Chairman of the newly-formed FC Bolsover, Cliff Richard, wants to tap into the town’s thirst for football - and give them a team to be proud to support.
FC Bolsover will compete in the Central Midlands League North Division next season and will come up against near neighbours Clay Cross Town and Dronfield Town Reserves, among others.
It’s been an ambition of Richard’s for more than two years after his last attempts collapsed when their preferred home of Moor Lane failed to meet the league’s ground grading.
Now, having found a temporary home at Shirebrook Academy, Richard is confident his second attempt to bring senior Saturday football back to Bolsover will be a success.
Richard, a qualified UEFA B coach, is also manager of Chesterfield & District Sunday League side FC Brimington and he said there will be links with other local Sunday sides.
It was at last season’s final of the Alma Cup, which saw FC United of Bolsover beat Hasland Devonshire 3-2 at the Proact Stadium, that convinced him to try again.
He said: “Bolsover has a great fan base of football supporters crying out for a Saturday side to be proud of. I’ve seen it at this year’s Alma Cup Final. There were 200 or more people from Bolsover there. It was amazing.”
Hoping to deliver on that ambition are three people who know the division well, having clinched the title in convincing fashion with the now folded Glapwell FC last season.
The management team of Jordan Hall (manager), John Styring (assistant) and Mark Higginbottom (coach) left Glapwell at the start of June, during a period of uncertainty at the club.
Despite winning the title, promotion up the non-League ladder wasn’t possible due to ground grading issues and the club took the difficult decision to fold.
Richard expects some players to follow in the footsteps of the management team, in his mission to bring football and silverware back to the town.
He said: “We will work hard to deliver a title for the Bolsover people. We’re putting people in place who are winners and who are going to make us a force in the division.
“We’ve assembled a title-winning management team who are looking to do it again this time around. They won the same league in their second season with Glapwell.
“I’ve been nothing but impressed by them so far. They are good, strong characters that have proven to be a winning combination. They’re the best in the area, in my eyes.”
The team are training at Holmebrook Valley Park and Richard said the feeling around the group is good.
“We’re all excited and the players were all buzzing for it to begin again,” said Richard. “A lot of the Glapwell players from last season wanted to stick together and were there.
“After the club folded, it looked like the players would go their separate ways and be picked up by other sides. With the management team here, some of the players will follow.
“They had a great team and you don’t come across that every season. It’s special and if they are able to win it again this season then it would be an historical achievement.
“The management team are really positive. They believe in each other. They are buzzing as well. That first game on August 6 can’t come soon enough.”
Despite the club’s best efforts, FC Bolsover’s first home ground will be outside the town - three miles along the A632 - at Shirebrook Academy, on Common Lane.
“We had to find somewhere to play,” said Richard. “Moor Lane, where we hope to be, needs a few things doing to it to get it up to scratch. We needed to start somewhere.
“There are good facilities there and it’s not too far out for people to travel to go to watch players represent their town. We hope to be at Moor Lane next season.
“There’s a feel good factor in Bolsover at the moment as word spreads about the new team. We want to use that, with the momentum of the management team into this season.”
And, if they are successful next season, Richard said movement up the ladder could be achieved: “We have things in place, if we get there in our first season.
“It would be a great achievement.”
FC Bolsover begin their 2016/17 Central Midlands League North Division campaign at Shirebrook Academy against Appleby Frodingham on Saturday, August 6 (kick off 3pm).