Yesterday, ‘Ravens Weekly’ email subscribers received the below message from Club co-owner Robin Stanton-Gleaves, on behalf of the board of directors.
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The start of the season has not been what all of us would have hoped for, but this is only with regard to the results on the pitch. Let me comment about these, before I cover the other areas within the football club.
We finished last season on an enormous high, with the highest league position the football club has ever achieved, and a wonderful FA Trophy run which allowed us all to enjoy a day out at Wembley, regardless of the result!
Moving into this new season, we clearly have a hangover from those previous season successes, and if we reflect maybe it is not too much of a surprise. During the close season, we said goodbye to important players; Louis Dennis moved on and earned a two-year contract at League 1 division club Portsmouth. Brandon Hanlan and Josh Rees also moved on to league one with Gillingham and also both enjoyed two-year deals. These three players scored between them 39 goals – this is a lot to replace, but a great story to show player development at BFC.
Luke Woolfenden returned to Ipswich, unsettling the back four, and added to this Ben Chorley and Tyrone Sterling, two solid players of our defence last year moved on to pastures new.
These departures are a lot to replace and although the management team did their best in replacing them it takes time to find the right players and get them settling into the team, and clearly we have not had the luck of this happening immediately.
It is also important to note that the standard in the National League has increased this year with the teams that have come into it, and the money now being spent on the playing squads. There are at least ten teams who are now playing with a League One/League Two playing budget, and we have one team playing with a budget of a Championship side – we all know who they are! I am proud that at Bromley we have stayed strong in committing to our long-term plan and financial security and therefore maintained a playing budget in line with last year with a slight increase.
As a board, we are committed to Neil Smith and his management team and we believe that with some minor personnel changes, and a bit more luck with injuries, then we have a squad of players that will compete to the level achieved last year. This season will be all about how we finish and not how started, which of course is a reverse on last year.
Of the pitch our plans continue to be exciting, albeit with some unfortunate delays on the new stand.
On the eve of the cup final I announced to you all the commencement of the new stand and the hope for it to be ready to use on January 1st. As you can all see the build is underway, albeit at the moment below ground level, so actually not a lot to see at present! Our building plan has got delayed and this was due to a number of reasons; commercial challenges in tendering for the work to be done, and getting the best price and contractor for the club, discovering contaminated land that had to be excavated and negotiating with a possible partner for the space behind the stand. All of these have led to a delay and once we have agreed the new date then we will let you all know.
The new season also heralded a new term at the Academy and I am pleased to say we now have over 200 students in class and on our training pitches during the week. This is testament to Mark Hammond, who leads the Academy, and the support we get from our partner Paul Murphy, the head of Ravensbourne School. In years ahead the success of the Academy will feed into home grown players, as well as success for them and the team on the pitch.
Finally, I should comment on the financial stability of the club. In recent years we have all worked hard to find a business model that allows the club to operate and grow and not be dependent on a rich benefactor. This work is continuing successfully and last year’s accounts will show a remarkable turn on the previous years accounts, and our aim is to continue this in the years ahead. The financial strength will give the club the stability it needs, and with all the initiatives going on and fulfilling their potential the income into the club will grow, and thereby the playing budget will increase, which will then allow Bromley FC to successfully compete at the next level of football.
On behalf of the board, we are thankful for your continued support, and ask you all to encourage friends and colleagues to join you at the club and enjoy the journey of Bromley FC as we continue to build for the future and our entrance into League Football.
On behalf of the board of directors
Don’t forget, it’s Non-League Day on Saturday 13th October! Don’t miss out on what promises to be a cracking day down at Hayes Lane! Advanced tickets are just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions!