TRANMERE Rovers' new chief executive has outlined his vision for the club's future.
Jeremy Butler was chosen by club chairman Peter Johnson to succeed Mick Horton in the role and started work today.
A journalist for more than 20 years, he has run a media business with a focus on football for the past 15 years, and brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills to the role. He is also on the club's board of directors.
On the task before him, Mr Butler told the Globe this afternoon: "The first thing I have to do is make this club a sustainable entity.
"I've been brought in for a reason, and that's because things aren’t going as we want them to go and I have to change that.
"There's been interest in buying this club from other parties. That's fallen down and there's a reason for that; that's because the club is not in a particularly healthy state."
During a public meeting at Prenton Park last month chairman Peter Johnson committed himself to securing the long-term future of Rovers. He revealed a new plan for sharing ownership of the club.
A total of 2,000,000 shares will be offered to existing members. The club's supporters' trust also has a seat on the board of directors.
Mr Butler said: "Peter Johnson has been an excellent chairman and has put funds into the club, but we can't expect him to continue doing that.
"We need to stand on our own feet and that's one of the reasons I'm here.
"The way we do that is by engaging with our supporters, asking them to come and help us and looking for them to feel as though they are a big part of club, by building a new club; not new in terms of structure, but in terms of it becoming more family-orientated.
"We need to talk to people and we need to listen to our fans. We need to know why fans have stopped coming.
"But it's not a one-way street. The fans also have to turn up, buy the season tickets, cheer the team on and get behind us.
"We want to stay in League One, because we're proud to be a League One club.
"We had a great result against Colchester on Saturday. We've got Shrewsbury on Saturday, which is a very important game.
"We need to get everyone behind the team, because if we can win that the whole picture looks a lot rosier."
His appointment comes during what has been a turbulent time for the club. Players Ian Goodison and Akpo Sodje were among six footballers arrested in January linked to the betting investigation.
The National Crime Agency confirmed six players had been rearrested after "new evidence" came to light.
In December, the original six suspects were held by police as part of the inquiry, prompted by information passed on by a Sunday tabloid, and were bailed to return on April 8.
The club's suspended manager Ronnie Moore has also been charged with misconduct in relation to breaching betting rules.
The Football Association has been looking at allegations that Moore broke rules over betting on a competition that Tranmere were involved in.
Moore, who has been under investigation by the FA for six weeks, has until Tuesday, April 8 to respond to the charges.
He was suspended on February 18, with assistant manager John McMahon placed in charge of first team affairs on a temporary basis.
Commenting on what has been a turbulent season, Mr Butler said: "There's been a lot of things happening off the pitch and we want to get the focus back on the pitch.
"There are legal issues surrounding what’s happening, so I have to be careful what I say, but we are working very hard to restore the integrity of the football club."
His message to the fans is simple. He explained: "We want to hear from you, we want see you and want you to become a bigger part of the club.
"We want you to be proud of Tranmere Rovers football club."
His predecessor Mick Horton has taken on the crucial post of football operations director and club secretary.
Chairman Peter Johnson is excited about seeing the implementation of the supporter friendly plans he has put in place at Prenton Park.
He said: "I have been very impressed with Jeremy's vision for Tranmere Rovers and believe he brings a great array of business skills as well as energy and passion to the club.
"We are embarking on a change of approach and I feel he is the right person to lead the club into a bright future."
This site is part of Newsquest's audited local newspaper network | A Gannett Company
Newsquest (North West) Ltd, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. HP10 9TY |3102566| Registered in England & Wales
This website and associated newspapers adhere to the Independent Press Standards Organisation's Editors' Code of Practice. If you have a complaint about the editorial content which relates to inaccuracy or intrusion, then please contact the editor here. If you are dissatisfied with the response provided you can contact IPSO here