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Southport appoint Natalie Atkinson as full-time CEO

Southport have appointed Natalie Atkinson as their CEO.

Atkinson held the same role for 18 months at the Sandgrounders’ National League North rivals Curzon Ashton and is also a member of the National League board.

Her previous roles have been working as the Football Development Manager at the Manchester FA and as the National Governing Body Manager at Merseyside Sports Partnership.

A Board spokesman said: “From the outset, our goal was always to take the football club full time off the pitch and bring a level of professionalism needed to take the club forward as quickly as possible.

“Natalie brings with her a wealth of experience and an envious track record of success in many areas, all of which our club needs to massively improve upon. Her enthusiasm and determination is infectious and we know she is absolutely the right person to lead the football club off the pitch.

“Natalie will be working on a full time basis, and will have responsibility for the running of the football club, under the guidance of the board, from top to bottom.

“Natalie will be working to take a number of projects forward for us including, community and schools` engagement, charitable status, fan engagement, commercial activity, partnerships, our new academy, the ground refurbishments and the overall growth, internal structure and development of the football club, as we aim for the Football League.

“As a Board we want to ensure the football club is run as a business, and becomes fully self-sufficient within three years, to that end we are moving to a more business orientated structure of CEO and Board of Directors and retiring the role of Chairman with immediate effect, leaving five Directors to move the club forward together with Natalie.”

With Atkinson in place at Southport, some bookmakers are offering free bets on there being a new manager in place by the start of next season. A number of sources close to the club feel that she will be keen to install a new ethos, with a focus on entertaining football that can deliver both commercial and footballing success.

“I’m thrilled and excited to have been offered the position of CEO at Southport Football Club,” Atkinson said.

“My past experiences within the FA and as a CEO in non-league football has given me the insight and skills required to execute this role. However, I will be working hand in hand with the board to deliver our ambition of moving this club forward, building a stable platform for future growth and success.

“Whilst performance on the field is of absolute importance, many factors behind the scenes will contribute to this. Firstly, I acknowledge there are many stakeholders in a football club, perhaps the most important of these are the fans. I’m a great believer in communication and one of my first endeavors will be to meet them and listen to their views.

“Secondly, the physical fabric of the club is what everyone sees first and it will be my role to continue to develop this, enhancing the image and our reputation as a professional and progressive club.

“I have great hopes for the success of this football club and I promise I will work endlessly to help to achieve this goal. Thank you for letting me take this opportunity”.

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