Saturday, 20 January 2018

Faulkner aiming to change club’s fortunes

A NEW chairman has been appointed at Henley Town Football Club, writes Dan Robinson.

A NEW chairman has been appointed at Henley Town Football Club, writes Dan Robinson.

Chris Faulkner, 54, has taken over from Jack Hollidge and been tasked with improving the social and financial side of the club.

He will hope to promote the clubhouse as a venue for social events to raise vital funds for the Red Kites.

Faulkner, who manages a community centre in Slough, where he lives, said: “We’re going back to basics to get the social side of the club moving.

“Obviously the club has got to make money and pay its bills like any football club.

One of Faulkner’s initial ideas is to hold entertainment in the clubhouse, including jazz and country and western nights.

He aims to revamp the bar, kitchen and cellar to make it a more attractive venue.

On the pitch, Faulkner, who has coached in football for 23 years and been chairman at clubs such as Beaconsfield, believes Cyril Fairchild’s side can achieve promotion this season after overhauling the first team squad.

He said: “I think it’s achievable — it’s not the be all and end all of the club if we don’t get promoted but we’ve got a strong side. If we get promoted we could extend the stand and improve other bits and pieces.”

One of the main focuses will be the youth set-up, which is now being run by former first team manager Chris Tuttle.

Faulkner wants to develop a relationship with AFC Henley, adding: “I’m hoping to link up with their chairman and communicate to each other because there’s been a bit of distance there in the past.

“I would like to give the kids at AFC free passes to first team games to get them more involved and get the support of the community.

“We also want our U15 side to become a club of excellence and play friendlies against the likes of Chelsea and Crystal Palace academy sides.

“It’s the foundation of our club. It would be nice to get Henley players coming through rather than outsiders. That’s the main goal.”

Hollidge, who approached Faulkner to take over the role, said: “It is quite obvious with costs spiralling that income must be maximised. The major providers of income for this club are the clubhouse, the pitch and sponsorship.

“Chris has past experience of clubhouse promotion and is an obvious choice to concentrate on this factor.”

Hollidge will now be focusing on maintaining and improving the ground.

He said: “The pitch currently flatters to deceive and we must continue a very expensive maintenance programme, in which we have already invested over £5,000.

“Professional advice has highlighted the pitch problems that demand extensive vertidrain work and the eradication of the plantain weed that has infested this ground for so many years.

“The drainage problems that dominate the reputation of our pitch cannot be overcome without a structured plan.

“This is obviously expensive but we hope to obtain help from local interests that may be able to supply machinery, topsoil and sand.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring the club should call secretary Tony Kingston on 07712 139592.

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