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Clarke plans `clear pathway` for Blues

Friday 16th April 2021

PORTLAND United manager Franklyn Clarke has revealed the Blues are unlikely to add to their squad over the summer.

Clarke and assistant Sam Poole, who won the Wessex League with Blackfield & Langley in 2017/18, are focusing on developing the islanders’ young talent.

And the former Dorchester Town skipper has designs on creating a “pathway” to the first team from the youth ranks.

Clarke told Echosport: “I’m happy with the squad I’ve got going into next season.

“We’ve got a good 16 that I’m happy with. There will be opportunities for them if they do well.

I’m really trying to create that pathway from the under-18s to the reserves to the first team.

“It’s so important, that’s the direction we’re going in.

"We want to produce the best young lads in this area, we want Portland to be the place to be for first-team football, because I will play them."

Portland have elected not to join any end-of-season mini competition organised by Wessex League officials and are training in April and May before pre-season in July.

More News...

Chairman hails 'amazing' vision for club

Friday 23 Apr 2021

PORTLAND United chairman Matt Lucas has revealed the Blues have a vision to become a community hub on the island. Lucas was last month appointed as successor to Portland legend and retiring chief Robin Satherley. Former Dorchester Town supremo Lucas, who led the Magpies’ for five years until 2019, is looking to build on the work undertaken by the Blues’ committee. Lucas admitted he has been “amazed” by plans drawn up by Portland’s volunteers. He told Echosport: “First of all, the welcome I’ve received has been immense. “I’m so excited and buoyed by the vision that the committee already had at Portland. “In many ways, I’m just looking to add some weight behind that vision and help implement the plans going forward. “I’m absolutely amazed by the workload that many volunteers do at the club. “One of the things I’m personally looking to do is build relationships and build on relationships within the local community to become a real hub and to promote the club to the Portland community. “The reasons why I’ve joined up is because I mirror that vision and stand for the type of vision they have going forward. I want to be part of it.” He added: “Everyone is very loyal at Portland and everyone is very encouraging. “I’ve not heard one adverse comment about what Portland United stand for. I was aware of that reputation when I was at Dorchester and it’s a real breath of fresh air. “I just enjoy being around that environment where everyone works hard for the club. “Everyone enjoys coming to watch their football on Portland and there’s a real togetherness. “That is such a great start to continue to build on when you’ve got everybody pulling together as one.”

Lucas as chairman is 'brilliant' for club

Sunday 18 Apr 2021

PORTLAND United boss Franklyn Clarke believes the addition of Matt Lucas as chairman is “brilliant” for the Blues. Lucas, who served as Dorchester Town head from 2014 to 2019, succeeded retiring chief Robin Satherley in March. Clarke and Lucas have previously worked together at the Magpies and the former Wimborne midfielder heaped praise on the Blues’ supremo. He told Echosport: “I’m really happy for the club and for Matt, I’ve worked with him at Dorchester on a couple of occasions. “He’ll be brilliant for the football club, he’s got a lot of experience. “He’s just a gentleman, he’s very approachable, he’ll speak to everyone on a matchday and makes everyone feel welcome. “That’s what he was always known for. He’ll make time and effort for people, which is really important to create that nice feel at the club.” Lucas will help oversee the Blues’ 100th anniversary celebrations, which are due to begin later this year.

Clarke plans `clear pathway` for Blues

Friday 16 Apr 2021

PORTLAND United manager Franklyn Clarke has revealed the Blues are unlikely to add to their squad over the summer. Clarke and assistant Sam Poole, who won the Wessex League with Blackfield & Langley in 2017/18, are focusing on developing the islanders’ young talent. And the former Dorchester Town skipper has designs on creating a “pathway” to the first team from the youth ranks. Clarke told Echosport: “I’m happy with the squad I’ve got going into next season. “We’ve got a good 16 that I’m happy with. There will be opportunities for them if they do well. I’m really trying to create that pathway from the under-18s to the reserves to the first team. “It’s so important, that’s the direction we’re going in. "We want to produce the best young lads in this area, we want Portland to be the place to be for first-team football, because I will play them." Portland have elected not to join any end-of-season mini competition organised by Wessex League officials and are training in April and May before pre-season in July.

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.

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