Budleigh Salterton Football Club: "A long way off being finished!"
PUBLISHED: 08:38 26 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:38 26 June 2019
Budleigh Salterton Football Club secretary Keith Wood has made an impassioned plea for people to 'stop getting the wrong idea about all, things BSAFC'.
The Greenway Lane official says: "A lot has been said and written about the Robins over the past season, with much of the stories and rumours being a source of some amusement and astonishment to everyone at Greenway Lane.
"The past season was certainly a real battle on the pitch. Short on players and the loss of the influential Alex Paltridge in the very first game with a severe head injury was followed by unforeseen circumstances with team management and everything seemed to conspire against the club in such a short space of time.
"With all that was going on changes simply had to be made to ensure the future of senior football at Greenway Lane."
He continued: "Sometime ago, both men's senior teams were asked to just see out the season. Knowing it would be an uphill struggle the players did just that, every time the shirt was pulled on they gave everything,
and for that - they have the thanks of the management and everyone at the club.
"Whilst this would seem to all outside the club as a desperate season, it actually wasn't as the clubs future had already been decided a number of months ago.
"With the onset of the league reshuffle
and the facilities that Greenway Lane has, the choice could have been to go with the many of the Peninsula League Step Seven clubs and enter the new Devon Step Six League.
"However, Budleigh Salterton Football Club does not pay any players and, had we made the step up it is highly likely we would have engaged in another season of struggle and we felt that was not fair on anyone.
"With the club now set to play in the Devon North and East Step Seven League next season it does mean we can do so with a team of like minded players keen to do well for, and with, the club.
"This is a brand new league and is full of local sides from the existing Peninsula Step Seven League and some from the Macron Devon and Exeter Premier League, and it certainly has an exciting look about it with plenty of local fixtures to be played."
Keith then turned his attention to the Robins' senior second team. He said: "Unfortunately the second team lost their management and the position drew precious little outside interest and so, again accepting a likely player shortage, rather than ask the Under-16 team to step up as one to play in senior football and likely face a season of real struggle, the decision was taken to withdraw the second team from the league and enter the Under-18 League with our younger players.
"This will also provide a good sound basis from which we can bolster the senior squad as and when required and, indeed, as and when the younger players are 'ready' for the rigours of senior football.
"I do believe we have not seen the end of a Robin's Reserves and feel sure it will return and some stage in the future."
As to that future, Keith adds: "The development of young footballers is going to be vital to a club like Budleigh and is currently being overseen by the new football chairman and ladies team manager Dan Carthew.
"In addition we have the new Under-18 side which will be managed by Mike Graham and there's to be a new Under-15 team managed by Luke Kelsall.
With the senior side under the stewardship of Rick Withers, and boasting some new you talent, the future is far from gloomy at Greenway Lane."
He continued: "Indeed, there's a new air of anticipation with Rick [team boss Rick Withers] backed up by new coaches, Alex Paltridge and Luke Iddon, as well as the old stalwart in goalkeeping coach, Darren Fardoe.
"Dan [Carthew] will again be managing the ladies and they will be heading into the new campaign looking for continued success. Furthermore we have a girls Under-15 team run by Roger Browering and no doubt some of his players will ultimately be looking to move up into the senior ranks.
"It is hoped that all the planning that has gone into the project will be successful and more importantly, make things enjoyable for everyone involved, and for those that may think that there may be a lack of football
on a Saturday with the demise of a second senior side - not so, for Exmouth Spartans will be filling the gap vacated by the second team.
"Spartans are a team which the Robins worked with last season and we hope the partnership will continue this coming season."
Keith concluded saying: "With the closure of the pitch on May 1, it has meant the Greenway Lane playing surface has a good spell of no action and really is looking outstanding and ready for the new season.
"We have also had a complete refurbishment of the changing rooms thanks to a recently acquired grant from the Normans Trust and so, there really is a very real sense of a new era beginning at the home of the Robins."
Training for the Budleigh Salterton men's team has already begun and will continue with players meeting at Greenway Lane each Wednesday from 7pm. Old and new players will be made very welcome. Details of club contacts and pre-season friendlies can be found on the club's website at www. budleighsaltertonafc.co.uk