New chairman sets sights on climbing non-league ladder

NEW Felixstowe & Walton United chairman Andy Wilding has set his sights on the club climbing the non-league ladder.

Wilding, who said it was an “honour and a privilege” to take on the role, was appointed as the Ridgeons League Premier Division club’s acting chairman after meeting with the Seasiders’ committee on Monday evening.

The 53-year-old will be formally elected onto the committee as full-time chairman at the end of this season, but has already got a vision of where he wants to take the club.

He said: “It is early days yet – I only met with the committee on Monday night – but I have got some ideas.

“Tony Barnes, the previous chairman, did a phenomenal amount of work for the club, and has put in place a strong platform on which to build.

“Do we want to be a Ridgeons League Premier Division club for an eternity, or do we want to move forward?” asked Wilding.

“If Lowestoft Town, Bury Town, AFC Sudbury, Leiston and Needham Market can do it, there is no rhyme or reason why Felixstowe & Walton United can’t develop and move in the same direction.

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“I want to push and promote the club to make the move up from Step 5 football to Step 4. A lot of groundwork needs to be done, but we are a Charter Standard Community Club working for the community and we need to build the club with them.”

Wilding, whose brother Mark is the current Felixstowe Under-18s manager, already has good connections at both the Football Association and Suffolk FA through his role as secretary of the Ipswich & District Referees’ Society.

He said: “I have already met with Phil Knight, the chief executive of Suffolk FA, and he congratulated me and has said he will give us all the support they can, within reason, to help us take the club forward.

“It is not going to happen overnight – I need to sit down with the current committee and maybe form a steering committee for 2012/13 to push these ideas forward.

“We already have a very strong youth set up, and I have an idea of Felixstowe & Walton United becoming an academy and being a satellite of the Ipswich Town Academy to develop and supply referees through a football partnership.”

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