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Chairman's Update – April 2023

Chairman's Update – April 2023

Craig Singleton26 Apr 2023 - 08:27
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Boston United chairman David Newton has issued an update as the Pilgrims prepare for Saturday's final day fixture against AFC Telford United.

Mr Newton said:

"Ahead of the last game of the season, I would like to thank everyone for their unbelievable support home and away this season. As I have said before, it would have been so easy to turn against us when things were not going well, but you stood with us home and away (and got louder and louder), and you have played a massive part in helping turn the season around. I have never been prouder of this club than I have this year, and such support makes us even more determined to deliver the success we all want.

"Clearly, this has not been the season any of us wanted, and I have to say it has felt the most pressured since the early days back in 2007 when I was not sure that we could keep the club afloat. However, Ian, Paul, Joe and the backroom staff have done a fantastic job in turning the season around, and not only delivering a wonderful run of results, but have also turned the squad into one that fears no-one in the league. It has been a pleasure to witness that transition.

"Following the low point of the defeat away at Alfreton in February, we have been in promotion form, which is exactly the momentum we need to take into next season.

"Taking this one season out of the equation, we have been in and around the play-offs most seasons and have, of course, made that last two promotion finals. Making the finals is great, but losing them is just excruciating, and certainly does not deliver the success that we want for our fantastic club. I don’t think there is too much difference between the top and bottom clubs now at this level, however it is clear that the clubs operating a full-time or hybrid model well, are gaining an advantage.

"Therefore, we have decided to move to a hybrid model for the coming season. The first team will train here at the Jakemans Community Stadium three days per week, and we will introduce an under-23s side which will help feed into the first team. For the education side of the under-23s, we have teamed up with Loughborough College, so we can offer further education for the players that we wish to retain from the current under-19s crop. We will also be in a position to attract players that are being released by ‘pro clubs’ and who also wish to continue their academic studies.

"The under-23s will train alongside the first team, together with the best of the under-19s, which will show a clear pathway for the development programme, and we will have a clear target of getting the young players into the first team. Joe Simpson will head up the under-23s, which will provide the valuable link to the first team. Joe will also work closely with Ray Power (head of youth development) – and this will ensure the club’s playing philosophy is rolled out across the whole football development programme.

"It is the first time since Adam Murray’s days that we have had first team management that are committed to this pathway, so we are delighted that we are now in a position to take this important step for the club.

"Recruitment was simply not good enough this season, so we are totally focussed on improving that and have targets identified, and players that we wish to retain for the coming season. Clearly, this is the most difficult part of the job, and moving to a hybrid model will not work for some players, but it will also open doors for others that do want what is in effect ‘full-time’ football.

"The playing budget will, as always, be very competitive, but will not compete with the likes of certain other clubs, so we will have to be careful in how it is spent to ensure that we have a balanced squad. We will need a good balance of experience – and young, hungry players.

"This is a huge, but very exciting, step for the club, which will take a lot of hard work and significant funding, but we must move forward and give the club the best opportunity to progress in the football pyramid.

"It will also be great having the first team training here at the Jakemans Community Stadium, and the other opportunities that will open up for fan engagement.

"Having praised Ian and the management team, I must now praise the whole of the playing squad. They have been just brilliant over the past couple of months, whether they have been getting game time or not. It has been great watching them gel, and the team performances getting better and better. Particular thanks go to the loan players who have really taken the club to their hearts, and made a huge difference, it has been an absolute pleasure having them here with us.

"Boston United Supporters Association have been really active this year and have provided some much-needed funding for various projects at Boston United and the Community Foundation, so my thanks go to Steve Slater and all involved at BUSA. With your support, I am sure the Supporters Association will continue to go from strength-to-strength.

"Finally, a huge thank you to all our great staff and volunteers, without whom we would not be able to run matchdays; deliver the Community Foundation programme, and the seven-day-a-week operation at the Jakemans Community Stadium.

"Once again, thanks for your unbelievable support, and I can assure you that we will do all we can to deliver a successful 2023-2024 season. Have a great summer."

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