Steve Taylor feels like he is returning home after being named Lancing Football Club’s new chairman last night.
Raised in the town and previously on the committee at Lancing just over 20 years ago, Taylor has returned to Culver Road with the aim of pushing Lancers on to the next level.
Taylor left Worthing United after four years as chairman this summer and says exciting times are ahead at Lancing, who are set to merge with Lancing Youth later this year.
As well as the club’s first team, Lancers will also run an under-23 side and two under-18 teams this season and have also re-established a ladies side.
Getting more sponsorship and income into the club is one of Taylor’s big targets in the coming weeks and months, while he also hopes the club can one day be in the position to push on and aim to reach the Bostik League.
On his return to the club, Taylor said: “I watched Lancing as a kid and I’m from Lancing, so it’s like I’m coming home. I started at Lancing 22 years ago with my first role in county football and I always thought one day I’d be back as chairman.
“The opportunity arose and it’s an exciting time. Off the pitch we’re going to become a community club this season as we’re going to merge with Lancing Youth and that will give us a bigger presence.
“We’ll have five teams next season and we also hope to have a disability side by the end of the season and also a veteran’s side.
“What the club lacks is some major income and that’s an area I’ll be looking at to see what we can do. We have Gardner & Scardifield on board again, who have been with us as a sponsor for 70-odd years and we’ve also got GT Lifting coming in as kit sponsors for the ladies team but we’re looking at more local businesses coming on board in the next few weeks.”
It’s been a summer of change at Lancing with Ash Bailey, who led the club to a fourth place finish and the Peter Bentley Cup in the 2015/16 season, also returning as manager.
Taylor said: “Bringing Ash back is good for the club. He will bring a lot of experience, is very enthusiastic and we hope to keep the majority of last season’s squad and improve it as well.
“The team has finished tenth the past two seasons and Ash would love to try to break into the top six which would be quite a feat. The aim this year is to finish better than we did last year and become more financially stable.”
As for a longer term target, Taylor is not setting anything in stone but he wants to see the club progress on and off the pitch: “Financially we need to be able to survive and then eventually we want to thrive.
“I hope we can continue moving in the right direction in the next couple of years with increased sponsorship and a larger profile in the community.
“We have the fundamental things in place and we have a wonderful facility which is geared up for the next level of football.
“If Ash and his team get into a position to step up we’ll have serious talks but we’d have to be financially sound and with the infrastructure completely in place first.”
Barry Sutton will be Taylor’s vice-chairman, Daniel Fuller-Smith has joined the club as secretary and under-18 manager and Diane Best has been appointed the club’s welfare officer.
Anyone interested in sponsorship opportunites at Lancing can contact Steve Taylor on 07540 691332 or TaylorSteve111@gmail.com