New Roffey chairman Dave Jeal has his sights firmly set on the next generation at the Bartholomew Way club.
The former Roffey manager was voted in at the County League Division 3 club’s AGM last week as predecessor to Roger Berwick, who is becoming vice chair.
Jeal has his sights set firmly on taking the first team into senior football as well as integrating more youth into the senior teams at the club.
This will come from his role at Roffey Robins where he is currently under-15 manager along with the continued relationship of the Robins players stepping into Roffey’s under-18 side.
Having run the youth team for the past seven years, Jeal wants to provide an easy route into adult football that benefits all parties.
He said: “I have been involved with Roffey before and was manager of the first and second teams, but decided to continue in youth football.
“Players are getting to the age in the youth set up that they need somewhere to push players on to.
“I know a lot of people at this level of football that are travelling 15 or 20 minutes outside of Horsham.
“There has always been a link with the two clubs. Roffey ran two under-18 teams last year with a lot of players taken from Roffey Robins and this year it will be a mix of boys from the Horsham District Youth League.
“We are quite confident the youth side will do really well this year and the idea is they will be pushing for first team places.
“Last season the teams did not integrate much at training and we need to change that.”
Jeal was last involved with the club eight years ago, but has returned to an upstairs role due to Berwick not having time to fully commit to the chairman position.
The long-term goal is to set up into Division 2 although with plenty of facility improvements needed, Jeal knows it won’t happen overnight.
He added: “The aim is at least to get the club into county two, but we will need lights and more done to the facilities to do that, but the playing surface is probably one of the best in Horsham.
“By next year all the boys in my under-15 team will have been involved in and around at academy level with pro clubs, so they are not going to want to be playing in county three when they step up from the under-18s.
“There has been a bit of interest from people willing to help up (with funding improvements). We need to do a bit of fundraising and there are grants available, but we still have to match them.
“We have a little bit of money, not thousands. It is definitely work in progress and it is not going to happen overnight.”
The club is planning on running just one under-18 team next season, but are still looking for a reserve team manager.