Written by John Edwards
Altrincham have taken another significant stride towards instilling a professional approach in all areas of the club after making a second full-time off-field appointment aimed at improving all operational aspects at The J.Davidson Stadium.
The team's fortunes have been transformed under Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel over the past six years, but the board are acutely aware of the need for maximum efficiency off the pitch if the pattern of ongoing progress is to be sustained.
With that in mind, the historic announcement of the club's first-ever Chief Executive Officer was made earlier this month, with John Williams moving over from FC Halifax Town and taking up his duties towards the end of last week.
Now, just a few days on, the club are delighted to extend a warm welcome to another proven, innovative administrator after appointing former Barrow director and CEO Levi Gill to the newly-created position of Process Improvement and Operations Manager.
The aim, in simple terms, is to create a driven, dynamic leadership team capable of identifying and addressing off-field shortcomings and aligning standards with the professionalism shown day-in day-out by Phil, his backroom staff and his squad of players in readiness for the dream of Football League status being realised.
The board's commitment to that widely-held ambition has been evident in the backing provided for Phil to explore the transfer market and pay fees for players he believes will enhance the squad.
Now attention has turned to giving the club's operations an overhaul, and Levi's crucial contribution to the renaissance of Barrow from a club beset by problems to National League champions in 2020 made him the ideal candidate for the post of Process Improvement and Operations Manager.
Explaining the appointment, Co-Chairman Lawrence Looney said: "We went full-time on the pitch last summer, and this is a step towards going full-time off it and establishing the same level of professionalism in all aspects of how the club functions.
"There is so much to do, but we've got the right people in place to get on with the job of streamlining, modernising and basically improving everything we do as a club The fantastic progress we have made under Phil and Neil creates its own challenges from an administrative point of view, and we are determined to ensure we have the tools to meet them head-on.
"The matchday experience for supporters is just one example. The fan zone is up and running, but we want signage to be clearer, so supporters know which turnstiles are for season ticket holders and which are for cash. We want to keep queues to a minimum and we want to create the best possible environment for our community to come and enjoy the matchday experience.
"When you consider how attendances have shot up, and some of the bumper gates we had last season, it's essential these steps are taken, so that we can continue growing and be able to cope with the demands of accommodating upwards of 4,000 people on a regular basis.
"It really is a case of refining all the processes at the club, making sure they are working as they should for a professional outfit and that we are all ready for the next stage in our development.
"That being the case, we are delighted to have John and now Levi on board and excited about what lies in store as we continue to move forward."
The fact that Levi was so instrumental in Barrow's spectacular rise to the top of the National League and into the EFL made him the ideal candidate for the new role at Alty, and he said: "I'm incredibly proud and grateful to Altrincham Football Club for the opportunity to take up this key role at what we all hope is a pivotal moment in the club's history.”
“It's been really energising to meet Lawrence and the Board, John Williams and the off-field team, and to feel the collective energy and belief that this is a club moving upwards toward the Football League.”
“Altrincham has always been one of the great names in north-west football and just as it was fantastic to be a part of Barrow ending almost five decades of non-league status, I feel just as much determination and excitement at becoming part of this fantastic club and helping the Board, the CEO and, most importantly, the supporters and wider community to deliver a huge piece of history for Altrincham.”
“I can't wait to get started, to get to know the supporters and to work with everybody to apply what we can from Barrow's journey but also to start a new one together."