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Rovers are not ready for promotion- yet

Ali Shulver ENGANL00120131015124409
Ali Shulver ENGANL00120131015124409

In a week when five clubs have applied for promotion, chairman Ali Shulver says Haverhill Rovers are not yet in a position to take the same step.

Last Thursday the Thurlow Nunn League confirmed that Premier Division leaders and reigning champions Norwich United, together with Stanway Rovers, Mildenhall Town, Godmanchester Rovers and Ipswich Wanderers have all officially applied for promotion to step four football.

Even though two of those clubs, Ipswich Wanderers and Mildenhall Town are further down the league table than seventh-placed Rovers, Shulver said the time is not right for them to be applying to go up - although the New Croft already meets the grading requirements for the Ryman League.

He said: “We are not ready to make that step, not for a long time so it’s not something we are thinking about.”

The decision is not based on a lack of ambition, but simply on the practicalities of finances, explained Shulver, who added that promotion still remains a slightly longer term ambition.

While Rovers well-documented policy of nurturing their own young, locally based talent is clearly paying dividends at first team level, it is also proving successful further down the age spectrum.

The Under-21 side is unbeaten since the first day of the season and tops the Essex and Herts Border Combination League (which aside from Rovers and Stotfold is made up of sides whose senior teams play step four football and higher) while the Under-18s are third in the Thurlow Nunn Youth League, South Division, below only AFC Sudbury and Brightlingea Regent, who again have senior sides playing step four football.

Shulver said: “We are making steady progress week in week out.

“It’s never easy because it’s not a cheap thing to do, to run a football club.

“Financially the club has had its best year for a long time. Has it given us lots of money we can go out and spend on players, no, but it’s given us more chance of financing the club, rather than just a team.

“I spend as much time talking about the Under-7s as much as I do the first team because if we can get that bit right we will get more people interested.

“It takes time the way we are doing it. Not overnight success, but long term.

“We are in the black I suppose is the best way of putting it. We don’t have any liabilities at the moment, we are living within our means.

“An investor would certainly help. If Rovers had an ambition of playing step four football in the future, without an investor you are probably talking about four to five years but with an investor you are probably talking about two or three years.”

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