This is just the start - Dowell

Worthing Football Club owner George Dowell insists this is just the start after Rebels clinched promotion yesterday.

George Dowell celebrates promotion with joint boss Gary Elphick
George Dowell celebrates promotion with joint boss Gary Elphick

Dowell took over last March when he saved the club, who were almost £200,000 in debt, from serious financial trouble. The club’s future looked bleak at the time but Rebels have not looked back since Dowell’s arrival.

He set a five-year target for the club to be playing Conference South at the time and admits promotion this season was ahead of schedule.

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Speaking after the 3-0 play-off final win against Faversham, he said: “It’s absolutely amazing, I’m lost for words.

“It’s ahead of schedule, we had a five-year plan and we wanted to finish top five this year with the aim of going up but obviously we knew that if we didn’t, it would be a building block for next year and then we could really make a strong push for it.

“We’re ahead of schedule which is great but now we’ve got a busy summer planning for next year.

“I just can’t believe that in my first year everything has gone so smoothly.”

A crowd of 1,889 watched the match with Faversham, after 948 attended the semi-final victory against Hythe, and Dowell said: “The crowds have been amazing, I didn’t expect these numbers at all.

“We want to build the crowd and hopefully there’s people who came today that really enjoyed it who haven’t been before and will come back again next year.

“That’s what we want, the whole community to really get behind us and they seem to be doing that at the moment.

“This is just the start, we’re not finished yet. We’ve still got other stuff we want to achieve and we want to push on from here so, hopefully, everyone stays behind us.

“We’ve still got the Sussex Senior Cup final (May 20; 7.45pm kick-off at the Amex). Today put the cherry on the cake and that would just be a bonus. If we were to win that as well, it would just be a ridiculous first season and hard to beat next year or the year after.”

Looking ahead to next season in the Ryman League Premier Division, Dowell said: “All the players are really happy here and Jon and Gary are happy with the squad.

“They’ll probably add a couple of new faces to the team over the summer but, on the whole, the team has done brilliantly and I think they’ll be fine in the league above.”

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