Hillians general manager urges fans to remain realistic

John Rattle on the sidelines with Ian Chapman last season
John Rattle on the sidelines with Ian Chapman last season

Burgess Hill Town general manager John Rattle wants supporters to remain realistic after his side extended its stay in the Bostik Premier for a third season.

Survival last season was secured by virtue of goal difference and Rattle believes that staying in the division is an achievement in itself after seeing many sides fall out of the league due to overspending.

Rattle said: "We've always said that playing in the Bostik Premier is a challenge. We're a club that wants to stay there without overstrecthing ourselves.

"We have a good budget but it's not an expansive budget. We want to make sure we develop as a club both on and off the field but we can't get ahead of ourselves.

"There have been so many clubs that have got up to this standard and then they've fallen straight through into the Isthmian South or even into the County leagues.

"Burgess Hill Town had never played in the Isthmian Premier League until we got promoted into it three years ago and by hook or by crook we stayed in there.

"I know some people feel we should be doing better but at the same time we are happy to be surviving and we want to get better year on, year out.

The Hillians have also announced their pre-season fixtures, beginning with an away trip to Bostik South East side East Grinstead Town on 7 July before concluding away to Southern League South side Harrow Borough on 4 August.

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Rattle hopes that these pre-season tests will be beneficial for Hill in preparation for the new season.

He added: "We were looking to make sure we get an all round test for the new squad we are assembling for next season and we hope that playing sides of a similar and higher standard will do that.

Burgess Hill have also retained the services of several key players including captain Gary Elphick and Supporter's Player of the Season Pat Harding.

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Rattle was pleased that the core of last season's side remained and felt that, with the additions of Connor Tighe from Whitehawk and Ben Pope from Worthing, his side could be competitive next season.

Rattle said: "Any team that competes at our level need some sort of consistency.

"We were very keen to make sure we got Gary's signature very early and we managed to do that.

"(Hillians boss) Ian Chapman is now working on building a side around him.

"We've got two additions in Tighe and Pope and hopefully there will be a few more players in as well as securing most of the players that finished last season.

"Ian has been away for the last ten days and we've been trying to do a bit of business while he's been away. Hopefully we might have one or two new faces in the next week or so."

Hill have also been busy off the pitch, with the announcement of ticket prices for the upcoming season and a new pitch in the offing.

Rattle added: "The pitch has been renovated and with this tropical weather we're having at the moment it's coming on nicely.

"We've had lots of sunshine and then lots of rain so that's helping the pitch enormously and we've done some work with Stadium Solutions around the dugout area.

"We've recently announced season ticket prices for next season on our website and we've also frozen admissions prices for next season so we've been busy."

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