Shildon chairman David Dent has laid out his ambitious plans to ensure that his club follows the path set by the likes of Morpeth Town and South Shields.
It has been a challenging couple of years for the Railwaymen as Dent has wrestled with a number of off-field issues in order to put the club in a position to move forwards and challenge for one of the three promotion places that are on offer in Northern League Division One.
His confidence seems well placed as a number of the club’s promising youngsters have been tied down on contracts and new signings like Daniel Craggs, Chay Liddle and Kurt Matthews have impressed in pre-season.
Progress and success are within their grasp and Dent is in a confident mood with the new season just days away.
He said: “It has taken a couple of years to get the club to where we wanted it to be.
“We are working hard behind the scenes and we have a fantastic headline sponsor in Livin, who not only support us financially, but they also help us engage with the local community.
“We feel we are ready for that next step.
“We want to be one of those three clubs that gets promoted this season and there will never be a better opportunity.
“We started our player recruitment after Christmas last season, and we have a young, hungry squad.
“The manager (Daniel Moore) has given himself a chance to focus on the managerial side of his work now that he has ended his playing career and that will help him massively.
“Things are coming together on and off the field and we feel we are in a better position to move this club forward now.”
Shildon go into the season on the back of delivering the club’s first trophy since their Northern League and League Cup double in 2016.
A 1-0 win against South Shields in the Durham Challenge Cup Final saw Daniel Moore’s side battle their way past a youthful Mariners side and give the club with an opportunity that Dent insists cannot be wasted.
“The Durham Challenge Cup Final win was a big moment for us as a club,” explained the Railwaymen chairman.
“To win it is a tremendous accolade for the club and we used it when we have had discussions with sponsors since the end of last season.
“But now we can’t waste the opportunity that lies ahead and winning the Challenge Cup needs to be used as a catalyst for kicking on.
“It is an opportunity that I believe we can grasp.”
Dent believes that the club can seize upon the new links they are forging with the local community to help them grow in a responsible way.
New initiatives have been created with the support of Hays Travel, Salvo’s Restaurant and main sponsor Livin.
Community involvement is at the heart of the club moving forwards – an ethos that was critical for Shildon-born Dent.
“The club, and the connection with the local community, is the reason why I came back here to support the club
“We are working hard to forge links and present opportunities for people in the town.
“This club can be the catalyst for success on the pitch and in the local community.
“It is a big responsibility for everyone at the football club, and it is not one that we take lightly.
“We want the town to be proud of us for what we do in the community, as well as success on the pitch.”