The club is in safe hands, insists Angels' chairman Sullivan

Friday 19th May 2006

Nick Sullivan celebrated his first season as Tonbridge Angels’ chairman and admitted "overall this has been our most successful season to date", writes Stephen McCartney.

The season just past has been a very successful campaign for the Betterview Longmead Stadium club.

To cap it all off the first team secured promotion back into the Ryman Premier League at the first attempt, when over 1800 fans watched their thrilling 3-2 victory over arch-rivals Dover Athletic in the play-off final after finishing their 44-match campaign in third place in the Ryman League Division One table.

Sullivan, who played in goal for Arsenal, Bromley and Tonbridge amongst others, was quick to praise the support of the Longmead Stadium faithful and told "I’ve been told by various people connected to the club that overall this has been our most successful season to date."

All of their youth sides improved on last season’s final league positions. On top of that the under 9’s finished league champions, the under 10’s and under 11’s both reached cup finals.

The under 13’s, in their first year in the Kent Youth League finished runners up after an incredible 32 league games. They also reached the County Cup final.

The Under 13’s Colts won their league. The under 16’s were County Cup finalists and the under 18 first year's won the Kent Youth League and were also John Ullman Cup finalists.

Sullivan added: "In addition to all this we had two of our boys selected for the England Under 18 Schoolboys side. Congratulations to Matt Hollyoak and Ian Parkes."

Julian Leigh’s reserve side finished their campaign 21 matches unbeaten, winning both the Kent Intermediate Cup (with a 4-0 convincing win at Gravesend & Northfleet) and Danny Powell’s 89th minute strike saw them beat Burnham to collect the Suburban League Shield.

Sullivan said: "The reserve side was always going to take time to settle down after the wholesale changes made last summer.

"From mid December until the end of the season the side were undefeated for 21 games and they won the Kent Intermediate Cup and the Suburban League Shield.

"Several of the reserves made their debuts in the first team during the season and it was also nice to see first team players coming back from injury in the reserve side without the attitude that it was a punishment to play in the reserves.

"I feel that with the excellent managers and coaches we have in place at all age groups and our continuing support of their development and training the future of the club is in great hands.

"The icing on the cake was promotion of the first team, we might have done it the hard way but few of us who were at the Dover game will ever forget that day in a hurry.

"It was a team effort both on and off the field. I said when I first took over that if we all pulled together that anything was possible and that has certainly proved to be the case.

"The players rightly take the plaudits but the unsung heroes are the ones who put so much time, effort and money into the club and who should not be forgotten.

"To you the supporters, your support especially away from home where it has been really noticeable is greatly appreciated."

Looking ahead to next season, Sullivan said: "Success next season for this club is to show that we can compete at the higher level and a mid table finish would be progression.

"The club is in better shape this time around but we cannot afford to take anything for granted. There is a lot of hard work to come and together I am confident we can achieve our goals."

The club are spreading it’s presentation night over two nights. On Friday 2nd June (under 7s to under 14s) and on Saturday 3rd June (under 15s to the first team).

Tickets, priced at just £2, are available on the door.

Sullivan added: "I look forward to seeing you there. If not enjoy the summer break."