HERE WE GO! Ian Long, right, is targeting a third successive promotion for Alvechurch. PICTURE: Action Images
By Matt Badcock
Boss Ian Long says Alvechurch are living their very own Roy of the Rovers story as they aim to secure a play-off spot in the Southern League Premier Central Division – and give themselves a shot at a promotion hat-trick!
Should they do that and go on to win through the Step 3 Super Play-offs, it would be a third success on the spin.
Long’s side beat Kettering Town last weekend – halting the Poppies’ title party in the process – to put themselves seven points inside the top five.
And Long says they’ve exceeded expectations already.
“They were bonus points at Kettering really obviously with the occasion,” Long, whose side played Coalville yesterday, told The NLP.
“But we had our own agenda. People say about spoiling the party but it was never about that for us, it was about getting points on the board for our own aims and it was a good performance.
“We’ve got four games to play with games against Needham Market and Banbury, who have both picked up, and we’ve got to go away to Stourbridge, so there’s plenty to play for and we’ve got to make sure we do the business. It would be a travesty if we fell out of the play-offs really.
“It has surprised us. We’re in a dreamland really considering we’ve got a chance now to make it three promotions on the spin. It would be beyond our wildest imagination. It’s like Roy of the Rovers stuff.
“We didn’t expect to get out of Step 4 as we did last season and to be where we are now is amazing and the credit has got to go to the players. We’ve got that togetherness and momentum, and we want to keep it going.”
The former Tividale boss and his management staff’s success has naturally brought attention from elsewhere, and they turned down a club’s advances earlier this season.
Long has found the winning formula and he wants to keep pushing forward with Church.
“We’ve added good bits of quality to the squad as we’ve gone along, but at the same time kept the nucleus that got us promoted from Step 5,” Long said. “Some of the lads were with me at Tividale when we won Step 5 there too. So the lads have been together a long time and that continuity helps.
“The lads who have been here a long time are quite professional, and that shows what the expectations are for new players.
“It’s a really good place to be at the moment. We’re moving on with the new ground as well and it’s exciting.”