Cheltenham Town chairman Baker: It is nearly time to stand down
PAUL Baker has hinted that his long and historic reign as chairman of Cheltenham Town could soon be drawing to a close.
Speaking in an exclusive webchat with the Echo yesterday, Baker said that after 15 years at the helm he was considering his future.
He has overseen the Robins' meteoric rise from a part-time Southern League club into a fully professional and established Football League outfit.
Since guiding the club out of the financial troubles that peaked in 2009, Baker has taken more of a withdrawn role, with other directors taking on more responsibility.
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He can now often be found sat or stood in among the travelling Cheltenham fans at away matches with his children.
The addition to the board of Tim Kent, John Murphy and Tim Russon has lightened Baker's workload and he admitted the time could be approaching for him to stand down.
"Nothing is forever and I've had a fantastic 17 years as a director and chairman of Cheltenham Town," Baker said.
"There have been some massive highlights, with experiences that money can't buy.
"I have also had some massive problems, concerns and worries, but the club is now much stronger at board level than it has been since I arrived here.
"My role now is very different and I used to be far more involved in the running of the club. I've taken a back seat role and maybe that's what a chairman should do.
"But I've given it a lot over the years and I think there is probably a time approaching I will be looking to question my involvement as chairman and possibly director."
Kent has taken on much of the financial responsibilities, while Murphy oversees the youth system and Russon has recently arrived as commercial director.
"The roles are much more spread around and those three and (vice chairman) Colin Farmer do a lot more than me," Baker said.
"Tim Kent is often there three or four days a week, also spending time at home working on budgets and John Murphy has done an amazing job with the youth department.
"Tim Russon has taken a very hands-on role looking at how we can attract more fans to the clubs. I chair the meetings, but the club is no longer dependent on me the way it was."
Baker's chairmanship has seen Cheltenham win the FA Trophy at the old Wembley Stadium in 1998, followed promotion to the Football League 12 months later after 112 years in the non-League game.
They have since claimed victory in two League Two play-off finals at the Millennium Stadium and spent four of their 14 Football League seasons in the third tier.
They visited the new Wembley last season, but lost their 100 per cent play-off record as Crewe Alexandra denied them a return to League One.
Baker said a perfect note on which to bow out would be a third promotion via the play-offs.
His favourite memories include the major finals, along with the 2-1 success at Leeds United in 2008.
He named his favourite player as Neil Grayson and said that with hindsight, his worst decision as chairman was appointing Martin Allen.