Worthing FC chairman: We're ready to take next big step

Worthing are ready to welcome fans back to Woodside Road after 16 months away – and reckon they are in good shape to make it a memorable season for them.

Fans will be back at Woodside Road next Tuesday (July 13) for the first time since March 2020
Fans will be back at Woodside Road next Tuesday (July 13) for the first time since March 2020

Midfielder Kane Wills – returning for a second spell with the Mackerel Men – is the latest player recruited by boss Adam Hinshelwood to aid the push for promotion from the Isthmian League, And it’s a push that chairman Barry Hunter believes Worthing are in a great position to launch, both on and off the field.

They play their first Woodside Road game in front of fans since March 2020 next Tuesday – a friendly with Three Bridges for which 600 fans will be allowed in. By the time of their next home game, versus Tonbridge Angels on Saturday 24, there should be no cap on numbers.

Hunter said everyone at the club was looking forward to welcoming fans who raised around £50,000 towards ground improvements carried out since they were last there – and getting a season under way that they hope will end in the club taking their place in National League South. “The club is busy, buzzing and vibrant. As you walk into the ground you see the new pitch, which just lifts the place, and fans will soon see the other new features and the new floodlights,” Hunter said.

“We’re coming out of lockdown in a safe place, a good place. We took advantage of government schemes and grants available in the pandemic but that was just to survive. To go from treading water to bringing in revenue is the next step and we’re ready for it.”

Hinshelwood has added Wills, goalkeeper Harrison Male and defender Will Seager to a squad that’s set to retain most of last season’s members. Hunter said promotion was the clear aim but wouldn’t be easy.

“We’re, if not favourites, one of the favourites and other sides will be out to test us. We’ve lost the element of surprise we may have had before. But it remains our ambition to reach National South and then regroup as a club and see where we can go.”

On the women’s side of the club, the first team have been promoted to the London and South East League premier – and Hunter said growing number of young players coming through the junior sides and the academy meant the future was bright..