Altrincham’s finances have been given a significant boost after a life-long fan made a £10,000 donation and promised more would follow.
IT specialist Bill Waterson, who grew up marvelling at the prolific scoring exploits off Jack Swindells in the late 1960s before moving south to attend university, handed a cheque for £10,000 to chairman Grahame Rowley after last week’s home defeat by Dover Athletic.
After pledging further financial support in a stance that looks likely to bring him a place on the board, Waterson called on others to follow his lead and help Alty become a force in the National League.
“I’ve been supporting Alty since their Cheshire League days in the late-60s, when my dad brought me to games at three or four years of age,” he said. “I moved to London in 1980 to go to university, and I’ve been down south ever since, but I never lost any feeling for the club.
“It’s much more of a community club than it used to be. It has a much broader base in the community, and I felt an injection of money from myself might help us evolve into a club that stays and even thrives in the top division. Even if we go down this season, let’s build a platform that enables us to come back up and be resilient at this level.
“Based on the solid foundations we have and the progress we’ve made in recent years, we should be looking in the next three to five years to be mid-to-upper-mid-table. That is the trajectory we must look to be on.
“Personally, I would love to be on the board, because I have experience of business and Alty are close to my heart. I believe there are a few tweaks we need to make to the business model, and I would welcome the chance to be part of that.
“My love for this club is deep. I was at Blyth Spartans for our FA Cup exit last season and I get to between 15 and 20 games each year, which is a lot of miles from where I live in Beaconsfield.
“It’s easy to stand there and snipe. I wanted to actually make a difference with a positive contribution, and the amount involved is not insignificant for me. It is basically my entire annual bonus. I’m not an IT billionaire, but I have been successful working for a successful IT company, and I just thought the club needed it more than me.
“I hope to donate a similar amount towards the start of next season, then more at a later date and so on, but the main aim is to find others to contribute enough for us to make up the budget deficiency we have against clubs like Woking, who we ought to be on a par with.
“I’m hoping others will see what I’m doing and want to do the same. We are a community club attracting well over 1,000 supporters even down near the foot of the table, so surely local business people can see the potential for tapping into their customer base if they get involved.”
Altrincham chairman Rowley said: “We are always on the look-out for extra revenue streams, and it’s great that a true fan like Bill has got behind the club in such a positive and beneficial way.”