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Clarke dons gloves after injury

Thursday 17th December 2020

PORTLAND United boss Franklyn Clarke donned the gloves during the Blues’ 5-1 loss at Shaftesbury and insisted he would not “shy away” from the challenge.

Clarke’s leadership came to the fore after regular keeper Josh Lucas picked up a nasty broken hand – with surgery scheduled for tomorrow.

Clarke went between the sticks at 4-1 down with 75 minutes remaining and was beaten late on as Luke Holmes added his second goal of the game.

Speaking to Echosport, Clarke admitted he had never kept goal before.

He said: “When the game goes like that, I think it was 4-1 at the time, you just do it and get on with it.

“I’ve never done that before, it’s a first. It is what it is, I’m not going to shy away from anything.

“(Lucas) got injured and I don’t mind (goalkeeping).”

Portland travel to high-fliers Lymington on Saturday (3pm) looking for their second win in four games.

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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."

Thoughts from Matt Lucas on his appointment as Chairman

Friday 05 Mar 2021

When I was first approached with regards to being involved at Portland United, I was a little hesitant because for a number of years I had been heavily involved in various roles at Dorchester Town and I really just wanted to watch my lad play and come and support local football only as a supporter. I must say, I have always been made to feel most welcome by everyone at the club. As time has moved on, I have gradually become more involved with the club and have thoroughly enjoyed helping out in whichever way was needed. As I found during my time at Dorchester Town, and now at Portland United, there are truly great people who genuinely want the best for their club and these supporters all work extremely hard in achieving the club’s aims. I was very touched when Gary Bailey first asked me if I would be interested in becoming Chairman of Portland United. One reason the role is so appealing to me is the chance to work alongside Gary as Vice-Chairman, someone who I class as a good friend and have the upmost respect for after his on-field success and dedication to the club in so many roles across so many years. Gary told me that although nobody actually wanted the role of Chairman, all committee members wanted to stay and continue their excellent work in their respected roles. For me, that is absolutely vital and the reason why I have now agreed to become Chairman. We never stop learning and I am so lucky to have the knowledge and support of people who bleed Portland United from the ex-Chairman Robin Satherley, President Dave Camp, and the extensive and hardworking committee of club stalwarts who are all so pleased to continue their work for the club which they love. A team of volunteers which I thoroughly enjoy being a part of. The club has some really exciting plans and ideas moving forward and I can’t wait to get working alongside everyone for the good of this great, warm and welcoming club that is respected in the area by so many. My personal aim and philosophy is to continue the hard work of others, both in the past and present, ensuring that in the future the club name continues with the same values and respect it has earned over so many years. If all the teams under the Portland United banner continue to play as one club and we all as supporters and volunteers work hard for our club, then the future is bright, and we can look forward in continuing the journey with exciting times ahead. Finally, I look forward to meeting all supporters very soon and working with you all as we move forward TOGETHER.

DPL & Wessex Plan Cup

Thursday 04 Mar 2021

FIXTURES in the Dorset Premier League have been officially curtailed – a decision that affects Balti Sports, Dorchester Sports, Portland United Reserves and Bridport Reserves. Following the announcement of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown last week, it became clear grassroots and Step 7 football could continue after Monday, March 29. The development provoked countrywide discussion among National League System feeder leagues. And Dorset Premier League (DPL) officials have opted to finish the season with the majority of teams still having more than 20 fixtures to play. However, league officials have announced a cup competition in April and May, the format of which is dependent on feedback from clubs – due tomorrow. Entry is not mandatory and non-entry will not affect a club’s standing in the 2021/22 DPL season. Officials are “confident” pre-season will thereafter begin in July as normal, followed by the traditional August league start. Western League officials have opted against a “regionalised” tournament, citing a lack of information about the return of supporters. Clubs would also have to ensure Covid-19 protocols are in place in clubhouses and it was recognised that “managing this restriction represents a considerable challenge” for member teams. Officials do hope to finish the 2019/20 Les Phillips Cup final before the 2021/22 campaign, with FA Vase fixtures also going ahead. Elsewhere, the Wessex League is awaiting information on a possible return to football for Step 5 clubs before scheduling a competition similar to that of the DPL.

