11:00AM, Saturday 05 May 2018
If Maidenhead United are going to compete to become a Football League club over the coming years, they’ll have to go full-time, says Alan Devonshire.
Manager Dev is hopeful of holding on to the majority of this season’s squad but expects to lose a few – including Sean Marks, whose departure was confirmed after the final whistle against Bromley on Saturday.
But he said that going full-time is a step the club will need to consider – and probably have to take – if they’re to make it into League 2, which Peter Griffin stated was now the aim.
“I think that if you’re going to look at getting into the league, you’ve got to go full-time,” he said.
“But it’s one step at a time. Next season is going to be a massive season. A lot of teams, if you’ve seen this year, have struggled in their second season in the National League. So I know how important it is.
Devonshire also had special words of thanks for Marks, and said the loyalty his striker has shown to him over the years doesn’t come along very often in non league football.
“It’s because of the travelling he does, all the way from Essex,” he said. “I’ve had him seven years now and I can’t praise him high enough. He’s cut his head open so many times.
“He’s been a right trooper. I don’t think we’ve ever had a crossed word.
“He’s still got a lot to offer some teams. I just felt it was right to say a few words about him because to see that loyalty in non league football, it doesn’t happen very often, but he’s shown that in abundance for me.
“I’ve got some good players here, and I’m sure some of them will go on to better things. But we’ll see. The hard work starts here. We’ve still got a bit of work to do. We’re talking to a couple (of strikers) so we’ll see what happens.”
Chairman Peter Griffin didn’t think last Tuesday’s win at Leyton Orient could be topped, but he described Saturday’s 5-2 win over Bromley as the ‘performance of the season’.
The Magpies had little to play for, having wrapped up 12th place with the 1-0 win at Brisbane Road. But you wouldn’t have known it as they carved apart a side who had serious play-off ambitions of their own heading into the clash.
United have done extremely well to finish 12th in their first ever National League season, and, having now found their feet at this level, Griffin is confident they can progress with the nucleus of the squad remaining at York Road.
“I went to the Orient game on Tuesday, but this was the performance of the season,” said Griffin.
“I know we didn’t have much to play for, but Bromley are going for the play-offs and we took them apart completely.
“You often need a year or two in a division to find your feet, but we’ve done well to finish 12th. We had the odd blip, Torquay beat us home and away, but that’s a brilliant achievement in the first year.
“There will be some players moving on, but the nucleus will be here, we know the majority will be here next year. So, yeah, we will keep a lot of them together.”
Improving on 12th, he added, wasn’t his headache, but manager Alan Devonshire’s, but the chairman has every faith in Dev, who’s delivered better than expected results year on year since he returned to the club.
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