It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago I was leaving the Amex after seeing Harvey Whyte lift the Sussex Senior Cup – now we’re almost ready to go again and I can’t wait.
I’ve been a Bognor fan since the mid-1990s and to finally see us actually lift a trophy is something I will always remember, despite the season ending with us literally limping over the finish line.
Off the field the club are making even more strides and I’m glad to have the supporters’ club heavily involved in a lot of the new initiatives you see.
The roof behind the goal and the revamped club shop are two of many things we’ve assisted with in the season just gone and to finally be able to stand behind the goal with a pergola, umbrella or whatever you want to call it giving you some shelter is something fans were calling for when Tom Martin was chairman.
The fans have remained loyal and it’s great to see so many following the Rocks away from home, and the coaches will continue this season alongside A&A Travel, who have been superb to us. David Robinson deserves the plaudits for this excellent service that the fans receive and without his endeavour and passion for this club, it would definitely be a different place.
I know that some fans raised concerns or issues last season and this stemmed from the relegation the previous season and some of that criticism may be justified, but surely you can see already this pre-season that immense work has taken place and plenty more is going on.
The signing of Dan Smith is a huge coup for the club. In Robbie Blake we have a really hard-working coach and in Jack Pearce we have someone whose experience and knowledge cannot be queried – and with them together I feel we’re in as good a place as I can remember, with the changes off the field as Simon Cook gives us the valuable business knowledge helping too.
I feel we’re on the cusp of something special here and to see pre-season bring a huge nucleus of local players is something we should embrace as a positive and not (if things don’t work out) a stick to criticise ,as this has been demanded for years.
Perhaps it’s time to draw a line in the sand and actually ask fans to do what they do best, and that’s being some of the most passionate and loyal supporters in non-league football who are loud and proud and on many occasions have helped the team get three points with their support.
It’s going to be an exciting season and I cannot wait for the Horsham game - the first at home, on August 13 - to show off what we’ve done in our club shop and for the management team to show off what they’re achieveing too: a Rocks side who are all singing from the same hymnsheet, with a blend of local youngsters, some true Rocks legends who have returned and some experienced heads, with a couple of exciting loanees.
The future is bright and I can’t wait for the season to start.