New Spalding United chief executive Malcolm Gray has told The Voice that Saturday’s UCL Premier Division title presentation will be the perfect pay-off for two years of hard work.
The Tulips, who welcome second-placed Huntingdon Town to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field (3pm), will get their hands on the league trophy after the match.
It’s the first time Spalding have won the coveted crown in a decade, but their success is certainly no fluke.
Gray, who now has overall control of the day-to-day running of the Tulips, was one of a clutch of people to cook up a masterplan to get the club back into step four of the non-league ladder.
Having won the UCL Knockout Cup last term, Spalding’s two-year plan came to fruition this season in a big way as they waltzed to the league crown with 31 wins from 34 games to date.
The club are now ready to enter phase two of their operation, with forging better links in the community Gray’s main aim.
He said: “It’s been ten years since the club last had a day like this – and we want everyone to get involved.
“We hope that as many of the Spalding youth players and management come down to enjoy the day with us, as well as all of the fans who follow us.
“I’d really like the town of Spalding to get behind us. Although we had a disappointing result last weekend (see page 37), our record this season speaks for itself. The players and staff deserve it.
“As far as we’re concerned, our plans have come to fruition and our first aim has now been achieved.”
A familiar face at the Sir Halley over the past few years, Gray is now the main man at Spalding United. Although Eddie Reeve and Chris Toynton remain as joint chairmen, he is now the leader in the boardroom.
Having grown up in the town, Gray supported and represented the club in his younger years. Now it’s his burning desire to provide the club with a clear structure as they bid to continue their climb up the football pyramid.
And, although the Tulips have yet to discover which league they will play in next season – the Evo-Stik League Division One South would be their preference – they are already targeting further success on the field.
“We don’t just want to go up to step four and do OK, we want to be challenging at the top,” added Gray. “It’s important that we retain the backroom staff and add to an already impressive squad over the summer.
“There is now a lot of enthusiasm around Spalding United that wasn’t necessarily there a few years ago.
“Pat Rayment, the staff and the players must take a lot of credit for that.
“We now have a clear vision for the future – and it’s my job to breathe more energy into the club.
“As well as pushing on, we want to keep building links to the community. My aim is to speak to a lot of local businesses and clubs – hopefully we can work together.”
Saturday’s celebrations won’t end after Spalding get their hands on the UCL crown. The Tulips Social Club will hold a hog roast and race night from 7.30pm, with tickets costing just £5.