Wednesday 02nd November 2005

Thorogood: We need support from local businessmen

Tim Thorogood has called upon local businessmen to help claw Ryman League Division One strugglers Ashford Town out of the doldrums, writes Stephen McCartney.

The chairman/joint-manager of the Homelands club saw his side escape relegation into the Kent League by only one point last season, and having played 14 games so far this season, collecting only 12 points, Ashford have only five teams below them in the table.

Ashford crashed to their eighth league defeat of the season going down 2-0 at Dulwich Hamlet last night, and Thorogood is pleading with the town's business folk to help bring the good times back to the club.

Thorogood and fellow manager John Cumberbatch locked their players inside the dressing room until 10:30pm at Champion Hill last night to lift their troops ahead of their trip to fellow strugglers Lymington & New Milton on Saturday.

With Kent football blossoming this season, Ashford Town are the only club in the county that's struggling and with gates dwindling to an average of just 178 from their first seven home league games, Thorogood has issued a plea for anybody to come forward to lift the club out of this gloom.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk Thorogood said: "I see it no different from last season really at the moment.

"We're probably better off than we were last season at this stage but it's difficult because we don't have the finances.

"We don't have the money to do what we want to do.  The crowds have obviously gone down.  We are a financially struggling club at the moment and it's difficult to make ends meet."

With many people working tirelessly to maintain the club's Ryman League status both on and off the pitch, Thorogood wants to hear from people who are willing to take the club forward.

"People in Ashford Town should come and support it," he said.  "It's always astonished me how people can sit and criticise us.

"Everybody's working really hard for this football club, players and staff but everybody in Ashford criticises what we are putting on a football field.

"We can't put on the football field experienced players on good wages when we've got people who don't come and watch us.

"Everybody says we want a football team in Ashford - well, no disrespect it takes a  man outside Ashford to put his money into actually keeping it alive."

Bexley based Thorogood added: "People of Ashford need to support this football club.

"There needs to be businesses that come and support this football club, which some do very kindly and graciously, but unfortunately that's not enough really.

"There is a lot of hard work from individuals but unfortunately there's a lot of huff and puff but unfortunately at the end of the day the one thing that will always speak is money.

"Our gates have gone down on average of 100 a game and that is worrying.  But it's a shame.  What backing do we get from the town?

"Apart from a few local businesses, and I say some have been great supporters of this football club, we get no help from the council.

"The other contributor is a friend of mine - Jamie Garratt - who gives us a bit of money for the club and is one of the other directors.

"I'm not being funny, this club has difficult times.  If anyone wants us to go forward they need to come forward, get involved with the football club and put some money in.

"We want other directors who want to be involved with this football club.

"If people are interested in football they should come forward and have a chat with me and Mark Jenner and get involved.

"Because at the end of the day I've been here five years and in that time I haven't had one individual from Ashford contribute any money, baring sponsorship deals from local businesses, and I thank them for that.

"But we're looking for individuals that want to come and get involved with the club but unfortunately we haven't got any."

* Ashford Town's next game at The Homelands is on Saturday, 19th November (3pm) when Fleet Town are the visitors in a Ryman League fixture.

So if you haven't attended a game for a while, this is your chance to prove to Thorogood that you really care about YOUR football club.