Part one of an interview conducted with Nathan Salah, the man behind the newly formed Priestwood Vale Junior Football Club who will join the Bracknell football scene for the 2017/18 season.
What was the motivation to setup your own team? What age group are they?
We have been and still are until May part of Bracknell Town Football club. We have been there since the summer of 2015 and there have been a lot of ups and downs in this time. What has stayed constant throughout is the enthusiasm and commitment of our players and parents to improving the children as footballers and as young people.
Over time there were various small issues between our team and the club which came to a head in September 2016 and a vote was taken amongst the parents to see if they would support my idea to start our own club. The vote was a unanimous yes and so I got to work on planning for the new club.
We have absolutely no ill feeling towards Bracknell Town and the new chairman of the Juniors – Kayne Steinborn-Busse – couldn’t have done more for us since he took over. Despite the fact we are leaving at the end of the season he has been great with us and the junior and senior clubs there are in very safe hands.
We are currently in the East Berks League under 8’s as Bracknell Town Lions and will be going into next season as Priestwood Vale FC under 9’s.
What has been the toughest thing about setting up a club? What would advice would you give to anyone looking to go through the same process?
The setting up part was made very easy for me in many ways because we had a clear mandate from the parents of our players to go and do it. We haven’t started from scratch which is a massive advantage for us and have a great foundation in place in order to build on.
With their support I was able to fill all the committee roles really quickly and to their credit our parents couldn’t be more enthusiastic about it. I also was advised really well by the Berks and Bucks FA who have been on hand to answer all my emails and point me in the right direction throughout the process.
‘Think about what you want to be and what is your motive for setting it up’
I guess the hardest thing is the actual hours of work that go in to the planning side of things and the writing of all our documentation such as club guide and constitution. I would estimate I have put in well over 300 hours so far to get everything in place on that front.
Setting up the bank account also took time too and only very recently has this gone through and been finalised. The other main challenge was to find people actually willing to listen to what we had to say and you quickly realise that the passion you have isn’t always shared by everyone. Whenever I have managed to have someone listen to what I’ve had to say the results have always been positive.
My advice to anyone wanting to set up a club is to think about what you want to be and what is your motive for setting it up.
Our motive and intentions are clear, we want to change kids football in this town forever but that will not be the same for everyone. You may wish to just have a group of kids who want to play football for fun on a Saturday morning which is fantastic!
Just be clear on what you want and what your realistic targets are before going into it properly.
We spoke to Nathan in a lengthy interview which we cut in to two parts. You can read part two here. You can see all our content around New Club Week here. If you’d like to share your experiences please email [email protected].