Portchester preparing to move up non-league pyramid

AFC Portchester boss Graham Rix  Picture: Paul Jacobs
AFC Portchester boss Graham Rix Picture: Paul Jacobs
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It may be the close season with the World Cup grabbing most people’s attention but at Wessex League premier outfit AFC Portchester it has been as busy as ever.

The Wicor Rec-based club are putting the final touches to their new hospitality facilities ahead of their pre-season games.

The club have made tremendous strides in the last few seasons rising up through the local leagues, and it wasn’t that long ago they were playing their games on a local school pitch.

Graham Rix’s side are preparing to start their third season in the top flight and are ambitious to move further up the non-league pyramid.

Director of football Mick Jenkins is excited by the prospects at the club.

‘We finished eighth last season despite suffering a number of setbacks,’ said Jenkins.

‘It wasn’t easy with some things we had to cope with.

‘Being thrown out of the FA Vase because of an administrative oversight, being deducted points and being fined were all difficult to take.

‘We have put all that behind us now, though, and are ready to bounce back to try to improve again.

‘Our ultimate aim is to step up to the Southern League, but we have to make sure that will be sustainable.

‘There is no way we will want to go down the road of Hereford United and Salisbury City who have been demoted because they stretched themselves financially.’

The new hospitality facilities are aimed to bring in extra finances to help the club move forward.

If they do earn promotion it will bring with it extra costs which need to be met.

The club have already spent a sizeable sum on their pitch having it verti-drained, sand-slitted and re-seeded ready for the new season.

Jenkins hopes the new facilities will be ready by Saturday, July 19 when Ryman South side Worthing visit for a first friendly.

It’s the start of a busy week which sees a Portsmouth XI visit on the following Tuesday and Ryman Premier outfit Bognor Regis Town 48 hours later on the Friday.