Chairman says it’s time for change ahead of AGM

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Banbridge Town chairman Andrew Cully has reiterated the need for change at the club ahead of Thursday’s AGM.

NIFL, the governing body of the top three divisions of Northern Irish football has proposed changes to the leagues that could have huge implications for Town. If the proposals pass, the next two years could be instrumental in deciding the club’s future with little room for error on the pitch.

Cully says that attitude must extend to Town’s off the field dealings.

“There is no doubt that the club needs restructured,” he said.

“We need to get people involved. It’s a members club and those who are prepared to stand must contribute. A hard-working committee will make the job much easier for a chairman.

“It appears that there is a very good interest in the club.

“With the restructuring of the leagues, it’s very important for Banbridge Town to push on.

“There is no question that at some stage the club will need to get licenses. Ryan Watson’s ambitious and I have no ndoubt that he is the man to take the bit between his teeth and progress.

“He’ll need everybody behind him. We need to form a good committee and, moreso than ever, there needs to be a very strong emmphasis on getting the club into a better financial set-up with a structure to it.

“That means bringing in new people and new ideas. Everybody needs to get behind it and contribute to the club.

“It’s time for a change, new ideas and new initiatives.”

Over the next two seasons, Banbridge’s 16-team Championship Two will morph into the 12-team Premiership Intermediate Division.

Banbridge finished sixth in Championships Two last season but any sort of a slip in league positions could lead a catastrophic relegation.

This season, two or three teams will slip out of the top three national divisions. If there is an eligible applicant to be promoted to Championship Two as Dollingstown have been, three teams will go down. If there is no eligible applicant, only two will plummet through the trap door.

That will bring Championship Two down to 14 teams for the 215/16 season. Teams that survive that cut will have to have their wits about them for the 15/16 season as another four or even five teams will go down, depending on the eligible applicant as above. That will leave the division at its desired 12 teams with Championship One also shrinking from 14 to 12 teams.

However, if Town were to rise up the table this season, they would also have a heightened chance of promotion, with two teams going up to Championship One, which will become the 12-team Championship.

In the 15/16 season, Town’s sixth place could even be enough to secure promotion, with 11th place in Championship One playing off for a spot in the second tier with the highest ranked club in the top six places in Championship Two with a Championship License.

From the 16/17 season onwards, second and third will play-off for the chance to play 11th place in the new Championship for a place in the second tier.

Town’s AGM will take place on Thursday evening at 7.30pm in the clubrooms at Crystal Park.