Sunday 03rd April 2005

Please credit article to Stephen McCartney www.kentishfootball.co.uk

Ramsgate confident of meeting deadline

WITH his club six points clear at the top of the Go Travel Kent League table, with only five games to play, Ramsgate chairman Richard Lawson insists their Southwood Stadium home will meet the ground criteria for promotion, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Thanet club are spending £15,000 on ground improvements and are confident they can meet the 30th April deadline.

Speaking after their 2-1 home win over Greenwich Borough on Saturday, Lawson said: "We've had the ground grading assessment and we are trying to get all the work done before the 30th April."

Lawson revealed the extent of the work they need to carry out.  "Basically it's fencing, a little bit of safety work, extending the dug-outs and some more fencing to segregate supporters from the players.

"We are ahead of schedule, we're confident we can get the work done.

"It's going to cost us about £15,000 to get everything put together.  The money's in place, it's not a problem, and as I say, we are going to get it done."

Although 116 fans watched their game on Saturday, Lawson is confident the town can accommodate a club in either the Ryman or Southern League.

The club, however, hasn't been told which league they will be competing in next season if they do secure promotion.

Lawson said: "The town is big enough.  It has been a point over a number of years now that we haven't got the support that we deserve.

"People say that's because we are in the Kent League but if we can manage to go up then hopefully we can show the people what we can do and get more crowds in."

The club are now starting to reap the benefits of introducing a youth policy in the 2001-02 season.

Every player in their first team squad, except for Maidstone based striker Shaun Welford, comes from Thanet, and Lawson is benefiting from this now.

"What Jim (Ward) has done, he came here when he was out of senior football, he built us up, we won the league (1998-99) and when Jim decided to go to Maidstone United we decided to build on our youth.

"We've got one of the biggest youth set up's in the South of England now and what you are seeing in the first team squad are most of our kids.

"Jim is building for the future, we've got good kids coming through but we are talking to other players and everything is very bright."

Lawson added: "It's important as the boys have grown together.  We don't have to go out and pay silly money to get players in.  We've nurtured them, brought them forward and we're reaping the benefits now."

Jim Ward, the club's first team manager, who has admitted he was desperate for promotion, added: "As you look around the ground, there's thousands of pounds being spent up here - we need to win the league."