EAST Preston Football Club have applied for the Ryman League and hope to be playing there next season.
The County League Division 1 runaway leaders are hoping to pass a ground grading inspection once they add an additional 50 seats – which they have a Football Foundation grant in place for – and make some other minor improvements.
They are awaiting planning permission from East Preston’s local council for the seats, which will be decided at a committee meeting on January 15, as well as having to improve access to the toilets and some of the hard-standing areas, put in an additional covered standing area and upgrade the female official changing facilities.
EP committee member Terry Doyle has said that the improvements are all in hand and admitted it would be an honour to be playing at Step 4 of the pyramid.
He said: “We realise that when you have got the team you have got to move with it. Many clubs have put it off for a season and then have not won the league or things have changed – you have to grab the opportunity while you are there. If you look at the football side, going into the new year we are clear at the top, still in four cups, including the FA Vase, so clearly we have a team of some quality at this level.
“We are aware of what the budget requirements are in the next league and nothing tells us that we can’t compete – clearly we won’t be at the top of the league if we do go up.
“There is a lot of work to do, but everything is in order and we would be proud to go up into the Ryman League.
“We have looked at the travel as well and we do not think it is too much more – when you look at some of the teams in the league at the moment, such as Rye.”
The top two teams in County League Division 1 will qualify for promotion into the Ryman League.