Clive Nates celebrates his one anniversary as chairman of Lincoln City Football Club today and has described his first 12 months as “extremely successful and rewarding.”
The South African was elected into the role following the conclusion of City’s Checkatrade Trophy-winning campaign, with Roger Bates joining him as vice-chairman.
The Imps secured their first Football League title since 1976, which culminated in their first promotion to England’s third tier since 1998.
“I am delighted that we have succeeded in achieving so many of the targets that we set at the start of the season, in particular promotion from League Two and the completion of the Elite Performance Centre.
“There is a lot for all of us to be very proud of but if I had to choose one it would have to be getting promotion to League One.
“Getting the opportunity to celebrate that with our fans and players are memories that will last forever.”
Vice-chair Roger Bates also celebrates his one-year anniversary today, and Clive believes their partnership has worked well to date.
"The role of Chairman is just a title and nothing more," Clive said.
“It’s enjoyable and rewarding to work with Roger, David (Lowes) and Liam (Scully) on ExCo, albeit at times it’s like having a full time job.
“We have an inclusive and collaborative management style and the board therefore plays an important role in determining the overall strategies and individual directors also contribute their time, skills and connections in taking us forward. This even extends to a number of the investors.”
The board have welcomed several additions throughout the season, including Sean Melnick and David Lowes.
“It’s extremely important to get new people on the board or even just as investors.
“Aside from any monetary contribution, which is obviously very welcome and crucial in taking the club forward, they come with new ideas and expertise.
“We continue to have fruitful discussions with a number of prospective investors, both locally and from overseas.”
There has also been numerous changes behind the scenes, with Clive outlining the addition of CEO Liam Scully in 2017 as a key appointment.
“I am very pleased with the progress we are making off the pitch,” he added.
“It’s less than two years since Liam joined us and the decision to appoint him has been vindicated by a club which has been transformed over this period.
“Huge credit must go to all the staff that have contributed to taking us to a different level.”
As well as having a passion for the Imps, Clive has been a lifelong fan of Premier League side Everton, who City faced in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup this season, at the home of the Toffees.
He outlined the trip to Goodison Park and the victory at Stadium MK in April, as his personal highlights of the season.
“I was only able to get over for three weeks in April so I was delighted with how the timing worked out, getting over to see us beat MK Dons and virtually seal promotion and then to still be here for the matches where we clinched promotion and then won the title.”
The promotion to League One will see the Imps face former Premier League sides, FA Cup winners, and English representatives in Europe in the likes of Ipswich Town, Sunderland and Portsmouth next season, and Clive is relishing the chance to see the Imps face these sides in league fixtures.
“It feels a bit surreal,” Clive said.
“I have watched Everton playing those sides in the top flight, so it’s going to be incredible for us to be involved in league games against teams of that stature.
“What a contrast from just four years ago when I first came over to Lincoln and watched us playing Welling and Alfreton.”
While the players and supporters make the most of a summer break, Clive has revealed there is still plenty of work to be done, although he will use part of the break wisely in his South African home.
“There is still plenty going on behind the scenes and I am still kept fairly busy. Later this month I will be skyping in for a couple of ExCo meetings and a Board meeting.
“After 3 trips to the UK in the first four months of the year I have no trip planned until August, so I am at least trying to catch up on all the things I have neglected around the house and with my personal affairs.”
The off-field preparations continue, but the Imps will be back at Sincil Bank on Saturday, July 13th to face Steve Bruce’s Sheffield Wednesday.