HARBOROUGH TOWN want to stamp their mark on the increasing local population and turn their big plans into reality.
The Market Harborough side, who play in the United Counties League Premier, are gearing up for another season at Step 5 after they received a reprieve from relegation last season.
New chairman Laurence Jones, who was previously chief executive at his boyhood club Bournemouth, has invigorated the Bees.
He wants Harborough to be playing Step 4 football within the next four years but stresses that while the first team is the “window” of the club, the right values and right culture will be reinforced all the way through the Bees’ 42 different teams.
“Football has been played in Market Harborough for over 100 years but Harborough Town only really came together around seven years ago,” Jones, who also works as the FA senior national game business support manager, said.
“We’re a real community club and football hub. We’ve got five year olds playing under the Harborough Town banner all the way up to the first team.
“Market Harborough is an expanding town and we’ve set out a very public vision that we want to give the town a sustainable and successful semi-professional football club.
“We are aiming to be in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League within the next four years. I’m a big believer in building slowly.
“We also want to change our playing pitch to artificial turf to increase the capacity of the club and start a Harborough Town academy.”
Harborough, under the guidance of joint-bosses Nick Pollard and Chris Church, will be one of the first clubs in the country to kick off the new season on Friday.
They host Yaxley at 7.45pm as part of the opening weekend United Counties League groundhop alongside the Peterborough & District League.
“We’re the first game of the groundhop next weekend and we’re really excited about that,” Jones added.
“It should bring a good crowd in and hopefully some of those fans will like what they see and come back.
“We’ve been in the UCL Premier for a couple of seasons now and it’s been a struggle. We were lucky to get a reprieve last season and we’ve decided we want to compete and do it properly.
“We’ve got a clear business plan on how we can develop the club but there are no guarantees in life and definitely not in football! It’s an exciting time and we’ve got a real opportunity to do big things.”