Monday, 2 May 2011

Cricklade Town with Alisdair Ross

Please read below for my interview with Cricklade Town chairman Alisdair Ross. It was published in the latest Football Focus magazine which can be viewed here for absolutely free! Included in the current issue are Leyton Orient, Dunfermline Athletic, Crawley Town and many more football clubs.

Cricklade Town
Stones Lane, the home of Cricklade Town
Mohamed Al-Fayed, chairman of Fulham FC, showed off his moonwalking skills at the recent unveiling of a Michael Jackson statue at Craven Cottage and many were critical of his lack of skill. However, the same cannot be said of Cricklade Town chairman, Alisdair Ross. Alisdair has featured as a player for the Hellenic Football League side over the last eighteen years, seven of which, he also occupied the position of chairman. Unbelievably, this is not Alisdair's only dual role! He is a recognised goalkeeper, but if required, can throw the gloves to one side and slot quite comfortably into defence.

After long success as a player, Alisdair is finally going to hang up his boots at the end of this season and he feels that his final campaign has acted as a perfect platform for success next season. “With so many games in a short time, injuries and players not being available for midweek games have caught up with us. It's still a good season and with recent results, a top five finish is what I would expect. We have now built up a great squad that with a couple of additions, we could challenge next season.”

While the first team has started flying, Cricklade's youth system has stuttered recently, but Alisdair still believes they are a vital component of the club. “Youth is very important, you get more local support with more local players coming through the youth, and when you don't pay money you need players that want to play for the club. Cricklade used to have a great youth set up with teams at every age group, but with lack of players and people to run the them, it has declined over the years. However, next season we have a new group of players coming through that we will base our reserves on.”

Footballing facilities at Cricklade's Stones Lane are second to none in the Hellenic League, but it is the comfort of the spectators that Alisdair has at the forefront of his mind. “We have a good playing surface, it's flat and has lots of grass on it, unlike many clubs. The changing rooms are as good as you will get in the Hellenic league and the dugouts are of a good standard. What lets the club down is facilities for spectators. We need some hard standing and sheltered seating, but it's hard to fund expansion when you don't own the ground.”

Clearly, Crickdale are up against it, especially in the harsh economic climate which has smothered the country. “The biggest challenges for us and many clubs is to still be in existence in five years. The cost of running a club goes up each season and with the current climate, sponsorship is harder to find.”

Despite the issues of running a lower league club, Alisdair remains positive and hopes that silverware will be being transferred into the trophy cabinet in the near future, especially with some exciting players in the squad. “I would like the club to win some silverware, its been a while for the club and with the players we have, we should challenge a bit more than we have over the last few years. We have got a few players that can play up a couple of leagues and in the past, teams from the Hellenic Premier Division have taken players from us.”

Crickdale will be hoping they can hang onto their top performers and push further up the table next season as Alisdair assumes a different role, cheering his side on from the sidelines.

written by Will Lyon

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