We've got a lot to do but I back myself to get it finished on time, says Farnborough Old Boys Guild's Matt Ellis
FARNBOROUGH Old Boys Guild face a race against time to get their dressing rooms finished on time to seal promotion.
The club clinched the NRG Gym Kent County League Division One West title following their 1-1 home draw against second-placed Peckham Town on the final day of the season.
But in order to win promotion to the Premier Division, the club has to improve their facilities for players and they came up with the idea of raising the money through well-wishes online.
“We have raised over £10,000 now via various channels but still are looking for further funding,” said Matt Ellis, who has stepped down as joint-manager due to family commitments but is taking charge of the development of the Farnborough High Street outfit.
“We have added the space for three showers and a WC to our two biggest changing rooms. We have also received confirmation that our new sponsor will cover the labour cost of installing an entire new boiler, water tank and waste system within the clubhouse, plus help us seek further donations for materials such as boilers, water tanks, thermostats and shower fixtures from their partners. A truly stunning gesture and one that will easily equate to over £10,000.”
When asked what has to be done ahead of the deadline, Ellis revealed: “Six or seven playing members (including first team players Rohann Howell, Dan Rose, Ray Knight and Harry Tanner) helped demolish all the internal patrician walls, existing showers, toilets, benches, doors, resulting in a blank canvass on Saturday.
“Former first team coach Trevor Clark was there yesterday to erect new stud walls. From today we had Will Sullivan dry lining the entire changing area.
“One of our sponsors are due to install new waste pipes next week. Once the new boiler is installed, we can plumb in the new shower systems etc, then finally tile, decorate and lay the new flooring, so a lot to do but I back myself to get it finished in time!”
The club are also improving their pitches at their ground.
“We’ve received a grant from Cory Environmental to upgrade the playing surfaces on both pitches. The work is almost complete and I can report that both surfaces are looking immaculate,” said Ellis.
“The area around the top pitch has been fenced off and machinery along with 200 tonnes of red sand have been delivered ready to be spread and incorporated into the playing surface of the top pitch. The intention of including sand into the surface is to break down the impervious nature of the top layer and improve the flow of surface water to the underlying drainage.
“The top pitch was sprayed with a glyphosate application two weeks ago to kill off the existing surface vegetation which has now been removed. A number of existing drainage channels have been de-capped meaning they have been excavated down to the gravel that provides easy drainage to the underlying pipes. These will be topped up to the surface with coarse red sand which will improve the flow of surface water into the drains giving them a chance to work effectively.
“The main pitch has been spiked and aerated using a process called verti-draining which leaves thousands of holes over the pitch that provide drainage and airflow to the root ball. The pitch has also been top dressed which involves the spreading and dragging of 60 tonnes of washed sport sand in several directions. This dragging process allows sand to fill the spiked holes which in turn keeps the holes open for longer thereby maintaining aeration for a longer period. The main pitch has also had an application of herbicide and fertiliser in addition to being overseeded.”
When asked what League they will be playing in next season, Ellis remained tight-lipped.
“That is not something I am willing to comment on at this time, ask me next week!”
The club have appointed Andy Giles as their new manager, replacing Ellis and Luke Johnson.
“I will continue to be a committee member and will be part of the Sunday side. Sadly, due to family commitments I am no longer able to run the first team,” said Ellis.
“I wish Andy the best of luck. He comes into a winning side and a squad packed full of talent and desire. If he can harness that, as Luke and I did over the last two seasons, I predict this team will be once again challenging for titles come May next year.
“I was with Luke on Sunday night and I think he aims to continue in a playing capacity with the first team. We will both be around for pre-season, using the sessions to get fit but also to aid the transition from our regime to Andy’s.”
After five seasons of the Kent Invicta League, the League has merged to become the Southern Counties East Football League First Division.
Kent County League clubs can apply to join the Step Six division if their ground meets ground grading criteria.
“Having taken a step down from management, I am more focused than ever on raising the clubs status as a whole,” said Ellis.
“The committee has allowed me to take a pivotal role in the development of the club from both a building/ascetics perspective and also in the development of youth academy.
“It’s my aim to have Farnborough Old Boys Guild in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division, a redesigned clubhouse and a fully operational kids football Academy by the 2018-19 season. That marks the 40th year the club has been at its current site.”
Visit Farnborough Old Boys Guild’s website: www.fobgfc.org