It is less a case of ‘new year, new me’ and more a matter of ‘new division, new look’ for Holyport FC.
After a run of consistent seasons under the experienced Derek Sweetman, the Port were deservedly rewarded with promotion to Step 5 this summer and with that a move across to a Combined Counties League Premier Division North that looks a tough proposition in 2021/22.
It is not just on the pitch where the North Maidenhead-based side have been looking to progress though, the club have been giving their Summerleaze home a new lease of life over a busy summer.
Club Secretary Richard Tyrell explains: “We’ve ripped up the hospitality room floor and re-laid it with a new vinyl covering, painted all the walls and added a nice backboard detailing our history. The small kitchen area inside the hospitality area has also been ripped out and reinstated. In addition, the away dressing room has had a fresh coat of paint with new vinyl flooring laid. All lights have been moved over to LED. The home dressing room has had four new showers fixed too.”
The regular match-going supporter at Summerleaze will see the benefit of the improvements too. Richard continues: “The player-walkway has had fencing erected to tidy up the area and pitch-side we are currently in the final stages of approving plans for a new tea bar and turnstile which will go into planning in the coming month all being well.”
And the good news continues for the club ahead of the new campaign, with a new two-year shirt sponsorship deal to be announced in the next couple of weeks.
Tyrell – who cheerfully lists his job-role as including “the programme, website, accounts – a bit of everything” – is under no illusions as to the task ahead in the Combined Counties League. “It will be tough as we will be up against some big-money teams. On the other hand, we offer a fun environment and our aim will be to stay up. We have attracted some players with Step 4 and 5 experience although we have lost [Alan] Akerman to Flackwell which is a loss”.
And there will be no easing into the competitive fixtures for Sweetman’s team. After friendlies this week against Marlow and Deportivo Galacia, the Port will return to FA Cup action for the first time in three seasons with a trip to divisional rivals Ascot United in the Extra Preliminary Round on Friday 6th August.
Follow Holyport on Twitter this season @holyportfc.