Exmouth Town are set for a major expansion following the signing of a 28-year lease on their Southern Road home, writes Steve Birley.

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Town chairman Bob Chamberlain has been working tirelessly over the past four years to bring this to fruition and in the past fortnight forms were signed which mean the exciting development of Exmouth Town can get underway!

The club has made a formal application to switch to the Western League next season. For that to happen the team must now finish in a top three berth in the South West Peninsula League Premier Division.

First thing on the wish list at the club is improved floodlighting and a new stand. Chamberlain explained saying: “The lease was always the key. Once we had that signed it enabled us to go for the grants of up to £100,000 offered by the Football Association. It’s been a long time coming, but at last I see a very bright future for the club.”

As well as improved floodlighting the club propose to construct an additional grandstand which will take the Southern Road seating to 200 plus. There are plans also to extend the clubhouse and kitchen so as to be able to provide match day hospitality and stage larger functions at the club. It’s not all about the present though for past of the plan is to develop an area by the main pitch to become a floodlit training area for the teams to use with the primary function of also being a standard sized area for Under-10 football.

The club will be able to move quickly on their plans and recently completed the formal setting up of a limited company from which to run the club affairs.

Chamberlain says: “The key now is to make sure we get into that top three slot. When I appointed Richard Pears (the Town boss), someone I have known for some time, I always felt that he would be the ideal person to guide us on the pitch through these exciting changes we always intended to introduce off it as we seek to regain the status the club had in the 1980’s when Western League football and FA Vase runs were the norm at Southern Road. I am ambitious and I feel this Town can support a Western League club. Of course a hugely important part of this all working is for the business side of the club to grow at a similar rate. To that end I am very keen to recruit a commercial manager and would ask anyone interested to get in touch with me.”

When Town last played Western League football the highlight was arguably the two-legged FA Vase semi-finals with Fleetwood Town who are of course these days playing their football at the same level as Exeter City in the Football League.

Chamberlain says: “Football is all about ambition and vision and the most successful clubs are clearly those who get everything right on and off the pitch at what ever level they compete at. My wish for Exmouth Town is that we play at as high a level as we can and I have little doubt that we can take this club forward to greater things.”

Another piece in the Town jigsaw was completed recently and that was a two-and-a-half year first team sponsorship deal with Bradford’s whilst a similar length of sponsorship has been agreed for the Reserves side at Southern Road with Palmers Whitton and Laing.

Chamberlain says: “We are really grateful to both Bradfords and PalmersWhitton and Laing for this support and indeed I’d like to say a big loud thank you to all the good business folk who support us with various sponsorships. Without them we simply could not plan some an exciting and ambitious future.”

One thing that comes out loud and clear when speaking with Bob Chamberlain is that he has a real thirst for this project. Combine that with the drive of the talented Richard Pears and Exmouth Town fans can look forward to an exciting future.

If anyone is interested in the role of commercial manager at Southern Road they are asked to contact Chamberlain on 07771532787.

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