New Mills AFC vice chairman Colin Ramwell has moved to reaffirm chairman Ray Coverley’s and secretary Sue Hyde’s commitment to the club.
The pair’s decision to take planned holiday to Australia during the middle of the football season had sparked some concern among the club’s fanbase.
But Ramwell was quick to quash any rumblings of discontent and reassure the club’s supporters that their appetite for football has not diminished.
And took the opportunity to reveal steps which have been taken in recent months to ensure a brighter future both on and off the pitch for the club.
He said: “The chairman’s and the secretary’s commitment has always been 100 per cent. The football club would not exist if it wasn’t for Ray Coverley and Sue Hyde.
“They put 25-30 hours every week into the club. They work behind the bar. They do all the administration work. They volunteer lots of their time to the club every week.
“They’ve gone on holiday at a specific time during the season and one or two supporters, like any sports society or club, have a different opinion to them going.
“There are extenuating circumstances as to why they have gone at a specific time. They’ve gone to meet some friends of theirs out there who can only meet now.
“They wouldn’t miss many games due to the weather and due to the home fixtures we’ve had, it’s actually worked in our favour as well.”
And added: “The rest of the committee and myself have been aware of Ray and Sue going away for a number of months and we put plans in place so that we would be around to cover the jobs they have been doing.
“I’ve been to all the home and away games and I intend to do so for the rest of the season anyway. I’m around and a point of contact for anything anyone in the club needs.
“Our fixtures secretary has been to every home and away game as well and the volunteers that work on the turnstiles, for example, have all been fully aware of the situation.
“It’s no surprise they’ve gone on holiday, it’s been a well planned out process. There is nothing to worry about.”
New Mills have suffered relegation from the Evo-Stik League in recent years but Ramwell is convinced the team has turned the corner this season.
A 2-0 win over local rivals Cheadle Town in the North West Counties League Division One sees the first team 15th in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Atherton Laburnum Rovers.
“At the start of the season the year was earmarked for consolidation,” he said. “I definitely think we have consolidated the club. We’re not near the bottom, we’re mid-table.
“Gareth Cross and Nick Dowse, the joint managers, are doing a great job. They’re attracting some fresh young talent to the club since they were put in place.
“The team spirit is really very, very positive. The players are up for it and you can tell by the way they play and the way they are afterwards.
“They’ve really bought into New Mills and what we’re all about. We’ve got a lot of history and been in existence for over a hundred years.
“Our ground, albeit looking a little tired, is still well-known and we’re a club definitely going places with what we hopefully have planned for the club.”
The club has shrugged off the disappointment over its attempt to develop a new ground and has plans in the pipeline which it hopes to share with supporters in the summer.
“We are looking at other opportunities and the club may have some very exciting news for the fans in the next four to six months.
“The club is in good hands. It is financially stable, we live within our means, the club is not going away any time soon,” he added.
While Ramwell believes the club’s “growing partnership” with New Mills Juniors is further reason for optimism.
“We’re a population of just over 10,000 I understand. New Mills is very much a football town,” he said.
“The Juniors is a local institution and most of the people who live in New Mills who have played football have played for New Mills Juniors.
“For whatever reason, players for the Juniors have not gone on to play for AFC in recent years. It’s just not happened. They’ll go off and play for other clubs.
“We want to make the club a club for the town.
“There is a growing partnership there. We want to make a pathway from the junior section to the first team and we want to entice local people to come and watch us.
“I think if we had local players playing for the local club it would be a very positive move for us.”