Shoreham Football Club chairman Stuart Slaney cannot wait for the start of the new season, with Mussels bidding to reach the Ryman League.
Since taking over as the club’s chairman, Slaney has seen Shoreham finish 14th, 16th and 17th in the top division of the SCFL. But after appointing Bryan O’Toole as manager for a second spell in charge at the club in April, Slaney hopes this season will be fourth time lucky.
The club have made a number of impressive signings and are set to be challenging at the top end of the table in the new campaign.
Slaney said: “It’s exciting times at the club as this is the strongest team Shoreham has had for a number of years.
“Obviously that will bring pressure on Bryan and Kev (Keehan; assistant manager) but I’m sure they know that.
“The players we’ve signed are all local, so gone are the days when we’re bringing in players from the London area, which is good.
“There’s a lot of buzz around the club right now and a number of supporters I’ve spoken to who haven’t come to games recently have said they’ll be coming back.”
Slaney hopes attendances will be around the 150-plus mark next season and also said the club’s budget is not as high as it was last season.
He said: “The money going out this season will be less than what we were paying out under Simon Funnell last season, which puts things into perspective.
“We know what people have been saying about us but people want to play for good teams and they want to play for Shoreham now.
“Three seasons ago, when Bryan was manager for the first time, we didn’t have a budget for the whole season and got the furthest out of the whole league in the FA Cup.
“We finished 14th in the league then but things have changed now.
“I don’t want to be comfortable in mid-table, I want to be challenging at the top, so there is a budget there and hopefully it will pay off.
“Obviously the top two can go up into the Ryman League but our aim is to just finish as high as we can. With the squad we have got, hopefully we’ll be able to get out of the league.
“A run in the FA Cup is also always a dream, while the FA Vase is a realistic competition to have a run in, with the teams we’ll be against.”
Mussels’ ground is almost ready for Ryman League football, with just another turnstile and 50 more seats required should they finish in a promotion place.
Slaney said: “There’s not too much that would need to be done and we’ve just bought a new £5,000 mower to help improve the pitch for next season. A path will also be in place for fans who walk to the ground from the Middle Road side.
“We’re looking to emulate what Peacehaven did to a certain extent. When we get up to the Ryman League, we want to stay there and become a permanent fixture.
“We’re now one of the largest clubs in the area, with our youth set-up, and we want players progressing through the club to the first team.
“Bryan brought four under-18 players into the first-team squad last time and they became regulars in the side. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that again this season.”
Mussels host Southwick in their opening pre-season friendly on July 2 (3pm).
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