Welcome Aboard to Two New Board Members

— 8 minute read

Following the completion of our election process, the Robins Trust are pleased to announce that two new members will be joining our board, subject to confirmation at Thursday’s AGM.

Sam Nair and Ryan Grimmett are joined by returning board members John Cooper, Leo Hoenig and Sam Lear in successfully applying for two-year terms on the Trust board.

As the number of applicants was fewer than the number of available places on the board, there is no need for an election and all five appointments will now go to the AGM for formal ratification.

Both Sam N and Ryan submitted candidate statements as part of their applications, which can be read below.

They join a board of 10, who will be working hard over the coming months on a number of exciting projects, both close to home and the changes to be brought by the new independent regulator.

The Robins Trust would like to place on record our thanks to Robbie Whittaker of the Blackpool Supporters Trust for his help as independent scrutineer for this election process.

Thursday’s AGM will take place at Deya Brewery’s mixed fermentation Tap Room on the Lansdown Industrial Estate in Cheltenham, and will be followed by a fan’s forum.

Robins chairman David Bloxham and members of the club board will answer questions from fans, as will new manager Darrell Clarke and his assistant Adam Murray.

The forum will be compared by Robins fan Tom Watt and will be being recorded by BBC Radio Gloucestershire for broadcast on Friday afternoon.

All Robins fans are welcome to attend, whether Trust members or not - and to encourage as many fans to attend as possible, the Trust are buying the first round of drinks!

The Robins Trust Board

James Young Chair / Football Supporters Association National Council member

David Beesley Joint vice-chair / fan-elected director

Jenny Hancock Joint vice-chair

Jaimie Henderson Membership secretary

John Cooper Treasurer

Sam Lear Founder, Proud Robins

Si Watten

Leo Hoenig

Ryan Grimmett

Sam Nair

RYAN GRIMMETT I have been following Cheltenham football for a relatively short time now (Jan 2022), but I suppose that isn't so bad for an American.

Though my family has long since immigrated to the states, our family surname and ancestry takes our roots back to Kemerton.

Last winter I decided to do a bit of discovery and was able to reach out to some folks at Tewkesbury Town FC, as they appeared to be the closest club to the Kemerton area.

Someone from their club was extremely generous and kind to give me a bit of info around football in the region, and what teams I would likely associate with from a player and supporter perspective, if I hypothetically was still a part of the area.

What started as some fun history sleuthing quickly turned into something more, as I then purchased a season subscription and started watching the games. It’s been fun, not only learning about the club and the area, but I’ve been able to share this with my father who has always been interested in our ancestry and genealogy of our family.

I joined the Robins Trust in February of this year with the goal to simply support and potentially find a way to participate where possible. My interest peaked after receiving notice of the upcoming annual meeting and noticing the board election process.

Personally, I have participated and played in competitive sports most of my life, some of those involving a club structure of play and membership.

Professionally, I work in healthcare technology, designing and developing products to help patients and empower healthcare workers with solutions that help them navigate their care and improve outcomes.

I have worked with some of the largest healthcare organizations in the U.S and have helped to implement complex systems and projects at scale.

I’ve participated on a few boards, both personally and professionally, and feel like I could have a unique perspective and set of skills to contribute to the trust.

I live in the state of Utah in the U.S with my wife and three daughters, all of whom I’m working to convert to Cheltenham fans ( I even bought my wife this year’s mint jersey).

It’s been fun to answer questions about the club when someone asks me about the iconic robin logo on a few of the jackets I have and hope this is merely the start of a long-term support and love for the club and people of Cheltenham.

SAM NAIR I have been Season Ticket holder since becoming a Junior Robin in 1998 and I have had the same seat in the Colin Farmer stand since the day it opened. This is despite not living in Cheltenham since 2010 and, being located in Tyneside, not being able to make as many home games as I would like to.

The same can be said for Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, my other sporting passion. My GCCC membership card and CTFC season ticket card feel more important than my passport!

Since becoming a Trust monthly investor I have felt closer to the CTFC community in recent years which is why I want to become more involved. This involvement includes responding to fan surveys, reading newsletters, supporting the Proud Robins initiative, and chatting to Board member Sam Lear (my first nomination Proposer) and our previous Supporter Liaison Officer on matchdays.

Seeing the activity of Trust has made me want to help more where I can, and I am reassured by the Trust that not living in Cheltenham is not a problem. As well as meeting the new SLO and learning more about Her Game Too, being more involved with the Trust will also give me another excuse to attend more games.

What is my experience and how can I help? Until I meet the Board and find out what needs to be done, I can’t say exactly what I’d do, but the following summary of my personal and professional experience should hopefully show I can be of use.

I already have experience of being on Boards. In personal and sporting terms, I am a Trustee of a charity (Charity number: 1095616) that governs the largest table tennis club in the North East. As a Table Tennis England Premier Club and a charity, governance is important, and I am pleased to be part of that. This means I am used to contributing to those meetings and helping manage the club, including setting up the club and ‘being in charge’ on the occasional Friday night.

In professional terms, I sit on the Board of the economic research consultancy company where I work as a Director. My Board duties include producing monthly financial reports and financial forecasts and playing an equal role with other directors in making business decisions.

We are a new Board, with it only becoming established since I joined, and it has been a good learning experience to help shape the role of the Board and how it operates. Half of the Board are not involved in the company and are appointed non-Executive Directors, so I am used to external scrutiny and challenging questions.

Earlier in my career I have worked in research and analysis for a range of economic and sustainability charities and consultancies. This has included running surveys and focus groups with all sorts of people from young people to global business leaders.

I regularly interview and present to senior staff at businesses, local authorities, and other public bodies so I would be confident representing the Trust in meetings with the Club and other organisations. Researching and analysing information to make recommendations for policy and investment has been my day job for more than a decade.

To sum up the three paragraphs above. I feel I can get stuck into things to help the Trust remotely, working away on things behind the scenes even if I can’t make it to matches every week. Hopefully my proposers would agree, and Trust members do as well.