STEVEN Cook has been at the helm of Wrexham FC’s commercial operations for less than a month.
But it’s hard not to be impressed with what the 29-year-old from Broughton has achieved in that short space of time.
He arrived from his previous role as north west area sales manager for Sodexo at the Open Golf Championship and, by his own admission, had little knowledge of the players or history of the football club.
However, with the help of the club’s owners, the Wrexham Supporters Trust, in particular its chairman Peter Jones, he is fast coming up to speed.
So as he tries to tell his Joey Jones from his Gary Bennett, the Leader met Steven at the Racecourse Ground to discover his plans for taking the club’s commercial fortunes forward.
He said: “To be honest, I just knew the basics when I first came in, but in terms of players and the history I didn’t know a lot.
“I’m an adopted Wrexham fan now.”
In the past few weeks, Steven has also been assessing how the commercial set-up had been run.
“I think there’s definitely room for improvement,” he said: “It’s almost as if I’m coming in with a clean slate.
“Part of my initial strategy was like a due diligence exercise to see who our existing clients are, who we’ve worked with in the past and see who our lapsed clients are.
“I’ve just spent the past two weeks collating them, creating a tangible database.”
Despite spending most of his time in the role so far getting up to speed, Steven has managed to bring in a number of new businesses.
“My initial strategy has been to try and fill the pitchside advertising boards and I’ve managed to bring in three in a week, with two or three others possibly coming in in the next week or two,” he said.
Before Saturday’s home game against Stockport, hundreds of flyers were put on seats promoting offers at the Cock O’Barton restaurant, which has a pitchside advertising board with the club.
“January and February are difficult times for the restaurant industry and that was something that was promised,” he said.
“They’re spending money with us so let’s keep them happy.”
Looking to the future, he added: “There’s not many matchday sponsorships and matchball sponsorships available.
“We’re still looking to get more executive box holders to take on a box for a season or on a match-by-match basis.
“So I’d be keen to target Wrexham Industrial Estate; I don’t think it’s been tapped into.
“The matchday experience is another key area for us.
“The 50/50 draw and Goldbond, they’re things that could be grown massively and easily.”
The club is also looking to target clients from the wider North Wales area and beyond.
Steven said: “I think in the past we’ve been too insular and looking at just Wrexham.
“I went to a Shropshire Reds meeting last night and they were really responsive and helped out with some leads from the area.
“They’re sponsoring the Gainsborough game on Saturday along with a business.
“Then you’ve got the Holywell Reds, the Buckley Reds and going out as far as Manchester and London.
“You’ve got big businesses in North Wales who haven’t been targeted before.
“We’ve got a fantastic fanbase that I want to engage with to give them a perception of what’s going on at the club from a commercial perspective.”
And with the club just two games away from reaching the Wembley final of the FA Trophy and still battling for promotion to the Football League, there’s never been a better time to get involved with Wrexham FC.
“People want to back a winner and it’s a perfect time for people to get involved with the club.
“The Football League would be worth about £700,000 a year to the club.
“Obviously, we don’t want to speak too soon about Wembley, but if we do get to the final we’ve certainly got plans in place to roll out ideas ASAP.
“There’s ideas in the pipeline such as a one-off kit.
“I would say to businesses to get in now while they can.”