Buckingham United vice chairman talks about promotion to South Midlands League

As Sports Shots confirmed earlier this week, Buckingham United Football Club will start the 2019/2020 season in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two after having their application to transfer from the North Bucks & District League accepted.

Adam Bray

This week we caught up with United vice chairman Adam Bray to offer our congratulations and to find out how & when they received the good news:

Thank you for the congratulations, we found out just before eleven pm on Friday night (7th June) when the written confirmation letter arrived in the club’s inbox

Had that wait been a nervous one for the club, or were they expecting success?

We always believed that we had a strong application and matched all the criteria set out, the ground grading report came back very complimentary and no questions were asked of our application. However in football anything can happen and while we were all confident it was a fantastic feeling to finally have it all confirmed

Why did the club opt to apply for the move, and was the NBDL premier not an option?

The North Bucks and District League Premier was very much an option but opportunities to make the step up into the NLS do not come around all the time, there is a tremendous amount of momentum within the club and this is something we want to harvest and not lose. The timing felt right and had we not made the decision then we may well not have been in the position again for years to do so. Many people may look at us and think the jump up from the NBDFL Intermediate to the SSMFL Division Two is too big a jump and they would probably be right to think that, however we are delighted to have Sean Devine and John Walton on board supported by Matt Marsden in the reserves, they all have an impressive group of contacts and players to call on, strengthening us on the pitch

How much of a difference will being in the SSMFL make to attracting players?

Hopefully, as with anything we try to do, it will bring a positive result, moving up the pyramid always gets people talking in the summer. There are a lot of very good local players who currently play for step seven clubs outside of the MK18 postcode rather than a club in their own town, we are certainly hopeful we will see a few of these at preseason

Have the club had to make any changes to meet the any rules?

Off the pitch there is more administration and obviously different rules etc, for this reason Matt Day has joined our committee and is our first team secretary moving forward. Matt has a lot of SSMFL experience and knows the league when it comes to everything off the pitch which is what we needed. Regarding ground grading for step seven, you will be seeing dugouts going in soon along with perimeter spectator rails which is currently being firmed up and going through council. While post and rope is a minimum, we like to try and do things properly

Where does the club realistically see itself competing in its new surroundings?

As a committee we made it clear when on the search for a new manager that we would be delighted with consolidating in our first season. As per Sports Shots interview with Sean he wants to win and has a great desire for winning, we would love to do well in cup competitions and there are some great new grounds for us to visit too

So is the plan to try and climb higher in the leagues or will the ground hold them back?

Lace Hill in its current state would be restricted to step seven, but what I will say is let’s see what the future brings, our whole committee, management teams and players across the club are all incredibly driven to succeed and do well

With lots of new cup competitions on the horizon, which will be the most looked forward to?

Personally I am really looking forward to the League Challenge Trophy, there are some really nice grounds in the SSMFL Prem and it would be great to get a good away day at one of those. Aside from that we would love to do well in the Buckingham Charity Cup

With three clubs now in the SSMFL from that MK18 catchment, can they all compete in such a small confined area?

Absolutely yes, there is a difference between SSMFL division one and two and let’s remember that both Winslow United & Buckingham Athletic finished in third and fourth place respectively, had that been this coming season they would both have been promoted with the top four going up. As mentioned earlier there are also a lot of good players in the town currently travelling to clubs outside of MK18 to play at step seven

Finally, what is the message from BUFC to the people and/or players from the Buckingham area?

While there is a lot of focus on the first team and their placement into SSMFL we also have five other teams of varying ability to match players own requirements in the club, our reserves, under eighteen’s, veterans (over thirty-five) and our two Sunday morning A and B teams. If you are looking for a new club, recently left a junior club and looking to get into men’s football, or even looking to get back into football then please do come along to preseason training, have a chat and see what we are all about.

It would also be great to see even more people at our games supporting our teams, if anyone in the town is at a loose end over the weekend then please come and watch, and remember, there is no entry fee!

Sports Shots would like to thank Adam for his time this week

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