Dorchester Town, Portland United and Bridport face end to season

Thursday 25 Feb 2021

DORCHESTER Town, Portland United and Bridport face an immediate end to the season following an FA announcement. In a recent survey, 76 per cent of clubs in Steps 3-6 voted to end a campaign which had already been paused since the third lockdown. The outcome is subject to FA Council ratification and follows the decision for Step 2 leagues to null and void last week. Similarly to the impact of that outcome on Steps 1 and 2, no decisions on promotion and relegation have been made for Steps 3 to 6. It is the second season in succession at Steps 3 to 6 that has fallen victim to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Magpies, Blues and Bees will now have around six months to prepare for the 2021/22 season. Under the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, non-elite football was neglected in the finer details, with fans set to return to elite football from May 17. In a lengthy statement, the FA said 99.1 per cent of clubs in Steps 3 to 4 had responded to the survey along with 95.8 per cent of teams in Steps 5 to 6. Overall, 76 per cent of respondents voted to null and void the season if it could not be restarted with "limited spectator numbers and hospitality before April 1." The FA added that extending the season beyond May 31 "would not be a viable option" with 81 per cent of games still to be played in Steps 3 to 4 and 75 per cent in Steps 5 to 6. Therefore a "consensus" has been reached to end the season with "immediate effect." Subject to the FA Council's decision, discussions on the postponed restructuring of Steps 4 to 6 will be revisited. Dorchester Town, in Step 3, have only played seven games in the Southern Premier South, occupying 19th of 20 teams. Portland United are 18th of 20 sides in Step 5 league the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division, while fellow Step 5 team Bridport are 20th of 21 clubs in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division. Read the full statement below: "The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have now considered the large amount of data and information submitted by clubs across the National League System (NLS) Steps 3-6 as part of a survey to gather views on the continuation or conclusion of the 2020-21 league season, in addition to the information set out in the Government’s roadmap this week. "Submissions were made by 99.1 per cent of clubs at Steps 3 and 4, and 95.8 per cent of clubs at Steps 5 and 6. "We would like to thank the clubs for submitting their views and the time taken in providing responses during what we appreciate is an incredibly challenging period for everyone. "The results of the survey showed that over 76 per cent of all clubs across Steps 3-6 indicated a preference to curtail the 2020-21 league season if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before 1 April 2021. "During this process, taking into account views of clubs and leagues it was decided that extending the 2020-21 league season beyond the end of May 2021 would not be a viable option. "This was due to various considerations, including the financial implications for many clubs, player contracts and the extent of the fixture scheduling issues caused by the national lockdown and various postponements which had resulted in there being 81 per cent of matches left to complete for Steps 3 and 4, and 75 per cent at Steps 5 and 6. "Taking into account the survey results and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, which continues to adversely affect incomes for clubs due to restrictions on both spectators and hospitality, The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have reached a consensus that subject to the approval of FA Council, the 2020-21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the NLS should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season. "The Committees will now present their collective recommendations to The FA Council for ratification. "It has also been decided that subject to FA Council’s decision regarding the curtailment of the season at Steps 3 to 6, both committees will revisit discussions around a potential restructure at Steps 4-6 of the NLS, which was previously agreed and has been on hold since the 2019-20 season. A further update on this will be provided in due course."

Sherborne win over Reserves

Tuesday 22 Dec 2020

PORTLAND UNITED RES 0 SHERBORNE TOWN RES 3 PORTLAND United Reserves have found life difficult in the Dorset Premier League since lockdown and it was the same story for the Blues as a strengthened Sherborne Town Reserves won 3-0 at the Camp & Satherley Stadium. Incredibly, the drop-off in form since the shutdown has been stark, Justin Faulkner’s men losing all three of their games and this clash representing only the second game of the campaign where they were unable to find the back of the opposition’s net. As it was, the Zebras rattled in three goals as winger Dec Cornish, who has turned out for Bridport this season, Steve Burton and Nick Jacobs all got on the scoresheet. Reflecting on the game, Faulkner said: “It was a really bad day at the office, we didn’t get out of the changing rooms for 70-odd minutes of the game and it appeared we were just going through the motions, to be honest. “We didn’t play well at all or to any acceptable level that is required to be in this league or even at a club like Portland.” Faulkner added: “Being a reserve side they are always likely to strengthen as we are entitled to do. “With what is going on at the moment and leagues effectively closing down it is causing all these odd results with Southern (League) players dropping into the Wessex or Western League and (vice versa); it is a knock-on effect. “I don’t see that stopping any time soon either and I can’t see the leagues even finishing if we are subject to another lockdown. “Going from credible results like what we seen for the four games since the opening day of the season to racking up three straight defeats is very disappointing and really makes it tough for us to climb the league as we are getting cut adrift from the top 10. “We will continue to develop this group of players and once we adjust to the way the club want to play I’m sure the results will come. “Confidence is low at the moment and that is my job to pick them up after each defeat. We didn’t give up and will fight on.” Blues’ Reserves: Hadley, Hill, Riley, Tennant (Tyler Butcher), G Carter, Evans, Barrell (Garbutt), Wilson, Ryan, Read, Tom Butcher (Diaz). Sub not used: James.

Blues see league fixtures suspended

Tuesday 22 Dec 2020

PORTLAND United have seen their fixtures paused until January after Wessex League officials suspended competitive action. Franklyn Clarke's Blues will not play until Tuesday, January 18 at the earliest, pending a review taking into account government and FA guidelines. League Cup games are also frozen with some teams in the division located in Tier 4 areas. Wessex League officials admitted the decision was "difficult" to administer. "With three clubs, a number of club officials, players and match officials based in tier four, there are concerns with the health and welfare of everyone involved in our league." they said in a statement. "Additionally, travel in and out of different tiers could be problematic. "All clubs were asked if they were in favour of postponing, or continuing with fixtures during these difficult times. "The majority of clubs answered that they were in favour of postponing - six clubs wished to continue with fixtures. "The subject was discussed during last night's board meeting. "The board made the difficult decision to postpone league and League Cup fixtures. "This decision will be reviewed on January 18, however that may change subject to further announcements from the government, DCMS and the FA. "The break from playing fixtures provides clubs with the opportunity to review and update their risk assessments if appropriate, revisit the Covid-19 regulations and remind management teams and squads of their responsibilities, individually and collectively." The decision raises questions over whether the season will finish as planned. Other leagues, such as the Southern League, are currently suspended while the Western League has only just ended a break in matches. Portland will miss five games through the festive and New Year period: Christchurch, Blackfield & Langley, Bournemouth Poppies, Bashley and Fareham.