It’s also important to engage with our community. Not just on a Saturday but 24/7.”
Prior to joining Newport Tunbridge had a sojourn in the US after leaving Broadhall Way following nearly a decade’s service as head of the foundation and managing director of the academy between 2009 and 2016.
The club are set for a bright future under dynamic new boss Maamria, along with the construction of a new North Stand intended to boost capacity, revenue streams and as Alex says, increase community engagement.
Tunbridge agrees, saying: “The new North Stand is the game changer.
“I think the word is venue. It’s a community stadium. It’s for everyone. Whether it be a place for the foundation to engage with kids after school, education through to business meetings. It’s up to us to make people realise it’s for them as a key venue in our community.
“It’s not just a facility. What it will allow us to do is look at ourselves as a business. Where can we improve?
“What we’re also doing is to try and understand how how we can improve that experience, including online ticketing. We also want to improve fans experiences.
“We also want to schedule more time for Dino and his players to visit schools and engage more in our community.”
The club has already successfully launched the UK’s first-ever digital match-day programme for the Swansea City U21 match in the Checkatrade Trophy with viewing numbers from mobiles, tablets and laptops far exceeding the attendance on the night of 470.
The club will run a second edition for the next Checkatrade fixture against Charlton Athletic in October, where they will be seeking to offer advertisers the opportunity to provide supporters with bespoke offers and promotions through the unique platform available.
The foundation is also growing, with Dani Burge receiving plaudits for her role in running the biggest National Citizen Service programme the club has ever hosted as 135 young people from the town helped to raise more than £3,600 for charity.
With various other programmes and project due to run over the course of the season including boosting girls and women’s football, soccercise sessions, as well as education initiatves such as after-school clubs, the club is once again reaching out into its community.
Boro also have launched a matchday kids zone where foundation staff paint the faces of young fans prior to kick-off.
With such a tireless CEO at the helm there is genuine excitement around the club,
As Alex says: “I love what I do. I want Boro to be successful on and off the pitch.”