Bognor Regis Town FC
Bognor Regis Town FC has enjoyed a fine season so far this time around and currently find themselves top of the league with just a few games left to play. Football Focus Magazine recently caught up with Club Representative Ian Guppy to find out more about the good work the club has been doing lately.
He told us, “My first ever game was Tiverton away in the FA Cup in the 1995/96 season. My uncle and dad were going and I was 14 years old and just decided to go with them – I remember being behind the goal seeing the game and remembering how well we played.
Tiverton, although technically a county side, were one of the strong Non-league sides in that era and only due to their geography did it stop them going higher. Since that day I’ve been hooked and haven’t looked back – gradually and slowly becoming more involved in the club.
My whole family are involved and my two children love their days at Nyewood Lane and I feel like they have 300-400 people looking out for them on matchdays and that’s a lovely feeling to have.
Currently I am the Shop Manager, Supporters Club Membership Secretary, Webmaster for www.therocks.co.uk and run the highly successful Facebook account. I also sit on the main management committee too and I love it – it’s great to be involved and seeing our success on the pitch it’s exciting times to come.”
“It’s great to see so many young fans coming through the gates, there is no doubt that being at the top of the table promotes a greater interest in the club and shows the support is there locally. I was a huge supporter of trying to give under 16’s free entry to games and helped the club to instigate this.
The fact we’re losing a couple of pounds per person is not an issue when we could be gaining fans for life – and the secondary sales of scarves, food and drink should negate the loss that we make on the gate and help crowds increase.”
“The atmosphere here is really good, with the team top of the table with a real shout at winning the league and gaining promotion back to the National South. The club has a decent following home and away and I feel that National South is a level we can support and do well in.
At the start of the season I think any Bognor fan would genuinely have taken one above the relegation zone after losing so many influential players from last season’s FA Trophy Semi Final squad.
We lost two strikers who scored 70 goals between them last season, a defender who has a chance of promotion to the football league with Dagenham and Redbridge this season and a goalkeeper who has recently experienced England C honours with his new club Boreham Wood. These players seemed or were deemed impossible to replace and a season of struggles were expected.
Through some very shrewd and possibly risky signings the club, I feel, have actually a better squad than last season – personal ability wise we had some better players last season but as a squad we are now as strong as I’ve seen for a long long time.
We aren’t scoring as many goals as last seasons but we’re conceding less and in Dan Lincoln we have a goalkeeper who should be playing a lot higher up the pyramid, which can be said for many of our current crop of players. There is a huge buzz about the club at the moment.”
“Youth development is massive for us; we have a very active youth section ranging from under 9’s to under 18’s with plans afoot to increase the participation of all ages within the club. All players from Under 16 down are given a free season ticket and to see them at the games gives me a real sense of pride seeing the next generation supporting their local side on a Saturday.”
“We are getting more involved in the community season by season. As a supporters club we want to get more involved and slowly we would like to get out locally and promote us. We’ve always wanted to participate in the local carnival and that is on the cards and through social media we are getting more exposure and promotion to the National South will definitely help if it were to happen.”
“Speaking as a a fan the ambition would be to hopefully get promotion this season as it will get harder and harder with the finances involved at our level, and then to consolidate in the league above. I feel this is our level but with a few seasons of consolidation and with the launch of the academy – this could be a springboard to better things.
This would hopefully help to increase the attendances at Nyewood Lane and it would be a dream to have an average crowd of around 1,000. This seems a huge ask, but we know the fan base is there for crucial games, I just wish some of these fans would be there for more games – it really is a very welcoming and exciting place to be.”