THE 1874 COLUMN – A different perspective, by Matt Waters

WHEN in 2012 a substantial number of local football supporters decided to form their own entirely new football club, it was a significant step.

Unhappy with the way in which many football clubs were being run, the boom and bust cycle and the almost universal unaccountability of owners, this group of supporters decided it was time to do thing differently.

The football club that evolved from this decision became 1874 Northwich Community Football Club and from day one, the word “community” in its title was important.

As Community Development Officer, I am extremely proud of the friendships that we have made and the work that the club has done with a diverse range of charity partners over the past six years.

From the provision of cardiac defibrillators donated to local junior football clubs to being able to raise substantial donations to local charities Neuro Muscular Centre, St Luke’s Hospice and Joshua Tree, the club’s supporters and members have embraced our community links enthusiastically.

As a football club we are still only seven years old and whilst we have come so far in that time, we are still at the very start of our journey.

An overriding ethos of the club is that we will grow and develop in a prudent manner within our means. Not just in developing the first team, but also in the steady planned development of the club’s junior section, its Under 21 side and now its community-based Walking Football team.

The manner in which the club is 100% owned by its members, with each member having 1 share and equal voting rights ensures that the club will never be dependent on the whims of any individual for its progress. It also means that at times plans may take a little longer to put into practice, however those plans will always be sustainable.

Our move into the Northwich area following the club’s recent ground-sharing agreement with Barnton FC is an extremely exciting time. We are looking forward to developing this relationship to the benefit of both clubs and also to the opportunity that it brings the club in engaging with new friends in the Northwich area.

This has already led to developing links with new Northwich-based companies such as Lean Body Kitchen, Northwich Art Shop and also our new friends at Northwich Samaritans.

This weekend, the club plays its most high-profile game since moving into Northwich – an FA cup tie against higher-ranked Whitby Town.

Success in the game would be a great achievement and would also lead to a substantial financial reward for the club.

Whatever the result, however, it is certain that the long-term plan for steady, sustainable development will not change.

Financial success will not be ploughed back into the club in search of short-term gain. It will be gratefully welcomed and spent wisely for the long-term benefit of the club, its members, supporters and the local community as a whole.