Chris Errington: Colin Sexstone brings great experience to Pilgrims plans
COLIN SEXSTONE could turn out to be one of the most important signings made by Argyle this season.
The 64-year-old was appointed as a non-executive director of the League Two club by owner and chairman James Brent last week.
Attendances at Home Park this term are some way short of the 8,000 break-even figure.
That has put considerable pressure on Argyle's finances and Brent has had to fund the shortfall out of his own pocket.
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It will have been a substantial amount of money because gates have only been averaging 6,300.
Unless results on the pitch start to improve, and soon, there is no prospect of attendances coming close to 8,000.
So driving up revenue from other sources must be high on Brent's agenda, and that is where Sexstone will come in.
He was the chief executive of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club from 1996 to 2001 and oversaw a period of tremendous progress.
Not only did Gloucestershire win five one-day trophies, their ground in Bristol was converted so it could stage England internationals.
Sexstone then spent 11 years with Bristol City Football Club, initially as chief executive and later as chairman.
City not only established themselves in the Championship during that period, but they expanded their income away from football.
International rugby was brought to Ashton Gate and the stadium also staged a series of high-profile concerts, with acts including The Rolling Stones and The Who.
Sexstone (right) will surely try to adopt the same approach at Argyle, especially with plans for a new grandstand on the cards.
There is no reason why Home Park could not host England Saxons ('B' team) rugby internationals, for example, and make money out of them.
It would not only appeal to rugby fans from Plymouth but also Cornwall, which is a hotbed for the sport.
And, remember, the pitch at Home Park which was laid in the summer of 2010 is suitable for rugby to be played on it without causing wear and tear.
Argyle dabbled in holding concerts at Home Park under the chairmanship of Paul Stapleton, with mixed results.
Elton John was the first major act to play there in 2007 and was followed by George Michael, Meat Loaf and Westlife.
Rod Stewart performed at Home Park in 2009 and there have not been any concerts since then.
As I understand it, the club still have a licence to host a certain number of concerts each year and that is an area Sexstone is sure to explore.
A new grandstand at Home Park will mean bars, conference facilities, function rooms and suites.
Many football clubs stage regular cabaret nights with top comedians and musical acts, as well as guest speaker evenings.
Argyle have not been able to venture into that, however, because the current facilities are so limited.
That could all be about to change, with the planning application for a new grandstand set to be submitted early in 2013.
Sexstone can also provide advice and guidance to Brent on football matters.
That is an area that has been lacking since former chairman of football Peter Ridsdale quit Argyle for Preston North End last December.
Brent is a successful businessman but a self-confessed football novice. Sexstone, an experienced sports administrator, will be a good sounding board for him.