‘Get behind our football club’

Mitch Cook with Peter Smurthwaite
Mitch Cook with Peter Smurthwaite

BRIDLINGTON Town needs more support from businesses and the local community if it is to progress up the football pyramid.

That is the message from chairman Peter Smurthwaite as the club’s preparations for the new season step up a gear.

Pre-season training, under new manager Mitch Cook, began last week and a fans’ forum has been organised for next Wednesday.

Among the developments for 2011/12 are the creation of under 19 and Academy teams, which will feature local lads, but the club ultimately needs more fans through the turnstiles and more businesses offering sponsorship if it is to flourish.

Mr Smurthwaite said: “It is our intentions to accept promotion should we be good enough to win the league this coming season and we will be doing our best behind the scenes to help the manager achieve this goal.

“The last three seasons in the Northern Counties East League have allowed us to stabilise the finances of the club but we would still be looking for more support from the local community and businesses to help put more finance into the club.

“Both our shirt sponsor (Designs) and stadium sponsor (Neil Hudgell Law) have agreed to continue the sponsorship for next season and I will be actively looking for more sponsors.

“Last season we started the Academy set up, which has been funded by my own company, and we are this season entering a team in the Northern Under 19 Alliance League and an Academy team in the East Riding County League which will play on Saturdays at East Riding College.

“We are obviously hoping for more support from the local community for these teams which will hopefully lead to more local players making it into the first team and also forming a link with the college.”

One of the other priorities for the next 12 months is getting more local people to use the social club at Queensgate, to generate more income for the club.

“Having spent money in the last six months on new furnishings and improvements in the clubhouse I need more activities and better use of the clubhouse other than match days and will be explaining how I hope fans can help shortly.”

The fans forum takes place at the clubhouse next Wednesday from 7.30pm and will see the chairman, manager, academy manager Dave Grosse and other committee members answer questions from the supporters.

“I trust there will be a good attendance for this because there are always plenty of suggestions and opinions of what I should be doing on the forum website so hopefully I will also learn something.

“I am proud that this football club has an excellent reputation for most aspects of non-league football at this level which is a big improvement on the dark days of the recent past when I first took over and hope we can build on this for the future but I need the help of as many supporters as possible to achieve more success,” added Mr Smurthwaite.