Ripley Town boss in defiant mood despite club being in pitch ‘limbo’

Ripley Town FC's temporary new home pitch adj Nottingham Road.
Ripley Town FC's temporary new home pitch adj Nottingham Road.

Paul Lavender says that Ripley Town will continue to battle on next season, despite the club being in “limbo” due to a pitch issue.

Lavender, who has been manager since 2011, says the lack of facilities in and around the town have hindered the club’s ability to push forward.

Ripley Town manager Paul Lavender.

Ripley Town manager Paul Lavender.

The club’s home pitch on Nottingham Road is currently out of use as it is being treated ahead of improvements to the surface.

This has meant the club has relocated to a stretch of land adjacent, although this land is not owned by the council and instead by property developers Clowes Westerman.

However, Lavender says that there is nothing to stop them being turfed out by the company which represents a big danger to the club.

He said: “Our current pitch is getting done up by the council and resurfaced, but until then we’re in limbo because we’re playing temporarily on the land owned by Westerman.

“Obviously, there’s nothing to stop them (Westerman) refusing us that so it’s a waiting game really.

“I’m hopeful that the pitch that’s getting done up will be done to a good standard.

“The facilties we’ve currently got aren’t great and the changing rooms for example are 35 years old with leaking roofs, so I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

In terms of the general facilities in Ripley, Lavender says that the club often loses out on local players who prefer to go elsewhere due to better set-ups.

He said: “The facilities for sport and football in general in Ripley are inadequate.

“I think it’s time they were upgraded because you go to neighbouring towns and you can see that they are far superior.

“Places like Swanwick or Holbrook, that are smaller than Ripley, have superior facilities and they are attracting lads from here.

“Ripley is losing the talented players that come through, even at young ages.

“That’s simply because there’s nowhere to play football and there’s not enough pitches available.

“There needs to be a local team that youngsters aspire to play for.”

In terms of the club itself, 50-year-old Lavender is on the look-out for a number two for the 2015/16 season.

He is also keen on attracting new volunteers, whether it be players, coaches or help on a matchday.

He added: “I’ve been here four years and running the team on your own can get too much.

“If I could have someone helping out as assistant that would be great.

“I’m also interested in hearing from people with coaching experience to see if they’d like to help us out on that side of things.

“We’re always on the look-out for players too so I’d invite anyone that fancies coming down to get in touch with me.

“We’re also looking for people that can come down and dedicate some time, so that could be helping out on a matchday or being part of the committee.

• To get in touch with Paul, you can contact him on 07538 213446.