Financial crises, directors under fire, new manager expected any day – oh, and a football date with a high-profile opponent. Just another weekend at Priory Lane, then.
Tomorrow (Saturday) Eastbourne Borough welcome Dartford and their newly-appointed manager Steve King. After an awful start to the season, the Darts parted company with joint bosses Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle, and – following a three-week hiatus with a string of events behind the scenes – King took over at Princes Park. So far, he has presided over an FA Cup exit and a scrambled home draw, but it never takes him long to turn a club around.
High profile is often actually quite low profile for Steve King. The locally based manager popped in at the Lane on Tuesday night – as, with collar up and enigmatic smile, he quite often does – and he knows the Sports better than any opposing manager. Spice is added by the Kent club’s recruitment of striker Elliott Romain, released by Borough to trim the wage bill, and by memories of the astonishing 6-0 drubbing of the Darts in Borough’s final home game of last season.
Six goals would be the stuff of fantasy, but any victory would be welcome for the mid-table Sports, who welcome back player-manager Sergio Torres and have only a couple of minor injury niggles. The Borough squad has, if anything, shown greater resolve and spirit amid the current turbulence, and supporters will certainly not be short-changed.
Meanwhile, Borough are easing back towards off-field stability. This evening (Friday) joint chairmen Dave Blackmore and John Bonar will field questions from supporters in the Priory Lane clubhouse in a Q&A beginning at 7.00pm. And in tomorrow’s match programme, Bonar issues this rallying call:
“Our football club is not in any danger of folding, or going into administration. Moral: don’t believe everything – or possibly anything – that you read on various social media platforms! If we had not acted, we would be facing a shortfall of up to £40,000 by the end of December. What we have done will give us a chance to plug that shortfall.
"The players are showing us the way. The grit, desire and comradeship shown by the whole squad, at Hemel and here at the Lane, was fantastic and a true credit to them. From my perspective I was so proud of them and it was really good to see smiles on both the players’ and supporters’ faces. The football is suddenly a level higher than we have seen for a while, and long may that continue!
“We as a Board are trustees of this club as well as supporters. This club belongs to all of us. Together, we will not simply pull through, but climb higher.”
And a new manager also appears imminent. The club is keeping names close to the chest, but at least three candidates were short-listed and interviewed this week. The first team squad looks likely to be trimmed by two or three players, including some high earners, but not decimated. Nothing like a little crisis to pull people together