Two new directors at Stockport County include former commercial director Steve Bellis and local business C&C’s managing director Malcolm Cooke.
Steve needs little introduction to County fans, having been Commercial Director with the club during the 1990s. Through his innovative approach to grassroots initiatives, he engaged the players with the local community and consequently grew County’s youth membership by 600%.
He also took County into China in 2001 and 2004, and across vast swathes of that country he created a profile for the Hatters which was bigger than the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona.
Steve is regularly asked to speak internationally on grassroots football development and the internationalisation of football brands.
Using the County model Steve’s company, Kickworldwide, aims to build support and service grassroots football in countries without a sophisticated football development infrastructure.
Since April 2014, Steve has been a Senior Adviser to the Stockport County Board of Directors.
Steve, 51, said: “For the past two years, I’ve been doing as much as possible in my own time to help the club get back on its feet after several years in the doldrums, in order that we can leave it in safe hands for future generations.
“During this time, I’ve been hugely encouraged by the fantastic group of people in place at Edgeley Park, so I was honoured to be invited to join the Board and had no hesitation in accepting. I look forward to working hard with my fellow Directors in the coming years to take this club back where it belongs.”
The club has also invited local businessman Malcolm Cooke to join the Board. Malcolm brings considerable business acumen to the table and is an existing shareholder who has already invested significant funds to support the club.
Malcolm, 50, is Managing Director of Stockport-based C&C Insurance Brokers Ltd, a privately-owned independent broker, established in 1975.
C&C Insurance Brokers Ltd (www.cc-insure.com) is one of the top 50 independent brokers in the UK, and employs more than 80 professional staff.
Malcolm said: “Since becoming a shareholder at County, I’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to try and help the club and I already meet regularly with the Board of Directors to offer my support and advice. I am honoured to be offered a formal position at the football club and look forward to increasing my involvement in the day-to-day running of Stockport County.
“The last two or three years has seen a massive improvement off the pitch and I have every confidence the new team in place can continue this great work and restore County to its rightful place in the Football League.”
Stockport County Chairman Richard Park said: “We are delighted to welcome Steve and Malcolm onto the Board of Directors. They both have a wealth of experience in a number of diverse areas, which will be a great help as we continue to take the club forward.
“Steve, of course, achieved incredible results in terms of putting County on the map in the 1990s, whilst Malcolm has significant business and commercial experience, which will be a huge asset to us. Alongside myself, Gary Burton and Jon Keighren, I believe we have a great team in place at Edgeley Park.
“Both Steve and Malcolm share our passion about Stockport County and we know them very well already, so I look forward to cementing that relationship and working with them in the months and years ahead.”