Despite their recent financial worries, Banbridge Town have a bright future ahead.
That’s the view of the club’s newly elected chairman Stephen Radcliffe, who already has big plans for his term in charge.
Since the AGM less than two weeks ago, Radcliffe has been hard at work, preparing to foster links with other clubs in the area, primarily Banbridge Town Juniors and Ladies clubs and also two other as yet unnamed local football clubs.
“Hopefully we’re well on our way out of the corner,” he said of the club’s financial state.
“We’re not totally out but we’re in a better place than we were. There will be a different mindset and a bright future. It’s early days but we’re cautiously optimistic of that.”
All of the new chairman’s work has been done with as yet only one other confirmed committee member, while the remaining seats will be filled at another upcoming EGM.
“Due to our circumstances, I wanted to let that sit for the minute and there will be an EGM in the coming weeks, when the committee will be elected,” confirmed Stephen.
“We need people who are prepared to work for the club. There is a huge amount of work to be done.
“Our financial position is well known but we are set to put a massive dent in that.
“There are ongoing negotiations with creditors and that will all hopefully come to fruition in the next number of weeks.
“Once that’s all sorted, we are starting on a clean slate and then we have to push forward.”
Radcliffe also stressed the importance of gaining a Championship License following NIFL’s change to the league structure.
Failure to do so, under the new NIFl structures to the leagues, could have serious implications for the club’s future in the national divisions.
“The Championship License is a golden ticket for us and for all clubs,” he said.
“That’s why we have to get our house in order and it’s our key goal to achieve the license. It’s a requirement they are asking for and a standard we should be achieving.”
Radcliffe also confirmed his desire to grow the club via an amalgamation with other clubs in the town.
“Negotiations are ongoing with the Juniors to come on board as one club,” he said.
“Hopefully that’s not too faw away. I’d love to have them on board with us, as well as Banbridge Ladies. The last time I was involved at the club, there was a coming together with the ladies. We need to pick that up again. It would be good for the football family.
“We’re also negotiating with two other clubs about developing links. It might not happen but you have to try these things. We’ll see what response we get.
“Everyone has something to learn from each other. There will be things that other clubs do well that we don’t and things we do well that they don’t.
“I want to bring that together and see what we can do for the game.
“Junior football is massive for me. It’s the lifeblood of any sport and we have to get that link through to the senior club.
“It’s a huge step and I think we should be trying to do it.”
Further to that, Radcliffe also spoke of fostering more links to the County Down Milk Cup squad in a bid to bring the team’s training to Banbridge and help local footballers to make it to the Milk Cup.
After the recent turmoil at the club, Radcliffe, then, is hopeful that the AGM has marked a new dawn for Banbridge Town and he also paid tribute to the supporters for helping to lighten the load.
“It’s been hard to keep it going and people are doing a tough job,” he said.
“Banbridge Town Supporters Club have been phenomenal to say the least. It’s a members club and they have to operate the club.
“That’s where our strength is going to lie.”
If anyone would like to help Banbridge Town financially or practically, contact the club.