08:59AM, Saturday 15 July 2017
BURNHAM manager Mark Betts says his chief motivation, and that of the players joining this summer, is to get the club back where it belongs in the Southern League.
The Blues’ reputation he admits has been dragged through the mud a little by its financial issues and revolving door for managers and players, but Betts believes those dark days are now over.
The club dropped like a stone from the Southern League Premier Division to the brink of the Hellenic League Division 1 East – only Ardley United’s application for voluntary relegation spared them that fate – but Betts believes the Blues are finally getting their house in order and thinks he can be the one that guides them back up the table.
Having learned that the club would be spared a third relegation in as many seasons Betts has been doing everything he can – both on and off the field – to ensure Burnham will be competitive again.
With one of the smallest budgets in the division he’s had to shop local to bring in new players but says that will help, rather than hinder, the club.
“Three weeks ago we found out Burnham were staying in the Premier Division,” he said. “That changed everything, the players we were looking at, our pre-season fixtures, everything.
“We’ll get there and have had healthy numbers at training.
“The boys have shown excellent commitment and their timekeeping has been exceptional. Most of them are local lads so it means more to them and they’re excited to be here.
“They’re coming here to change the club really and to get it back where it should be over the next three to four years.”
Burnham called off Tuesday night’s pre-season match against Marlow because of heavy rain but they are set for friendly matches at Cookham Dean today (Saturday) and Berkhampsted Town on July 25 and will host Basing-stoke on July 29.
They’re also set to play at league rivals Flackwell Heath in the first round of FA Cup qualifying on Friday, August 4.
Contrary to rumours Tuesday’s friendly was called off to protect The Gore pitch from damage, not because the Blues were struggling for numbers. In fact Betts led an 11v11 training match at Burnham Park and is set to sign a number of new players in the coming days and weeks.
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