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Westley plea to backers

GRAHAM Westley has built upon his opening shots of the pre-season campaign by giving a huge incentive for local companies to back him all the way to the top.

GRAHAM Westley has built upon his opening shots of the pre-season campaign by giving a huge incentive for local companies to back him all the way to the top.

Westley has called upon backers and supporters to help fulfil the club's potential and lift them beyond his ambitions of third division football, creating what he calls a "special team."

Concerns raised by an article published in the News last week that he could leave the club at the end of the season to fulfil his footballing ambitions, have since been dismissed, and described as an "unfortunate distraction" as Westley prepares for this big season ahead.

Clearly determined to put the "disappointment" of last season's seventh place behind him, Westley is using the close season to clear up outstanding 'off field' business before concentrating his efforts fully on the club's promotion campaign.

His quote: "We respect every club but we certainly don't fear any of them" offers a powerful indication of his intentions.

He also told of the trust that the supporters have put in him over the last three years of his leadership, stating: "Despite having the fourth lowest average gate in the Conference we have gone from bankruptcy to 99th in England, and with our strongest squad yet. Of course they trust me!"

The concerns raised from last week's statement have been played down by Westley in his latest weekly installment, in which he explains the reasons behind his thinking and urges the Farnborough public to get behind his team as a potentially-explosive season looms large.

He said: "I wrote in last week's paper to bring the public up to date with developments at FTFC.

I talked about things that have happened ‘on the field' and things that have happened ‘off the field'. My main call was for the local public to come and support the fantastic potential which is our current squad. I am delighted to have further strengthened that squad this week with the signing of Rushden and Diamonds' goalkeeper Tony Pennock.

"1) The future of Farnborough Town is not suddenly in ‘serious jeopardy'. The club will only have a worthwhile future if it can develop a football stadium, which can create revenue streams upon which to build the football operations. Especially now that television revenues have been so severely diminished.

Neither I, nor our sponsors, have the financial muscle to financially underwrite the club's progress. That is not a ‘threat'. It is just harsh reality.

"2) The board of FTFC has very prudently structured the club's commitments to ensure that it can continue if I, or my employer, withdrew financial support at some stage. ‘Serious jeopardy' doesn't come into that side of things.

"3) I did not ‘vow' to do anything. I certainly did not ‘vow' to leave the club with strong owners, a league graded ground, and league status. I did say that it would be great if I could sign off at the end of the coming season having done that and gave a strong indication of my determination to deliver those three things.

"With league status and a league graded ground, it is highly likely that strong new owners will step in. That is obvious.

"4) I do not have ‘powerful ambitions to climb up the football ladder as owner of a professional club'. My next post in football will be as Manager of a professional club. There, I do have ambitions to go all the way.

As do many of my players. I repeat; neither I, nor my employer, have the financial muscle to underwrite FTFC, let alone a bigger club. But I certainly won't rule out the prospect of me agreeing to manage FTFC under new ownership. I can certainly see a scenario in which that happens.

"I think the fans know that my decisions will be honest ones. I repeat my one message of the moment; for FTFC to go forward we need businesses, supporters, investors, and the whole region to get behind us. To all of you, I dare you to show the belief in this squad that I have.

You could enjoy something very special if you do."

Westley will be hoping that special journey will start on Saturday when Boro open their pre-season account with a trip to Ryman League premier division new boys Bishop's Stortford (ko 3pm).

This is likely to see the debut of summer signings Pennock, Garry Butterworth, Danny Carroll and Ken Charlery, while Westley is also expected to try out other talents such as Gareth Gwillem, a defender currently training with Boro having been released by Crystal Palace. Kick off at Woodside Park is at 3pm.

l The new-look Boro reserve team will start their Capital League campaign with a trip to Croydon on Monday September 9 and are not scheduled to play a league home match until November 6 when Yeading are the visitors.

Read Tuesday's Mail for full fixture details.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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