CHIPPENHAM Town Football Club chairman Neil Blackmore sees no reason why the team can’t continue to climb the non-league ladder after winning promotion to the National League South.
Leamington’s failure to win at Biggleswade on Good Friday meant the Bluebirds started Saturday’s game as champions of the Southern League Premier Division with three games remaining.
A bumper crowd of 1,146 packed into Hardenhuish Park and despite St Neots winning 2-1 to end the home side’s 23-game unbeaten run, there was a party atmosphere and wild celebrations on the pitch at full time .
The club will be presented with the championship trophy on Saturday and options are being looked at to celebrate the team’s success in the town.
"I don’t believe that the National League is unrealistic for a town this size, there’s nothing stopping us at all and I think that’s very realistic,” said Mr Blackmore.
“If you compare us with the size of Nailsworth, where Forest Green Rovers are from, it’s much smaller and Yeovil I don’t think are that much bigger.
“We have spoken to Chippenham Town Council and they’re having a meeting because they want to be involved with any celebrations.”
Mr Blackmore has received more than 100 messages of congratulations and support following the title win, including from Norwegian fans.
“We have 20 Norwegian fans, they go on the canal boats in Bradford on Avon and were looking for a football team in that area a few years ago and they picked Chippenham,” said Mr Blackmore.
“They will be at the game on Saturday.
“All of our previous managers, Richard Fey, Steve Winter, got in touch and I had a nice long chat with the Leamington chairman Jim Scott after it was confirmed.
“In terms of celebrations we just stayed at the club after the game and had a few drinks.”
Preparations to play in the National League South will begin once the final game of this season, against St Ives Town, has been played.
This includes the addition of an extra turnstile from five to six, the use of a medical bed for the away dressing room and plans to replace portacabins at the ground which are falling into disrepair.
But any talk of how much money will need to be spent on the squad ahead of next season will wait until after the weekend.
“It’s a conversation I need to have with the manager, we said we’d wait until after the weekend,” said Mr Blackmore.
“We’re still taking on board winning the league and revelling in that.
“We need to sit down and discuss exactly what we do need, do we need different or better players?
“I’ve seen a few conference games and the difference between their league and ours is the strength in depth.”
It’s hoped that with the success of the club more people will volunteer their time to help at the ground, before games and on match day itself.
“We’d definitely like more volunteers, I’m very lucky I have got a small army of volunteers but we could always with more,” added Mr Blackmore.
“I can’t pick one person who I’m most pleased for, everyone works so hard and I’m so pleased for everyone.”