Just six months after the biggest crisis in the club’s 120 year history, Stockbridge Football Club are back in business after provisionally being accepted into the Hampshire Premier League for the new season which begins in the first week in August.
It is a huge relief for the club who were hit by a series of calamities earlier this season beginning with the new management team resigning and taking almost the whole squad with them in the autumn.
With the Wessex League agreeing to suspend their fixtures which a new administration got a squad together the dreadful weather kicked in meaning something like 15 consecutive matches were postponed and with building work on the brand new pavilion on the ground hampered by the weather which in turn made the changing rooms unusable, it seemed the fates were conspiring against the Robins at every turn.
Eventually they had little choice but to resign from the league and put their future in the hands of the FA but last week came the news that the club had been accepted into the top division of the Hampshire Premier League and in theory could be little more than a year away from a return to the Wessex League.
President Dave Webb was naturally delighted at the upturn in the club’s fortunes and told the Advertiser: “Of course the whole thing was a shock to the system when it happened but it could end up working in our favour in the long term. We want to get the image of our club back to positive and stablilise it while having a goal of being a community club once again and getting back into the Wessex League.”
With the new pavilion and dressing room complex now looking favourite to be completed by late spring and the new league status set to bring a whole host of local derbies beginning in August there is much to look forward to and the new management team, once appointed, will have plenty with which to attract players.
Webb added: “We have been interviewing for the manager’s position recently and part of the deal is that we give local players a chance to put the club back on the map in the first season.
‘We have set up small sub committees to deal with what lies ahead and once the league rubber stamp our admittance at their AGM in June we can all breathe again.”
At one point it looked as though the club might be forced to start down in junior football in the Andover and District League but happily it would seem that the club’s good name within football circles has worked in their favour and the Premier League beckons along with probably entry into the North Hants Senior, Andover League Open and possibly the Russell Cotes Cups.