We're finally moving back to where we belong, says Fisher joint-manager Billy Walton
Wednesday 02nd July 2014FISHER joint-manager Billy Walton says everyone is really excited about the news that the club will be returning back home to their Rotherhithe roots.
Southwark Council voted eight-to-nil in the club’s favour last night as plans were accepted to re-develop St Paul’s Recreation Ground, which is some 100 yards from the club’s former Surrey Docks Stadium, in Salter Road, London SE16.
A new 3G pitch will be re-laid at the venue.
Fisher Athletic’s former ground will be turned into 103 residential dwellings by property developers Fairview Homes, who will stump up half the funding for a Ryman Premier League standard ground for the club.
The total cost of the works to bring Fisher back home are estimated at £950,000 and Fairview will contribute £500,000.
This would cover the cost of the upgrade surfacing and parking, the new 3G pitch, fencing and lighting.
The club would submit a joint application with the council to the Football Foundation and Football Stadia Improvement fund for approximately £225,000 worth of funding.
It is envisaged that the remaining £225,000 would be match funded by the council through its funds.
The funding would secure the clubhouse, two metal spectator stands, each capable of accommodating up to 150 spectators and further spectator standing and PA system.
Walton said: “Actually brilliant news. We was all waiting at the training ground waiting for the news to come through so I could tell everyone.
“Everyone’s really excited about the news. It’s positive all round. It’s a great start to the season with this news coming through that we’re finally moving back to where we belong, absolutely brilliant, brilliant!”
Walton is looking forward to the season ahead.
“We’re looking forward to it. We just want to slowly build a team that can compete and finish a lot higher than what we have done in the last three or four years. There’s loads of positive signs.
“It’s going to be hard. Everyone knows it’s going to be hard. It’s a hard league to compete in nowadays with the resources other teams have got but I’m sure with Simon (Halsey) and Keith (Jarvis) coming on board there’s a lot of experience and a lot of football people around the club now so we’re moving in the right directions.
“It’s taken a while, hopefully it will be success all round this year.”
Fisher begin their pre-season campaign with a trip to Sheppey United on Saturday.
The Ites will be playing Kent Invicta League football this coming season after finishing second in the Kent County League last season.
Walton said: “We’ll treat it very seriously. I wouldn’t disrespect any team. We’re going to go there and take a strong squad and hopefully we’ll get a real competitive game out of it.
“Sheppey will look into it as Fisher are a massive club and a big scalp and that is what the lads have got to get in their heads.
“We’ll treat it as an away game in the FA Cup or FA Vase. We’ve got to go there and do a job. I’m looking forward to it.
“I don’t treat any game like a friendly – I’m too competitive for that!”
When asked about new faces on show at Holm Park, Walton replied: “We’ll have six or seven lads coming with us for the weekend. There’s some good players on show at the moment so hopefully they’ll stick around.
“Everyone does the club-to-club scenarios at this stage of the season but like I say to them if you can play and you want to play decent football, the way we believe football should be played, this is the club to join because we’ll certainly play that style of football that we all know that were accustomed too.
“If you want to play football on the floor and pass, pass, pass and pass like all the continental sides do, this is what we all aim to do so hopefully they’ll take that on board and demonstrate that on Saturday.”
Fisher now have the carrot of a new ground to entice players to the club.
“This is what I’ve been saying to people – try to look at the bigger picture, just don’t look at this season,” explained Walton, who doesn’t have a playing budget.
“This is a building season for us and I’m sure when we move back home we can attract some sponsors and people who want to put some coppers in the tin so hopefully we can attract people like that to come along and sponsor the club.”
Walton is one of the jovial characters on the circuit and insists he enjoys managing the club during its period in exile.
He said: “It’s extremely tough. Not on the field, as I’ve said to you many times before.
“I don’t feel pressure or anything like that. I enjoy doing the job that I do, especially being at Fisher so no matter how hard it is, I just enjoy every game.
“It’s just like everything about Fisher, the club and the football, I just love being involved in it.
“It’s not tough to me. I just enjoy it to be honest with you.”
Walton paid tribute to Gerry Cox, the coach who left the club during the close season.
“I just like to add thanks very much to Gerry Cox for everything that he’s done for us,” said Walton.
“Gerry’s now left. I do believe that he’s finally retired from football and I wish him all the best and just to thank him very much for his efforts and the stuff he did last year – he’s a very good football person Gerry.”
Visit Fisher’s website: www.fisherfc.co.uk
Sheppey United v Fisher
Saturday 5th July 2014
Kick Off 1:00pm
At Holm Park, St Peter’s Close, Queenborough Road, Sheerness, Kent ME12 3DD