Barnoldswick Town boss Stewart Airdrie has expressed his delight after the club’s future in the North West Counties Football League was secured.
The outlook was bleak, with volunteers dwindling at the cash-strapped club, but teenage Town goalkeeper Lyle Davy and councillor Paul White stepped in to intervene.
The pair have pulled together sponsorship deals from a collection of Pendle-based firms - made up of Euravia, Innova Solutions, Barnfield Construction, Cloud1990.com and Mitchell Interflex - as well as appointing a new board of directors, including LBS Global Ltd’s Anne Wolfenden and publicrelationnation.com’s Georgia Robson among others.
Airdrie, who has spent just short of a decade with the club as player and manager, said: “The club has acquired sponsorship and there’s a few ideas for the club so we’re expecting a transformation now.
“The sponsorship from local businesses will help the club continue in the North West Counties and it means that we can apply for competitions like the FA Cup and FA Trophy.
“Attendances were down and we were struggling so things were looking quite bleak at one point. But there’s a few more people showing their faces now and there’s a bit more willingness from the community so those are encouraging signs.”
Airdrie added: “It’s a massive boost. People didn’t realise how bad the situation was. Councillor Paul White has come in and got businesses involved and that’s given everyone a lift. It’s what we needed and there’s more motivation within the club now to move forward. Volunteers are vital to any club at this level.
“I’ve been involved with the club for quite a while so the talk of it folding was quite upsetting really. People have worked too hard to get this football club where it is so we couldn’t just walk away. I’m happy that things have changed and that the future is looking a lot more promising than it did. Everything is looking positive again.”
Since lifting the club from Division One following promotion via a second place finish behind champions Stone Dominoes in 2009/10, Airdrie has helped to guide the club to top 10 finishes in the following three seasons. Town’s highest finish in the ninth tier of the English football pyramid was fourth two seasons ago, and now Airdrie is determined to match that ambition.
“Now we know we can continue I want to get the club as high as possible,” he said. “It will be tough because it’s a strong division but we don’t just want to exist - we want to progress. I know everyone will work hard to achieve that.”
Town entertain Congleton Town at the Silentnight Stadium tomorrow, kick-off 3 p.m.