Friday 19 April
New backers target Premier place
Urchins aim for the top
by PETER BUTCHER and GARY HAINES
CHRISTMAS has come early for Mick Marsden, manager of promoted Ryman
League club Hornchurch.
Having masterminded their rise to Division One on a shoestring budget, Marsden
has now been promised the funds to make an all-out bid for the Premier Division
Harold Wood window company Bryco, the club's shirt sponsors, have
backers who are determined to put Urchins on the football map.
Marsden has been told he has the money to bring some top signings to
Cash will also be made available to improve the stadium itself and obtain
the A grading that would be needed to make promotion possible.
Current chairman Tony Wallace will retain his post at the head of a
three-man board. And the popular Marsden will remain in charge of the first
team, having turned down a promotion to director of football. He will be allowed
a first-team squad of 18 contracted players, maybe more.
"We mustn't get carried away," Marsden said. "We will be
frugal, not silly, and we won't become an easy touch. But now we are in an
position to compete with other clubs financially. Obviously there are players
around I'd like to see at Hornchurch."
The new regime will take early steps to make friends with local residents.
The social club at the ground, about which there have been many complaints, will
be closed and the clubhouse used only on match days and for football club
Hornchurch aim to become a real community club, and under-12s will be
admitted free to all games from the start of next season.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for the club," Wallace told the Recorder
"It will allow us to get to a level we wouldn't have dreamed about and
become competitive in the Ryman Premier. Who'd ever have thought that little old
Hornchurch could get that far?
"It's an exciting time for everyone involved with the club,"
The future plans are even more exciting. The club are in the early stages of
negotiations with Havering Council to obtain a long lease on the stadium.
That would enable Urchins to build on the present, worn-out athletics track
and convert the ground into a proper football arena.
A new 400 metre six-lane athletics track for the Havering Mayesbrook
club, complete with its own parking and clubhouse facilities, would be created
at the south end of the site.
An all-weather playing pitch would be sited in the middle of the track and
both would be made available for school and community use.
That, though, is some way down the line. But we are told that the money
required for next season's promotion drive is already in the bank.
The club reckon that the work they need to do to acquire their A grade can
all be done within the terms of their existing lease.
Havering Mayesbrook Athletic Club chairman Doug Tierney says he only found
out about the plans last Friday when he saw surveyors at the stadium.
He said: "If there is something in the melting pot we are disappointed
that the football club have chosen not to involve us in any discussions.
"In the last 12 months we have been completely transparent with them
and involved them in all our plans."