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Chairman hails volunteers

Tuesday 13 Apr 2021

EXTENSIVE work is under way to renovate Portland United’s Camp and Satherley Stadium. The Blues, who opted out of a mini league in the wake of the coronavirus-hit season, have capitalised on the absence of games. Sitting on the halfway line, the Butch Nash stand will receive a new roof, purloins and seating. A metal staircase has been installed leading from the bar to pitchside, while care of the playing surface has also begun. Blues’ chairman Matt Lucas told Echosport: “The pitch is being reseeded and prepared early. “We made a club decision that we weren’t going to engage in any organised cup competition and would bring the players back to get them working together. “And, perhaps do a few inter-club activities to get a head start on the work that’s going on this week. “Also, with regards to developing the Butch Nash stand it’s lovely to see the volunteers working so hard there and Darren and Lewis Whyton, who’ve worked tirelessly at the club.”

FA to invite 110 clubs for promotion in non-League restructure

Sunday 11 Apr 2021

THE FA will invite 110 clubs at Steps 5-7 for promotion under the planned restructure of non-League football. Relevant officials have met and will recommend the changes to the FA Council in order to 'address the imbalance that currently exists and achieve the 'pure pyramid' at Steps 1-6.' Under the restructure, one additional division at Step 4 will be added to the Northern Premier League. Two new tiers will be administered at Step 5 by the United Counties League and Combined Counties League. Step 6 will therefore have 17 divisions instead of 20 from next season. In total, 20 clubs will be promoted from Step 5 and 60 teams from Step 6 - comprised of 20 to backfill those promoted and 40 to divide between the two fresh tiers. Thirty clubs will be chosen for promotion to Step 6 from regional feeder leagues, such as the Dorset Premier League. Teams eligible for promotion will be decided by an unweighted points per game model, taking in combined results from the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. It will not be mandatory for clubs to apply for promotion when invited. The FA said: "The top three ranked clubs from each of the North West Counties League, Northern Counties East League and Northern League, along with the top ranked club from the remaining 11 Step 5 divisions, will be considered eligible for upward movement to Step 4 and will be invited to make an application to do so. "Multiple clubs will be upwardly moved from these specific leagues, as per the previous ratification by FA Council, in order to address specific challenges with travelling distance and time which exist at Step 4. "The top two ranked clubs in each of the South West Peninsula League divisions, along with the top three ranked clubs from the 18 remaining Step 6 divisions, will be considered eligible for upward movement to Step 5 and will be invited to make an application for upward movement. "Fewer clubs will be upwardly moved from the South West Peninsula League Divisions, as per the previous ratification by FA Council, on the basis of geographical reasons for the relevant divisions at Step 5." Lastly, Step 6 leagues and relevant feeder leagues will liaise to decide the 30 promoted clubs from Step 7.

Portland United to resume training on Saturday

Thursday 01 Apr 2021

PORTLAND United will lay on six training sessions from Saturday before commencing preparations for the 2021/22 season. Franklyn Clarke’s Blues will train three times in April and on three occasions in May, including a final workout on Saturday, May 29. The islanders saw their Sydenhams Wessex League campaign curtailed by the FA in March, and opted against playing in a replacement cup tournament. Following the six training sessions, Portland will take June off and begin pre-season in July. As with Dorchester Town, none of the Blues’ squad will be paid for coming in to train. Clarke told Echosport: “We’ve got the lads in three times in April and three times in May. “It’s just to get everyone back together again. We’ve got the first team, the reserves and the under-18s. “We want to create that pathway and it’ll give me a good chance to look at the younger lads that we’ve got coming through.” Portland boss Clarke explained there will be no friendlies for the Blues in Spring, but did reveal pre-season’s warm-up matches are already organised. “It’s just training for the time being,” he confirmed. “We’ve got some fixtures arranged for pre-season pretty much sorted. “We’ll have a rest before we come back. We’ll train on the 3rd, 10th and the 24th (of April) and the 1st, 8th and 29th (of May). “Everyone’s missed it and they’re dead keen to come in. “It’s important for us, where we’re a new group, to come in for the next two months before pre-season for everyone to get to know each other that bit more. “It will help us progress.”

Blues 'unanimously' opt out of potential cup

Monday 08 Mar 2021

PORTLAND United's season is officially over after the Blues "unanimously" decided against entering a potential new cup competition. With the FA curtailing league fixtures in Steps 3-6, the Wessex League is looking into creating a new cup to fill the void. But Portland, who announced Matt Lucas as chairman on Friday, will instead save funds to complete ground maintenance in time for the 2021/22 campaign - their centenary year. The Blues also cited uncertainty over the return of fans, which has been mooted as a possibility, but not confirmed during stage three of lockdown easing on May 17. "The club has unanimously decided that we will not be taking part in any supplementary cup competitions proposed by the leagues," a statement read. "Apart from no firm news when spectators will be allowed into grounds, we would like to concentrate on getting the ground maintenance done early. "Also (to) carry out necessary work to the ground so that we can start our pre-season early as it is our centenary year. We are working on various events to mark this occasion. "Hopefully we can look forward to a normal build-up to the start of the season and to be able to welcome our faithful supporters back to the ground." Portland are also building for the future on the pitch, with a number of exciting young players brought in by boss Franklyn Clarke and assistant Sam Poole.

Portland appoint ex-Dorchester chief Matt Lucas as chairman

Friday 05 Mar 2021

PORTLAND United have named Matt Lucas as the club's new chairman. Lucas, who served as Dorchester Town chief from 2014 to 2019, succeeds Blues' legend Robin Satherley as chairman. Lucas stepped down from Dorchester's board in September last year and has been a regular at Portland games since, supporting son and goalkeeper Josh. Gary Bailey, who had been acting chairman since Satherley retired last year, said Lucas brings "a wealth of experience" to the role. Bailey addedL "It’s a fantastic appointment for the club; Matt brings a wealth of experience to this role. "He has an extensive knowledge of non-league football and what is needed both on and off the field to run a club successfully. “He has been involved with the club for most of this season as a supporter and has also been helping out in a committee role. "It’s plain to see he has a real passion for football at this level and an enthusiasm that is infectious. “After we had approached Matt and spoken to him about the prospect of him becoming chairman, it really was an easy decision for us to make”. “We have some exciting plans in the pipeline and although unfortunately there hasn’t been any action on the pitch recently, plenty of hard work has been going on behind the scenes. "I and the rest of our hard-working committee are very much looking forward to continuing to take the club forward under Matt’s stewardship."

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