Monday 20th June 2005

Lawson admits Ramsgate are ready for Ryman football

RAMSGATE chairman Richard Lawson admits the club are embarking on a very big year as they prepare for Ryman League football, writes Stephen McCartney.

And he praised the people that have all pulled together to make sure the club will be playing Ryman League division one football, when the season gets underway on 20th August.

"Towards the end of last season it was a kind of hectic time in trying to reach the criteria, promotion and everything was done at a rush, very quickly," he admits.

Lawson reveals the improvements that have been made at the ground to enable the Kent League double winners to make the step up.

"Everyone pulled together very well, but its the summer time and the time to reflect and pull those loose things together if you like," he told the club's website.

"One thing that has been very frustrating is waiting for the planning permission for the new floodlights to go in.

"It should be in within two weeks, if not, we will put own application in, with a grant application and hopefully get new floodlights in the ground around October/November time.  That is the aim and the important side of things at the moment."

Lawson has invested thousands of pounds in ground improvements in recent months to make sure the Thanet club gained promotion. 

The club are looking forward to playing lucrative Kent derbies against Dover Athletic, Tonbridge Angels, Ashford Town and Cray Wanderers.

"With the respect of the ground itself, we are still doing some ongoing works; there is a change to the turnstile block.  The ground is more compact, it's better set out but we've got some big plans over the club in the next few years if we can," Lawson revealed.

"We are certainly looking to move the changing rooms and main clubhouse and if possible, put an astro turf pitch in, so we have all weather training facilities, not just for the club - but for the community to use as well."

And with the biggest youth structure in Kent football already in place, Lawson wants more youngsters to get involved.

"The other thing, which I think is very important for the club and youth section is that we are building very strong links with the local schools, especially Clarendon House," he said.

"They have been kind enough to let us use their recreation ground and playing facilities through the season for youth games.

"We are talking at the moment with Clarendon and Kent County Council in perhaps upgrading the facilities there, so we can use it more as a training centre for the youth and that is something will be letting people know about.

"It is a great facility up there, and it is a big thing for the club, because to get training facilities together for all the youth teams ,as well as playing facilities, there  will be 3-4 pitches and main pitches for the use on Sundays.

"It will then take the pressure of the main pitch at Southwood.  As you know it was not one of the best playing surfaces last season and we will be using it for more games now as we are playing at a higher level."

Lawson, however, praised the many people behind the scenes that have worked tirelessly to make sure the club were promoted.

"I think everything is going quite well this summer.  It's frustrating that things don't just happen, we have to make them happen and of course there's only a very small group of people that make this club run and in saying that I think it is a good group of people we have ever had up here.

"They work for eachother , we do get frustrated, but we get through it."