New chairman Stone sees an exciting future

New Worthing chairman Pete Stone
New Worthing chairman Pete Stone

New Worthing chairman Pete Stone believes an exciting future lies ahead as the club aims to reach National South.

Stone, who has been involved with Worthing for the past couple of years, took over as chairman two weeks ago and is passionate about growing the club as a whole.

Worthing owner George Dowell appointed Stone to bring more structure to the club, for his expertise of running a business and to help oversee off-the-field matters.

Stone wants the men’s and ladies’ sides to progress up the leagues and also feels the new academy – which has been set up for next season – will help bring players through and build an association with the club.

Stone said: “Having been in Worthing since 1989 and watched a lot of the club, it’s had its ups and it’s had its downs. There’s been exciting moments, exciting seasons, exciting games but I’ve never felt there was a long-term vision.

“What George and Calvin (Buckland; managing director) have done in the last two or three seasons is absolutely miraculous.

“If it hadn’t been for George, almost certainly the club would have disappeared. Would someone else have stepped in? Maybe. But I doubt it would be the club it is now. The club we’ve got now is purely because of George and his vision of doing something special for the town of Worthing.

“To recover the club and get it to this point is a phenomenal achievement and that’s been a very exciting journey for the whole club and the hardcore supporters.

“I can absolutely see the future and what it will take to get there. It’s exciting but we want to unlock more people and get them involved, spread the excitement and then things bode extremely well.”

Stone wants to get more volunteers involved with the club and also increase attendances for both the men’s and ladies’ teams.

Looking towards the future, he said: “We believe with a passion Worthing Football Club can be a National League club. The first step is National South and I would hope within two seasons, we’ve secured that promotion.

“We got off to a bad start this year but the way Adam (Hinshelwood; manager) has turned it around is fantastic. If we can keep that momentum going into next year, then there’s a high degree of confidence around the place.

“I see no reason why we can’t play in the National League, full stop. That will take a lot more work off the pitch to play at that level but on the pitch, we’ve got the manager, the coaching staff and a lot of the players, if not all the players that could play at that level.

“On the ladies’ side, the ambition there is to be playing in the elite divisions in the London and Southern region. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t aspire to that as well.”