New Peacehaven chief targets bigger fanbase
New Peacehaven & Telscombe chairman Andrew Melbourne says he hopes the club’s attendances can grow to allow them to sustain Ryman Premier Division football.
Melbourne, 35, took the helm last week from Jim Edwards, who retired after 36 years in the role.
The club are on the eve of their first-ever season at Ryman Premier level after back-to-back promotions.
They won the Sussex County League in 2012-13 and then blitzed the competition in Ryman Division One South last season, also claiming the Sussex Senior Cup as they defeated Bognor at the Amex Stadium.
Melbourne said a town of Peacehaven’s size should have a Ryman Premier Division club, but admitted they will need bigger gates next season, having averaged just 127 at Piddinghoe Avenue last term.
Melbourne said: “More than 700 people came from Peacehaven to watch us play in the final at the Amex and one of my key goals is to retain as many of those as possible to build our regular fanbase.
“We play really entertaining good football and I’d like more local people to come along and watch next season.
Melbourne, who was development officer on the committee before taking over as chairman, is also keen to expand the community aspect of the club and improve the ground.
He said: “I am very hopeful that the senior and the junior teams will become more integrated during the next few months.
“Youth football is all about participation, learning social skills and teamwork.
“If we have some talented footballers that we can develop to bring through to the first team that would be my ideal scenario, to have as many local players as possible.
“Building our new stand is also an important task and over the next two years we want to build a new 350-seat stand which will allow the team to go as far as they can on the pitch.
“Hopefully, working with the council, we can also bring a 3G pitch to the town which will be a massive benefit for the community.
Melbourne paid tribute to outgoing chairman Edwards, adding: “Jim has done an incredible amount for the club.
“It will be nice for him to be able to just come along as a supporter and enjoy the matches next year.
“I’d personally like to thank him on behalf of everyone for all he has done over the years.”